Gen Z and Millennials will have the last word. They’re the generations that will nudge out incumbents and redefine how companies are run. Understanding the movement is realizing that these generations are not tied up in a location-specific lifestyle, and they don’t necessarily want to own houses. They want to enjoy the freedom of mobility with the help of their mobile devices.
Here are the top 5 reasons why they’ll do things differently. And why they’ll do it with cryptocurrencies.
1. Trust – They’ve grown up with the internet. It was just as fuzzy and hairy as Bitcoin when it first began. And they didn’t fret over not being able to hold it, cuddle it or smell it. It allowed them to do things older generations had never done before – make and instantly share music and videos and blogs and websites and podcasts. They could sell and trade items collecting dust in their basements with people miles away. They didn’t need to ask their parents or a bank to gain access to information and tools. They could communicate, group and organize, see and explore, and join multiplayer games with strangers in other countries. And their parents didn’t get it. Cryptocurrencies hold the same appeal. It’s shaping a new economy that’s not controlled by banks or grownups who grind away at a two-and-three-job-coffee-chugging lifestyle. Bitcoin and ether might offer something different, and they’re as real as everything else that’s gone digital.
2. The Gig Economy – Uber and Airbnb may not be perfect, but they’ve redefined industries, shifting purchasing power and instant transactions onto mobile devices. The transactions are digital and fuel a world where money feels silly, smelly and old school. It doesn’t match the cultural ethos of gamers, giggers and digital nomads who roam, hopping borders. It’s a chic lifestyle that is not location specific. Gen Z and Millennials can Be Unsettled. They can do it on their own or by joining groups like Unsettled that espouse a life of living anywhere, one month at a time. They don’t care if you call them Peter Pans or implore them to grow up and settle down (and buy a house and get married and get chained to a desk and grow old). They want adventure, and they want to connect with a wide group of people. Sprinkled all across Unsettled is the term “peer-to-peer”. It’s a concept that gets major mileage when you can make a peer out of anyone across the globe by making transactions on the blockchain. The peer-to-peer movement doesn’t work with old paper money. It’s fast-moving, exciting and new.
3. The Global Financial Crisis – Remember that last one that started in 2007? It snatched away underwater homes, decimated families and blew a hole in corporate trust. It revealed systemic thievery on a grand scale by lousy role models, and Gen Z and the Millennials have been bathing in salacious narratives from “The Wolf of Wall Street”, “Inside Job” and “The Big Short” ever since. They also watched “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” on #throwbackthursday. And they get it. Maybe they can’t recount all the intricacies of how fishy derivatives are constructed or how stinky debt gets bundled up in bling-y boxes with ribbons and bows for poor suckers and desperate countries, but they know there’s something slimy and inequitable about the whole game. Call it a Ponzi scheme or just the rich getting richer, but banks and credit-card pushers have left them with struggling parents and unaffordable student loans.
4. Student Loan Debt – Sure, they could have known better. They could have researched those loans more carefully and avoided the repercussions that threaten to cripple them. But the deed is done. Some of them are going to speculate on cryptocurrencies because their buddies made 1000% gains last year, and some of them are going to do whatever they can to never ever have any credit card debt ever again. They’ll live lighter (nomad-style) with fewer trinkets to weigh them down. They’re shredding those credit card offers from American Express, Visa, Mastercard and Discover. They don’t care that the big banks banned Coinbase users from purchasing cryptos with credit cards. They want nothing to do with credit or debt. And from everything they’ve heard, paper money is just a bunch of debt that gets tweaked and manipulated whenever the Feds get together to decide whether or not the interest rate should go up or down. They’re literally fed up, and they want to try a new monetary system. Read: cryptocurrencies.
5. The Folks – Their parents asked them how to set up their Spotify, how to run the cloud on their tablets, how to download the apps on their iPhones, how to stream music through Bluetooth to their cars, how to password protect their mobile devices with authenticators, how to set up remote cameras in their homes and see the footage on their phones, how to hook their bank accounts to their E*Trade and their PayPal, how to set up Alexa and the Nest, how to back up their data onto thumb drives, how to set up an e-commerce portal, and so much more. The folks watched them dance all over Instagram, Photoshop, FinalCut, Tinder and YouTube. The folks know it’s a new world and now they’re asking about cryptocurrencies. They know their kids are onto something big.