Who’s afraid of the big bad Bitcoin?

Last night my wife asked me why some people are so vitriolic towards Bitcoin. She had a good point, that some negative reactions were just a slight notch up on the spite scale. Something about Bitcoin can tweak people almost viscerally.

After considering this, I decided to put these individuals into three non-exclusive categories: Those who do not understand Bitcoin, those who are envious of those who own Bitcoin, and statists.

1) Those who do not understand Bitcoin

There is always some fundamental misunderstanding that persistently hangs these folks up: The anonymous creator could print more coins, the price volatility will last forever, Bitcoins will never succeed because people will hoard them (and make them more valuable?), nobody will spend them, a rising price relies on a steady flow of new suckers, there are no advantages over just using fiat currencies, there are no advantages over gold, etc.

For these people, only time will tell if they ever come around. Some will tomorrow, some next year, many will even forget their original feelings once they reach a full understanding of the Bitcoin mechanism – others will refuse to ever use it (think Grandma vs cell phone).

2) Those who are envious of those who own Bitcoin

I once read that hairdressers sell haircuts, fishermen sell fish, and politicians peddle envy. It is their most prized product – the gift that keeps on giving! Look out for the jealous narrative that will become prevalent should Bitcoin continue to be successful.

People who denounced Bitcoin in the past when it was worth pennies, or those who just learned of it today and never had a chance to buy “cheap coins” (relatively speaking) will be the prime targets of enterprising public servants, who will shine a spot light on the vast “injustices” that the Bitcoin system has committed against the community, and rally the cause to kill it or – more likely, in my opinion – redistribute it in the name of fairness.

3) Statists

These fellow citizens are lost causes when it comes to Bitcoin adoption. The very nature of Bitcoin itself, one that cannot be controlled by a central authority, is sufficient for them to declare perpetual war against widespread adoption. They have a certain philosophy that is at odds with an inflexible currency, and will always prefer to choreograph change through the existing system.

***

Whoever you encounter when discussing Bitcoin, it always helps to think about their perspective. If I were to extend a recommendation for how to deal with an individual from each of the categories, it would be thusly:

1) The confused – Be patient and explanatory.

2) The envious – Give them a Bitcoin.

3) The hostile – Drop the topic in favor of a new one you can both agree on. Get them drunk.

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3 comments on “Who’s afraid of the big bad Bitcoin?

  1. jmendeth says:

    So true!
    Excellent article, keep on.

    PD: I’m 16. My father is in the “confused” category.

  2. patcon says:

    I’m probably closer to a statist than a libertarian, but I’m obsessed with the idea of Bitcoin and its perpetuation. I just feel that the state as it stands is broken, and I’m excited for how Bitcoin can contribute to rebuilding it so that it serves its roots rather than its topmost limbs 🙂

  3. terrymac says:

    I think there’s a fourth category: folks who want some real commodity, such as gold and silver, as money. Austrian-school Regression Theorem and all of that.

    Me, I’m sticking with “subjective value” – if people are willing to use it as a medium of exchange, it has value. Can’t ask for more than that. Ain’t nobody twisting arms to make it happen, unlike the FRNs.

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