A startup whiz told me something yesterday that I can't get out of my head. He thinks Bitcoin won't go mainstream because most people aren't tech savvy. They can use their phones, sure, but to trust Bitcoin you have to know a little about how it works. That's hard for most people. Without that trust, of course, you don't get widespread use, which--last time I checked--is a must for a viable currency. 

He may be right. But I'd add that for Bitcoin to go big, people also need to learn how monetary systems work. That is similarly difficult, not to mention the fact that it sounds so damn boring. What do you think, Honey: Should I dig in to a great detective novel tonight or read about monetary systems?

Unquestioning acceptance of the USD (or national currencies generally) as the only game in town has meant that people engage in the monetary regime without necessarily having to understand how it works. They aren't going to hop over to some other regime without a high level of confidence in that new system. This is hard earned money we're talking about, after all. Then again, there is the case of the euro. Still wrapped up in government(s) in all the ways Bitcoin isn't, yet perhaps there are useful parallels as far as how to convince everyday people that this newfangled thing has value.

Anyway, it was an unexpected perspective coming from a tech guy, and it has been nagging at me ever since. What do you think?

AuthorDavid Wolman