When people learn that I work “doing something with Bitcoin”, their first reply is usually one of the following:
- Didn’t the Bitcoin rate drop recently? Is it ever going to go over $1000 again?
- Didn’t a lot of people lose money when a Bitcoin exchange went bust earlier this year?
- Isn’t Bitcoin just used to launder money and buy drugs?
- Isn’t Bitcoin just a Ponzi scheme?
- Isn’t the Bitcoin community full of dodgy characters who want to get rich quick?
- Isn’t that hype already over?
Et cetera. I then try to explain that Bitcoin is much more than a fad, that the technology behind it is groundbreaking: a public ledger without a centralized party like a bank required to manage it, verified through cryptographic algorithms, usable for much more than digital money. That yes, there are dodgy characters around and many people have lost money because of various reasons like hackers, thieves, carelessness or unfamiliarity with the technology but no, that this is not at the core of what Bitcoin is, nor is it the way things are going to stay in the long term. I explain that we’re only just seeing the beginning of great changes in the financial system and our society in general because of Bitcoin and derived or related technologies under development.