One of the best parts about the workshop came afterwards. People approached me and thanked me profusely, in Italian and Spanish and French, telling me that they had tried to understand bitcoin but it had been too dense and confusing. That this was the first time someone explained it clearly enough for them to grasp. That they were starting to see how the blockchain could offer all these other potential uses. And they asked questions - three of which stood out:
Why should we use bitcoin instead of fiat currency, especially when it's so volatile and insecure?
I could have also emphasized that the people who can most benefit from using bitcoin as a currency, however, aren't attending conferences in first-world nations. I'm talking about the unbanked and underbanked, populations that transact in micro-payments, who use their cell phones to pay bills, or who send remittances to their families back home every month. These individuals are laboring under exorbitant transfer fees, lack of access to credit or loans, and limited technological infrastructure. Check out some of the efforts of 37coins and BitPesa for examples of how bitcoin is another tool helping narrow the wealth gap around the world.
Who is running it all?
Why isn't it easier to use?
The focus now is on the layers and services being built upon bitcoin and the blockchain. So the more people know about it and support its development, the more that momentum and engagement will propel it forward. This is exactly why I presented the workshop in the first place, and will continue to speak and educate the populace wherever I'm invited (check my Twitter for upcoming talks). I encourage you to come 'drink the lemonade' - it's delicious and exciting!
|Photo credit: Scott Kennedy|