It’s that time of year again! When you can’t decide whether to get a pumpkin spice or eggnog-flavored latte, and your local mall reeks of cinnamon, pine needles and dirty fiat money. The HODLdays are a time for friends, family and gift-giving, but as good Bitcoiners, we already know that the best gift of all is Bitcoin. But how do you convince your friends and family to go down the Bitcoin rabbit — uh, reindeer hole?
The Bitcoin space has matured so much in the last few years, and as a result, giving Bitcoin is easier than ever. It used to be difficult to give Bitcoin to folks without worrying that they’d lose their private keys or worse … sell the BTC for a centralized shitcoin! I could name drop some of those shitcoins now, but in the spirit of the holidays… actually screw it. XRP. That’s what I meant to write. I said it. Take that, Brad Garlinghouse!
Anyhow, it used to be difficult to give Bitcoin because of the steep learning curve. It will definitely still take time for your recipients to learn about key management or the value of self-sovereignty, but educational resources have improved drastically and there are even novel options like GiveBitcoin that time lock the BTC and provide education. If you want a more hands-on approach, you can always use a paper wallet or help your recipient set up her or his first hardware wallet.
But there’s still the problem of convincing your friends and family that Bitcoin matters. I think we’ve reached a turning point though. As “The Bitcoin guy,” at all the holiday parties (or any event for that matter), I’ve noticed that where people didn’t want to know about Bitcoin before, lately they’ve been asking me about it completely unprompted, almost to the point of me being sick of it. Sometimes I just want to crush some eggnogs in peace, ya know?
But Bitcoin DOES matter, and if someone is genuinely curious and wants to learn, how can you not take the time to help them?
KYA: Know Your Audience
Not everyone is receptive though, and some folks may even ask you about Bitcoin just so they can poke fun at it. Honey badger don’t care about these scrooges, but remember that every single conversation about Bitcoin comes with the potential to change some hearts and minds. In order to do that though, you have to be ready.
You have to understand Bitcoin well enough so that you can defend against the FUD, and you can’t just talk to someone and tell them why YOU think Bitcoin matters. You have to know your audience and tell them why THEY should think Bitcoin matters. You need to get on their level and remember what it was like before you had your Bitcoin epiphany.
To aid you in your efforts, let’s imagine that you’ve just walked in to your family’s annual holiday party…
The Wall Street Fat Cat
Oh no. There’s Uncle Jamie, the Wall Street fat cat. Why does he always wear that suit? And does he really think that red tie makes him seem more powerful?
Life is good for Fat Cat Uncle Jamie. He’s worked hard to get where he is, and maybe he still does, but now he tells others what to do and how to do it. Heck, he might even use his fat-cat money to influence politicians. Why on earth would Uncle Jamie care about Bitcoin when his interests are so aligned with the legacy system?
Pitching Bitcoin to folks like this may be tough, but there are a number of arguments that might catch their attention. The first of these is Bitcoin’s potential to be a safe haven asset. Bitcoin is demonstrating more and more that it is uncorrelated to traditional assets. With the advent of negative interest rates and the general sentiment of the world economy deteriorating by the day, Bitcoin is starting to look pretty attractive.
It doesn’t hurt that Fat Cat Uncle Jamie likely has plenty of money to burn and, as a result, has a higher risk tolerance than most. Getting a fat cat to go full Bitcoin anarchist is probably out of the question, but to echo Anthony Pompliano, the goal here should be to get them off zero. Appeal to their bottom line and you can’t go wrong.
Orange coin good. Number go up. And maybe wait till Uncle Jamie has had a few spiked eggnogs before pitching him on Bitcoin…
The Millennial Cousin
Look over there! It’s Cousin Savannah! This one should be pretty easy. Millennials like Savannah already make up a large portion of the Bitcoiner community. And if you look at what drives them, this should come as no surprise. Millennials may have a high time preference, but they also reject societal norms and hate being told what to do. They’ve lost faith in their governments and institutions, and Bitcoin may just be the answer they didn’t know they were looking for.
Starting off with the sound money argument isn’t always recommended, but for Millennials who lived through the 2008 financial crisis and are still dealing with student loans and a less-than-favorable job market, this argument may just work.
Millennials like Cousin Savannah are also well…