The crypto community can be its own worst enemy
Sometimes the crypto community can be technology’s worst ambassadors. It’s hard to bring people into this space, and some make it harder.
My career in crypto is more accidental than design. I chose my first job because it paid the best of the many I was offered. Fortunately, I had followed the place for several years. I first traded Bitcoin in 2014. But honestly, if a better paying job had come with the right conditions, I would have taken it. I had no emotional attachment to crypto then.
Things are different now. I have opinions about the industry, sometimes when I don’t want to. (Especially when I don’t want to.) In the years since, I’ve found myself among my non-crypto friends—which are all of them—explaining the definition of Web3, defending NFTs, and rolling my eyes and dismissively looking at my industry and choice of career.
I once remember comparing the crypto ecosystem to a Premier League fan in a pub. “It’s just like crypto,” I said. His expression was questioning as he held the pint, clearly not convinced. I told him that crypto fans often treat their coins like their favorite football team. “No, Josh,” he said. “You don’t get it.” He knew more about football. I knew more about crypto. We talked past each other.
“No,” I said. “You don’t get it.” I pulled out my phone and scrolled through the abyss that is crypto-Twitter. “Look,” I said, my eyes darting back and forth. We shared a look of understanding. He got it. I used an euphemism for describing the feed in front of me.” He nodded.
Treat tokens like sports teams
Introducing someone to crypto is not as easy as we say it is. We always talk about “onboarding” and the next billion users. We also talk about how we get there, at least in abstract terms. But rarely do we confront the world we are asking them to enter. The social ecosystem we are a part of.
There is a lot of hate towards crypto right now. Of course, that’s a generalization, but the general rule applies. After FTX, it feels harder than ever to bring people into the room. But I’m not sure it was much easier before. Fewer people than we would like to admit got into this industry because of its rapid growth, in search of a quick return on the markets or a job.
In 2021 and early 2022 we had the first bull run on the mass market. People built, prices rose, and the outside world followed suit. Every journalist, from the lowest tabloid to the most prestigious newspaper, wanted to talk about crypto and Web3. Depending on who you asked and what you read, crypto was full of criminals, drug addicts, geeks and billionaires. (Or all of the above.) Many people were fascinated by the journey and the history. Fewer were taken by the technology, which is a deep shame.
Cryptoculture can feel like a collective delusion
As the market crashed, and the tide receded, many of crypto’s quirks looked even stranger. “X Token is going to the moon!” But is it? Is it real? Embracing yourself fully in crypto culture sometimes feels like consenting to a mass delusion. I’ve done PR for various projects and watched as anonymous figures yelled “HOLD TIL I DIE” into the digital fog. Whether or not it was a fine is beside the point. Once you cut below the first layer, there is a level of unhinged post that takes some getting used to.
I recently had a conversation with a crypto broker who had been in the business for over a decade. He was the last of many people to say (conservatively) that 95-98% of all NFT projects eventually broke even. Most of them are probably scams, he said. For anyone familiar with the industry, this is not surprising or controversial. Most traders are complicit in this to some extent. Who cares if you sell an NFT at a profit before it goes down the drain? You no longer own it. Another idiot does.
There is nothing wrong with following market cycles or chasing profits. It comes with a certain level of nihilism that many will find terrifying.
A recent survey found that 60% of NFT consumers had never heard of NFTs. So not only is this a market built on shaky moral ground, but many people don’t even understand what they are buying. Come in guys!
Crypto doesn’t have a UX problem, actually
Understandably, one of the first things anyone will see when entering “crypto”, Twitter, is how much of this unhinged posting takes place. In one corner sits a compelling, insightful thread about how we’ll all be using NFTs for tickets one day. In the other is a man shouting “BUY DIPPA”, arms flailing in all directions. Then there is the person who suggests that crypto UX and jargon are not too complicated, actual. If you don’t get it, well, I guess you’re an idiot.
Of course, we can’t forget crypto’s version of the man holding the cardboard sign that says THE END IS NIGH. There’s always a financial apocalypse just around the corner and everyone is always buying Bitcoin, so it’s best to get in now.
Sometimes I’ll find myself gravitating to politics on Twitter to watch others call each other Nazis. Just for some peace. The word “community” gets thrown around a lot in crypto. But as a “community” things can be pretty crazy here. Can we really blame someone who takes a curious look in the door and runs at the first opportunity?
The crypto community is not unique in its online ugliness, there is plenty of competition. It is also far from the strangest online click or the most misleading. There are also many great ambassadors for this underlying technology and legions of impressive people building it. But I’m worried that better UX, security and use cases won’t be enough. The call comes from the house.
The information provided in independent research represents the views of the author and does not constitute investment, trading or financial advice. BeInCrypto does not recommend buying, selling, trading, holding or investing in any cryptocurrencies