There's Only One Way Bitcoin Cash Will Get Ahead, and It's Not By Explaining

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Avatar for dave_gutteridge
2 years ago

I remember the first time I used Google. At the time, Yahoo was probably the most standard search engine, and there were others like Ask Jeeves and Webcrawler. A friend and I were sitting in front of my computer, and I was going to look something up, and before I typed in the address for Yahoo, my friend casually asked, "oh, have you heard of Google? You should try it."

The only reason Google was more appealing than any other search engine was that the interface was clean. Just a field to type in what you wanted to search for, and two buttons, "Search" and "I'm Feeling Lucky." I have never in my life pressed the "I'm Feeling Lucky" button.

But, like many people around the world, from that day forward, Google became synonymous with searching, and still is. It happened that easily. A friend said try it, I did, and then it stuck.

It was mostly the same the first time I used Facebook. I had heard of Facebook a little before I actually bothered to use it, but one time at a party, when it felt like the millionth person asked me if we could connect through Facebook, I said, "fine," and then I was using Facebook.

YouTube, Twitter, podcasts, Reddit, Instagram, Netflix, Amazon... I've been onboarded to each of them as easily as having a friend suggest I use it, and then I do it. Over the years, as the services evolve, I may stop or move on or change my opinion of them. But, there's a huge, significant similarity between all of them.

The lack of explanation.

In the Bitcoin Cash community, and many other cryptos, maybe all of them, there are people making videos to explain what it is and how it works. There are countless blog posts and articles. There are how-tos and FAQs and beginner's guides, and all sorts of explanations of why and how that I can't help but notice I have never, ever used for any other wildly successful service that has exploded into the world.

I never watched a how-to video for YouTube. I never had anyone "on board" me to Reddit. No one had to explain to be the benefits of using Facebook. I don't think I've ever seen an ad for Amazon or Twitter.

If Bitcoin Cash is so great, then why doesn't it just blow up on it's own, through word of mouth, like almost all the internet phenomena have?

The answer is pretty obvious, really. Cryptos simply do not do what they promise. Bitcoin Cash doesn't. None of them do.

They're supposed to move value around quickly and easily, at least if you're going with the original description in Satoshi's white paper. But they don't. The volatility means even doing a simple remittance means you have to time things right or you could lose a significant percentage of value.

Let me break that down because it may not be obvious what I mean. If I send someone a hundred dollars through a bank, the recipient doesn't have to worry about exactly when it arrives in their account. It arrives there, and it's a hundred dollars, and maybe they don't notice until they look at their bank statement at the end of the month. But if I send them the equivalent of a hundred dollars in BCH, and they want to actually have a hundred US dollars, then they have to know when I sent it because if they wait even a few hours to convert it to fiat, the value could change a lot. Could it go up? Sure. But it might not, and no one wants uncertainty about their money.

Even if you believe the idea of a "store of value," crypto doesn't do that very well either. You can see your value drop by half in less than a day, at any random time, for no definitively knowable reason.

YouTube does exactly what it promises. You want to watch videos? YouTube shows videos. Want to buy things and have them delivered? Amazon does that. I'm not advocates of these services, nor am I blind to their problems, like the YouTube's ridiculous system for copyright claims, or Amazon's exploitative business practices. It's just that looking at them, and others, in terms of the value proposition from a consumer point of view, what they offer is obvious, and manifest. It's a huge part of why they succeed.

With Bitcoin Cash, what you get is ease of payment that is about as equal as just about any other mode of payment. You get price volatility which may lose you money. You get explanations of how this is all better because of privacy and security in terms that most people have never thought of until they unfortunately bumped into an overly talkative crypto enthusiast at a party.

The value proposition for most users just is not there. And so Bitcoin Cash enthusiasts do what ever crypto community does, which is resort to explanation after explanation of why everyone in the world should want to use Bitcoin Cash. Crypto enthusiasts hope to close the gap between people's expectations and reality by hand waving and talking and convincing.

But the world does not want to be explained to. They want obvious services that clearly do things that add value. They want to just start using things as easily as they first start using TikTok, or Tinder, or Twitter, and have the results be immediate and clear.

The only way Bitcoin Cash is going to get traction so that it's not constantly spinning its wheels with explanations is to actually live up to its own promise. For there to be a use case where it makes a promise, then obviously delivers. There are a few ways it can do this, but they aren't easy, otherwise they'd have been done already.

One is solve the volatility problem. To be useful as remittances, payment, and, well... as currency, it needs stability that is at least as predictable as major fiat currencies. Whether this is done through some kind of stable coin or hedge system, doesn't really matter. What matters is that a user should be able to send a dollar's worth of money to someone else, and it's still a dollar days and weeks later. Solve that, and Bitcoin Cash will not need an explanation to catch fire.

Another is to find a niche where volatility doesn't matter as much. Content creators, charities, and maybe other groups will put up with volatility because any amount of money they get is better than not getting that money. I personally think this is the easiest to solve, though it still relies on building services. But if services exist so that people can can get income they weren't getting before, then Bitcoin Cash will sell itself.

There may be others. My point is just that Bitcoin Cash is not slowly crawling forward, one random coffee shop somewhere in the world at a time, because people don't understand it. Bitcoin Cash's growth potential is inhibited by the fact that it fundamentally does not do anything for the world to get excited about.

I believe it can. I believe the issues I've mentioned are not only solvable, but that solutions are inevitable. Bitcoin Cash is an exciting technology with the power to change the world. But it's like someone invented an engine, but no one has figured out how to make the rest of the car so that people can actually use the engine to drive.

When the rest of the car is made, no explanations will be needed.

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Avatar for dave_gutteridge
2 years ago


I think we're biased because we live in the developed world where we already have cashapp so why would why I want to learn how to use crypto? I can already send people money instantly. But the "effort" to learn crypto shrinks when people's life savings are on the line, when their country's currency is hyperinflation, when they need a way to send 5$ back home to their parents in Argentina. You're right that crypto is too complex for us and for many people, but crypto is not too complex for those with problems crypto can solve today.

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2 years ago

I agree with your point here, but, just to clarify, I don't think crypto is in anyway complex for anyone. I only propose that explanations, no matter how simple or compelling, don't do much of anything to change anyone's mind.

People will turn to crypto when there's benefit or need. As you describe, people in struggling economies don't get interested in crypto because they see some dazzling promotional video explaining it. They get interested in crypto because they have to.

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2 years ago

Unfortunately, this may be exactly what BTC is doing with the custodial services that do things like "solve the lightning network." Effectively, their goal may well be to move people from regulated banks to not-yet-regulated not-banks, and it may explode like all the other systems you've mentioned because of all the things the average person doesn't want to think about. If that is how things go, then either BTC fails and "cryptocurrency doens't work" or BTC succeeds and everyone is ultimately using fractionally reserved regulated crypto IOUs (AKA the same system they thought they escaped, only with new definitions).

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2 years ago

I don't think the situation is binary, with the only choices being a decentralized currency hampered by volatility on one side, and a centralized fractional reserve currency on the other.

The reality is likely to be a mix of factors and competing systems, and BCH has the potential to find it's place among all the viable options.

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2 years ago

Perhaps my response was a bit hyperbolic. It wasn't my intent to say that "banks" and crypto cannot co-exist; rather I meant to imply that the game Blockstream is playing could significantly delay any optimal equilibrium between the two. In any case, I like the article you posted on this exact topic after replying to my comment, so hopefully my hyperbole helped inspire it.

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2 years ago

Well said! And, ya, even when I was Feeling Lucky I have never pushed Google's button of that name, lol.

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2 years ago