The Biggest Problem with Cryptocurrency is that it is Called Cryptocurrency

in adoption •  7 months ago


So Much Name-Calling

As with any disruptive new tech, cryptocurrency is being met with more skepticism than adoption. It’s difficult to find any new report on crypto or blockchain technology without terms like “scam” or “bubble” or “pyramid scheme” coloring the perception of the general consumer. Misinterpretations of hearsay use-cases silo the public’s understanding of the technology as well, equating corner-case adoption with corner-case potential. For the last near-decade, connotations of digital currency have prevented it from being a viable alternative coin in the global marketplace.

But why is this? Why are cryptocurrencies so often associated with hackers, pirates, fascists, and traffickers? The declarations by Jaime Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, last September of Bitcoin being only applicable to “Venezuela or Ecuador or North Korea” struck an underlying anxiety amongst investors and contributed to crypto markets falling over 30%. This isn’t an isolated incident and every so often, big figure-heads with deep pockets pop up with soundbytes filled with “FUD” - Fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Anonymity is shamed as shady and transparency is understood as anti-liberty.

Bad press aside, there is the notorious condition of volatility. “Why would I spend Bitcoin on a carton of milk when it may cost double that amount tomorrow?” And the same problems persist inversely when markets are good - “Why would I spend several Bitcoin on a car now when I may only have to spend half that number in a few months?” The combination of price volatility and intangibility nurtures a distrust that this is in any way a practical or trustworthy currency.

But that is because cryptocurrency isn’t a currency.

Capturing Value

At least not “currency” in the same way we weigh euros, pesos, and yen. It isn’t meant to be valued always in relation to the US Dollar, despite constant market evaluations, and it isn’t designed to maintain a predetermined monetary worth. “Currency” is a historical misnomer from when the progenitorial Bitcoin was wholly considered to be a direct fiat alternative and implies that it would be used to purchase and sell another product or service.

Think about how you use your cash in your wallet. It comes and goes whenever you earn it from providing something or spend it from wanting something else. Cash is only a mediating tool from person to person, service to thing. If you piled all your available fiat money in front of you, it would indicate almost nothing other than your economic level and security - It tells nothing of how you earned it, why you earned it, how you intend to use it, and other implications of your professional or personal standing in the world.

Tokens, another moniker for digital currencies, recoup that missing knowledge. They can be designed to capture a specific value and portray much more than a singular monetary amount. We see this happening with more recent applied tokens that have correlating applications and communally integrated technologies. Have 50,000 STEEM? You are most likely an avid and valued content producer on a website like, where blog posts and curation are rewarded with STEEM tokens. Have 100,000 Siacoin? You probably share a great deal of cloud storage through their decentralized application that allows you to rent excess hard-drive space. As specialized tokens are distributed for specialized work, cryptocurrencies capture more meta and social data than a purely monetary purchase. Cryptocurrency thus maintains an innate trust system such as “proof-of-work” or “proof-of-stake” that verifies one’s measurable authenticity from their work or effort to earn it. In a traditional market, do you inherently trust someone more for having $10,000 in their bank compared to $1,000? Decentralized verification with crypto and blockchain DAOs is opening the doors for a more integrated trust network.

Think of it as a point system, something we implicitly use on a daily basis. We earn points for completing levels of Candy Crush, drinking enough Starbucks lattes, or topping off our metro passes. Yet the greatest issue concerning existing systems such as these are that the points are non-transferable to other sub-economies and not even reverse-transferrable to fiat currency. It may say that you have $10 remaining on your coffee gift card but that value means nothing beyond the uniformed cashier and barista. Utilizing autonomous cryptocurrency systems overcomes those blockades. As those crypto “points” reach a recognized demand, they can begin to be traded between each other (one latte for a single ride) without the fear of loss in value.

In this mindset, crypto is more akin to commodities in a mercantile era when wheat was traded for corn and silk for spices. The “currency” embodied the metadata of the producer’s skill, locational knowledge, and much more, all while prices were constantly in negotiation (or “volatile”) in relation to supply and demand. Price of any given currency was thus highly dependent on the merchant’s personal skill as well as on a case-by-case basis. Today’s standardization in a fiat economy betrays those relationships as Big Macs are stuck at $4.99 and a pair of Nikes at $90, regardless of their actual value at any moment in the marketplace.

Not only does this empower the local maker to actively influence the value of his/her service, but also allows them to begin valuing their work divorced from local economy health and social conditions. Craftsmen shoemakers no longer need to work at odds with East Asian mass producers who undercut their global competitiveness. They can instead be valued differently in a profession-specific guild system that transgresses borders. Even though the artisan can be momentarily undermined by external competitors, they can sustain their worth and reputation within the community by offering a diverse services and knowledge not typically provided by other corporate structures. That value, until now, has been encased in their product without opportunity to be shared separately.

Homogenization of fiat also obscures the value of services and skills. Distinct operations, even within the same profession, are subsumed into an average hourly wage or salary or price tag and ultimately places great emphasis on the outcomes of work rather than the aspects of work itself. A dynamic token system dismantles these broad assignments of professional value and motivates a different incentivization strategy. A more difficult hour of work should be worth more than a less difficult one and a distinct skill should be valued over a period of automation. In this case, volatility is not something to be fearful of, rather, it is something to be leveraged for more discerning value.

