When Bitcoin was launched in 2008, it’s ethos was to provide people the ability to take ownership over their assets. By trading central banks for blockchain technology and decentralized peer networks, cryptocurrency promised a more inclusive financial future.
Allowing people a new way to exchange value without the use of a third party like a bank controlled by the government wasn’t purely an anti-establishment mindset. Bitcoin’s creators had the foresight to see what we’ve all witnessed in the last decade as governments around the world face instability, and financial systems continue to exclude nearly 1.7 billion adults who remain unbanked. Alternatively, cryptocurrencies provided a decentralized network that anyone could participate in that was global, open-source, and free of the high transaction costs of banks.
This was the vision, and the last 10+ years saw the world navigate the confusion, hype, and excitement that often comes with new disruptive technologies. To add to the challenge, only 33% of adults worldwide have an understanding of basic financial concepts. This means over 3 billion adults globally, largely in developing countries, are left out of this conversation. How will these technologies truly serve diverse global communities, if we don’t help individuals learn and co-create this future?
For cryptocurrencies to deliver on their promises of a more inclusive financial future, we must understand the people-systems just as much as the technical products involved. This starts with building communities for innovators and leaders to witness the power of crypto for themselves.
People will shape the future of crypto, not technology
Crypto Curry Club is a UK-based group that was born out of this frustration. Founded by Erica Stanford in 2018, the group has hosted over 100 events bringing together crypto enthusiasts, technical experts, and corporate leaders to learn over spreads of delicious curry. The community has grown to 3,500+ members and intentionally remained industry agnostic attracting founders of leading crypto startups and senior leaders of many of the largest firms around the world.
Cryptocurrencies and digital assets are still in their infancy, and mainstream media is ripe with confusing narratives and headlines that only further confuse consumers. In our first clip, Erica helps us understand some common misconceptions in the marketplace:
As Erica explains, cryptocurrencies are not all as unpredictable as Bitcoin. Stablecoins offer some of the best attributes of cryptocurrency (seamless global transactions, security, and privacy) with the stability of fiat currencies. As more companies and merchants begin to see the value of using cryptocurrencies, we are seeing merchant solutions that allow you to make purchases for everyday items.
Once we move past these misconceptions, cryptocurrencies can open up a new world of incentives and micropayments that can empower behaviour change.
New ways to reward users
Beyond investing, cryptocurrencies are powering a borderless economy that allows users to exchange value in new ways. For instance, consumers are already being paid in tokens when they are exposed to advertising through platforms like the Brave browser. These payments are made in the form of Brave's basic attention token (BAT), which uses cryptocurrency technology to send payments among publishers, advertisers, Brave users and Brave itself. As we see companies like Facebook come under fire for how they use user data to fuel advertising revenues, cryptocurrencies allows some of that revenue to go back to users and also offer more transparency to see the exchange taking place.
Erica shares more about how this technology is being used to empower users around the world to protect their data, live healthier lives, and even help clean oceans in Haiti.
According to a report last year from the World Economic Forum, blockchain and cryptocurrency have tremendous potential to boost the global economy and help disenfranchised populations. As we see the gap between haves and have-nots grow around the world, digital currencies are providing access to equal opportunity for people to exchange, save, and earn value -- regardless of where you were born or where you live.
Education remains the ultimate equalizer
As we learned in our last blog, systems adoption of technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrencies are dependent on a network of leaders that validate, co-create, and scale pilots in the next 5-10 years. Erica shares some of her learnings from building Crypto Curry Club and why community is essential for these innovations to realize their full potential.
Their next virtual networking event is February 18th, and even though you’ll have you supply your own curry (for now!), your curiosity will be well fed by this group!
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