Ran NeuNer, the host of CNBC’s Crypto Trader, is honing on a big flaw and a big challenge for the cryptocurrency industry: conveyance. In a tweet to his 109,000 followers, NeuNer says that cryptocurrency is hard to explain.
One of the biggest flaws of crypto is that it is so difficult to explain quickly to a lay person. When people ask me to explain Bitcoin to them I know it’s going to take at least an hour before they really understand it.
— Ran NeuNer (@cryptomanran) September 8, 2019
With a world awash in snap chats, slogans, rhymes and 10-word tweets, educators and communicators are tasked with containing crypto to a simple elevator pitch that sticks like glue. In addition to explaining what it is, they need to explain how it works and why anyone should care.
According to Wikipedia, you can boil down the definition of Bitcoin, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, to a single sentence.
“It is a decentralized digital currency without a central bank or single administrator that can be sent from user to user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries.”
That’s not exactly an elevator pitch. Laced with techie-speak and complex jargon, Bitcoin and its thousands of crypto cousins suffer from a language gap and an acute case of long-windedness. The average lay person has no firm grasp of “decentralization”, “digital currency”, “central banks”, “peer-to-peer networks” or “intermediaries.”
In an effort to define the King Coin with clear language, Investopedia tosses in its pseudonymous creator.
“Bitcoin is a digital currency created in January 2009. It follows the ideas set out in a white paper by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, whose true identity has yet to be verified.”
Bitcoin conveyance rapidly descends into explanations akin to folklore. Add other cryptocurrencies into the mix, such as Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, XRP, Stellar, EOS, BSV, Cardano, Tether, Binance Coin, Monero, Tron, Unus Sed Leo, and the world’s second largest cryptocurrency, Ethereum, which can transfer different types of value in addition to monetary value, and the whole crypto landscape gets quickly populated with battling factions, abstract competitions, multiple deaths and a slew of rises and falls.
Cracking the conveyance code is more than a superficial dream – it’s one of the keys to mainstream adoption.
It may not mean that the lay person absolutely must understand the fundamental technology behind blockchain anymore than the average driver needs to understand the inner workings of their car’s transmission.
But it will require a shiny package of words since there are no sleekly engineered bottles, boxes or cases engineers can use to wrap it up and then shove it onto a supermarket shelf. People have to go out of their way to grasp it and then drive the extra mile to acquire it.
As for a more simplistic definition that strips away cryptocurrency’s revolutionary aspects and eliminates the reasons why it’s a radical break from the current banking system, Bitcoin and crypto are new money.