When I first got involved in cryptocurrencies over four years ago, no one I knew in “real life” cared what Bitcoin was. And I didn’t bring it up in regular conversation, because I knew doing so would just lead to bemused looks or perhaps even some derogatory comments involving tulip bulbs and beanie babies. After a year or so, I introduced the topic to a few people I thought might be interested—mostly those who either had a tech background or an interest in investments. After my book on Bitcoin was released in 2015, a few family members and friends asked me about cryptocurrency; mostly, it seemed, to make polite conversation—like when a relative has an eccentric hobby and you feel obligated to ask about it when you see him. This year, however, I’ve noticed a shift: now people I know approach me to ask about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. They want to know more about it, and usually want to know if it’s “too late” to get involved.
With the approaching holidays, many of us crypto-nerds will have opportunities to talk about our odd fascination with “Internet magic money.” Here are some tips to help you out.
Explain the Reason—Not the Tech
There is a saying in the marketing world: “You don’t sell the toothpaste, you sell white teeth.” Ultimately, what we all want to know about a new idea or invention is: how does it help improve my life? Sure, you might be fascinated with the technical details of Segwit or how smart contracts work under the hood in Ethereum, but most people don’t care. They just want to know what use it has in real life. You don’t explain email by detailing SMTP; don’t explain cryptocurrency by boring someone with an inner look at Bitcoin code.
Instead, make it simple. For example, you can say that a cryptocurrency like Dash allows a person to send money to someone as easily (and almost as cheaply) as sending an email, without the involvement of a third party like a bank. Really, that’s sufficient enough knowledge for most people to get interested, and most don’t need to know the details of how that works.
Don’t Talk about Internal Crypto-Conflicts
If you’ve been involved in cryptocurrency for any length of time, you’ve probably taken a side in the many debates raging within this world. Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash? Ethereum or Ethereum Classic? Dash or Monero? Allow me to let you in on a little secret:
No one cares.
That’s right, the conflict you’ve invested countless hours of your life online fighting almost no one cares about. So if you start badgering your cousin on why Bitcoin Cash is the “real Bitcoin,” expect a glazed look at best, and more likely a polite excuse to leave the room. To most of the world, these internal cryptocurrency conflicts look like a bunch of nerds debating which Star Trek is best (DS9 of course). So avoid dragging your family members and friends into these debates. Stick to the high-level benefits of cryptocurrency. Sure, when the times comes to set them up with a wallet, direct them to your favorite one and send them your coin of choice. But don’t bother attacking other coins while you do it.
Make a Connection
Everyone has a worldview by which they interpret events around them. They might be conservative or liberal. They might be religious or an atheist. But everyone has a lens through which they view new information. So introduce cryptocurrency in a way that is attractive to them. After all, cryptocurrency is meant to be fungible, which means it can be used by anyone and has equal value for everyone, no matter their views or ideologies.
For example, recently I was explaining the value of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies to a couple of conservative friends who don’t like the size and scope of the American federal government. So I started by explaining that cryptocurrency has the potential to take power away from the government and put it into the hands of individuals. As soon as I said this, I had their interest piqued and they wanted to know more.
So find what interests the person and explain accordingly.
Set Them Up
I’ve found that people can look into cryptocurrencies for a long time, but until they see it in action, they don’t really embrace them. Once I’ve set up a wallet on someone’s phone and sent them some Bitcoin or Dash or Ethereum, her eyes light up and she wants to learn more. So don’t be a Scrooge: be willing to send cryptocurrency to your family members and friends. The best “Aha!” moment usually comes when you hit send on your wallet and the amount shows up almost instantly on theirs (unconfirmed, but still, it’s there). That’s when someone usually sees the potential for this weird tech money.
And don’t stop there—show your friends and family members where they can spend this Internet magic money. For Dash, go to Discover Dash. When they see that there are real-world applications for this technology, they usually become more interested and invested in it.
Don’t Be Pushy
Finally, relax. I know you want cryptocurrency to take over the world tomorrow, but the reality is that slow and steady wins the race. Don’t fret if your friend or family member scoffs at cryptocurrencies or ignores you. More than likely, they’ll come back to you in a few months (or years, if they’re stubborn) asking you to set them up with a wallet. I’ve seen it happen many times in the past few years, and with the inevitable rise of cryptocurrency, you’ll see it happen too.