The importance of the Crypto aha moment

I live in the USA and I started 2014 with Cryptos but more as a bystander and observer. It was 2016 when I started working full-time in this industry. As many of us, I suffer every time something negative is mentioned: a maximalist throws up with some stupid arguments, the press pretends to find the 1228th negative point to Bitcoin, a professor or politician saying: “it will never happen”, a friend smiling and telling you “you are wasting your time”. And we then all gather together around our influencers that will tell us: “it is all going to be great”.

Most of my time I have to deal with serious business people or high-ranking politicians and one of the big problems I see: people don’t understand cryptos. Even if you explain to them how things work and what it is all about, they don’t get it. In my environment there is nobody that is willing to invest time to understand cryptos better, but everybody is of the opinion that “this is the future”. I can try to explain to them from any angle (investment: bull market is coming, or it is about the technology) and they all smile back at me and continue in their own world. I can explain it many times, I can guide them through the process. Nothing. A week later they are back to square one. So, what is the problem?

Education?

Maybe, but I have learned that after being involved full-time for now 2 years (as a developer but also business person) I can honestly say that I don’t know much. I would go even so far and say that there are less than 50 people in the world that really understand everything. Everybody else has got an educated opinion. So we cannot expect too much from newbies.

Adoption?

Maybe, although there are some cool apps out there that have pretty good adoption. “Adoption” also does not solve my problem as the people I want to get involved are leaders that usually shape the future and don’t follow.

Volatility?

Yes, but only the perception. If you look at the NASDAQ 100 market, then yes, cryptos are crazy but if you take a look at the so-called pink sheet market, the crypto market is not that crazy. At least with cryptos you have a global audience and it is fairly easy to do your research (which is almost impossible when researching the pink sheet market for example).

Progress?

Maybe. Even for an insider it is confusing to understand things like Sharding, MimbleWimble, Dandelion, Lightning Loops, PayNyms, … This industry is still in its infancy. Bitcoin Core is still in Version 0. New things are constantly being developed and keeping up is therefore not easy. This can push away some people. On the other hand, if you say, “this is the future”, then this should be the right time to get involved.

Global and mostly unregulated?

In the US only accredited investors can freely participate. Many exchanges / ICOs / STOs don’t accept people from the US. That anybody outside of the USA regardless of age, country, status, wealth can buy cryptos is for Americans confusing, for others it is normal. That lack of clear regulation in the USA is also confusing to many as they are afraid of making mistakes and they therefore prefer to not do anything. Some examples: 2018 somebody was jailed for one year because he was selling bitcoins on LocalBitcoin. According to the regulators he “offered bitcoin-for-cash exchange services without registering as a money services business with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), and without implementing anti money-laundering mechanisms such as customer due diligence and reporting certain transactions required for these types of businesses”. Or suddenly tax accountants are starting to recommend to file form 8938 to avoid a fine of $10,000 because even when trading on Coinbase you are trading with a foreigner. There are many more examples where the regulators in the USA are causing confusion.

The missing Aha-moment?

If this is the future, why is it so difficult to engage people? I now believe it has to do with an aha moment. I had a few moments of joy, but only one aha-moment. For example, the first metamask transaction, the first time I lost a token, understanding the importance of the private key, the first transfer to an exchange, the first fight with an exchange, the running of an Ethereum node, … My first aha moment was, when I took a Maker loan. It was simple and within minutes I received the DAI tokens. That was impressive as getting a loan through a bank is a painful experience (recently I applied for one: they needed access to my credit score, tax returns, plans, I had to fill out several forms, …). With Maker: no questions asked and within minutes. That impressed me. I am of course not advocating Maker Dao loans as the recent change of the APR from 1,5% to 7,5% is too risky for me, but the simplicity and the fair and transparent process impressed me. Yes, I believe those aha moments will make the difference.