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Elitism, Bitcoin, and risk perception

The problem of ignorance combined with elitism

Elitism is a social attitude which when combined with ignorance produces disastrous consequences. In one of my other essays titled Bitcoin end welfare was about how Bitcoins could actually help to bring about an end or at least a relief on the welfare system by providing basic income without necessarily relying on tax dollars. In this particular essay I will discuss elitism and some of the problems associated with it for the Bitcoin community.

Typically an elite person who is also ignorant due to for instance being morally naive, may not actually understand the big picture. They may look at Bitcoiners and think of it as a drug currency. They may see the underground aspect of the currency as a bad thing, because drug dealers, prostitutes, the lowest of the low of society can survive and even thrive in the Bitcoin economy. This gives the impression that dealing in Bitcoins is risky, dangerous, potentially immoral. The truth is that dealing in Bitcoins can be very moral and that traditional morality is what has to change when it's based on any kind of elitism.

Often you hear the argument from people who have a lot of fiat, or social connections, that Bitcoin is a Ponzi scheme. These same people will not admit that fiat currencies operate much the same way as Bitcoin and by the same logic they are using would have to be a Ponzi scheme as well. To a non-elite person who is smart, there is very little to lose and everything to gain by trying Bitcoins. I classify the non elite person as a person who has neither the fiat wealth or social connections to have the option to avoid a life of taking risks. In the life of taking risks Bitcoin is an educated risk, one of the most calculated and smart risks a non-elite person can take. For instance a non-elite person who is currently a prostitute has the choice to risk jail as a prostitute on the street earning dollars or become a cam girl and earn Bitcoins in a completely anonymous fashion to pay for a college education. This level of risk is the kind of risk a non-elite person would never have to take, and could take the view that it's immoral merely because it's a risk they would never have to take. To the non-elite person the options are not the same and the consideration of which risks to take and not to take morph based around those options so that prostitution is weighed against the option of going on welfare.

Once again if an individual is able to get in on an IPO due to social connections that individual would be in a position to think Bitcoins are a risk before for their options it is. If an individual has the social connections to land a high paying job, then they have a sense of security. The younger individual who finds work but it does not pay well, who has no retirement savings, who cannot expect to have social security when they get old, this person may have a different concept of risk. What must be done in the near term is that the gap must be bridged between different classes and social cultures so that everyone can figure out what Bitcoins are. In my essay discussing how Bitcoin is technological alchemy I introduce the idea that Bitcoin could be presented as a spiritual currency. It does not have to be introduced as a black market or white market currency, but as a mathematical pseudo-spiritual global currency. In marketing Bitcoin there are different demographics, the young and the old, the elite and non-elite, the legit and illegitimate labor,

Ideas on how to market Bitcoin to different demographic subsets

Bitcoin has to be marketed as a coin for everyone. Right now it's marketed towards the non-elite libertarian computer nerd. As a result many individuals who aren't libertarian, who aren't computer nerds, and who are elite, are not going to grasp the gravity of Bitcoin. This will have to change over a period of time, but my opinion is that the success and mainstream adoption of Bitcoin depends on the marketing. The reason adoption of Bitcoin is slower than it could be is because so many people are afraid of it that it is viewed as risky.

The other reason is people listen to experts. Experts say volatility is bad and so it's a risk. If you look at any long term chart you see that Bitcoin value consistently goes up every year and that the trend is up. If you look at the media the media has a very short attention span. Those who want to market Bitcoin should use the yearly charts and not the weekly or monthly charts to counter the volatility argument. The argument that Bitcoin volatility can be bad for retailers is true in the technical sense but this problem can also be solved technically.

When speaking of elite we also have to look within the Bitcoin community itself. There are those within the community who mined early on, or who own a lot of Bitcoins, who will say all of the new people coming into Bitcoins are doing it for greed, or a quick buck. This kind of elite for instance adopts the attitude that it's okay for Satoshi to get rich, for me to get rich, but anyone else who comes after me must be given extra scrutiny. The truth is that many people who deserve to get rich will, many people who don't deserve to get rich will, many people who deserve to get rich wont and many people who don't deserve to get rich won. There are some problems for instance with releasing ASICs and then only selling them for Bitcoins. While this is good because it makes people buy Bitcoins, it's also something which favors the sort of people who have thousands of Bitcoins from early on. The person with a lot of fiat but no Bitcoins may start thinking “this is a Ponzi scheme!” and they might tell all their friends, and that meme will spread. For this reason when something is released for sale in Bitcoin only fashion perhaps on the same site should be a way to buy it without having Bitcoins by some process where you can not have Bitcoins at the time but make an IOU. Ripple may ultimately solve this problem but honestly this problem will have to be solved where if someone does not have Bitcoins they can get them specifically for one purchase via borrowing them from another person or a lending mechanism.


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