These factors and qualities constitute cryptocurrency into something very different than just a monetary amount and upturns our current relationship with value - value in our personal lives and through professional work.

So how should we treat crypto?

Current hype around blockchain buzzwords and investment returns is actually distracting from the true adoption of cryptocurrencies as a value mechanism. This is understandable as token sales have skyrocketed past VC investments and traditional equity distribution, but the stereotype remains that access into crypto holdings and use relies on dollar purchases and personal investment. This could not be further from the truth.

The world of cryptocurrencies is no longer nearly as monolithic as it was even a few years ago. Consumers are able to purchase, hold, and use from almost 1,700 different tokens, even though only a fraction of that selection has functioning applications and use-cases today. Most importantly, they’re able to earn specialized tokens by performing desirable tasks - gaming, storing data, producing blog posts, peer-reviewing articles, verifying work authenticity, and an ever-increasing list of valued services. Better iterations of those services are rewarded with higher amounts of the corresponding crypto.

No longer does the user have to worry or hold any amount of Bitcoin for example, and can instead focus completely on the token that concerns their work and interest.

Cryptocurrencies have now become a vehicle for self-investment and self-establishment in unique global economies. Crypto is your stake in something, whether a hobby, service, or skill, that is nurtured personally. And now that those points are seamlessly transferable between each other, there is no barrier to fear with emerging opportunities - for example, from transitioning as a publicized MySpace user to a Facebook figure to an Instagram influencer. The decentralized economy of value is already proving much more expansive than the typical race to the top that only supports a handful of success stories. There is more value now and more opportunities for people of all backgrounds to capture that value.

“Currency” is one of those placeholder terms, tentatively used for now to vaguely understand the economy that is not yet here.
Finally, the individual user’s capacity to drive the growth of a token and determine its functionality is one of the most exciting parts of the blockchain ecosystem. This sort of idea exists in theory with fiat systems, for example trickle-down economics or a focus on small-businesses, where driving factors influence the overall population’s economic health, but a cryptocurrency explicitly outlines the direct connection. No matter the health of the US economy, a quarter maintains a quarter’s worth and will most likely only net you a gum-ball now and years down the line. Especially during these initial development stages for blockchain technologies, the success or defeat of a new token economy will be determined by its use-cases and circulation, i.e its users, regardless of their affiliation with any core or original team. The cryptocurrency holder is the equity holder.

So ultimately, cryptocurrency becomes much more than having a finite amount of dollars and cents in your personal account. Crypto is meant to be earned through a variety of specialized actions and services and circulate much more freely beyond both national and disciplinary boundaries. It is meant to be bolstered by personal dedication. It is meant to determine one’s standing in a growing global audience of like-minded users. It is meant to drive different forms of personal growth and communal sharing in a manner that has never been effectively incentivized before.

As with any disruptive new tech, what exactly things are and how they’ll transform the world are still nebulous terms and analogies. More accurate jargon will emerge as theoretical advances incrementally mesh with the real working world, during which the abstract terminology today will be replaced with precise experience tomorrow. “Currency” is one of those placeholder terms, tentatively used for now to vaguely understand the economy that is not yet here.

This article was originally published by Sndbox last year and has been edited for redistribution through The Creative Crypto. Thank you to the Sndbox team for this article contribution!

cover image illustrated by @carrotcake. illustrations and final drawing by @zsolt.vidak
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I read another article the other day that wasn’t was technical as yours but also touched on the same point! The biggest problem with cryptocurrency adoption at the moment isn’t the volitalily or the tech those things can be mitigated by logic and knowledge. Blockchain has marketing problem it just doesn’t have a sexy inclusive narrative to it yet that the average joe could pick up and understand without breaking down completely

Enthusiasts like us who are early adopters don’t really do a good job either since we’re so fascinated and so passionate about the technical aspects and possiblites we happy to speak in the jargon and learn but not everyone is going to be like that we are just the base from which the knowledge will flow from to the rest of the world. We as evangelists need to find a simplistic and attractive narrative that will click with any age group or level of understanding

No one cares how HMTL, CCS and java script and SQL data bases work or TCP/IP they just know I put in a url I get what I want! I click buttons and put in text to interact with a website! It’s taken us years for this knowledge and understanding to become ubiquitous and it will take time to crypto to reach that level, we just need to look at a simpler way of marketing the concept

This is by far the most educative piece of writing I have read this year.
...............a huge thanks to @sndbox for bringing it to my feed through their resteem.

Crypto is your stake in something, whether a hobby, service, or skill, that is nurtured personally.
......and this is by far the best definition of cryptos I have ever came across in recent times...

@creativecrypto your exposition blew away the shade of darkness surrounding this subject matter

These factors and qualities constitute cryptocurrency into something very different than just a monetary amount and upturns our current relationship with value - value in our personal lives and through professional work.

This change in perspective might be what is required to turn about the recent trend in the sequence of eventualities surrounding the crypto horizon..

but whats more.....................

.................with this there will a new era in surronding the adoption and use of cryptos over time

After almost a year on Steemit, I've noticed that I don't really tell people much about my blog anymore. Whenever I do it is usually just 'it's a blog platform that rewards users in cryptocurrency.' That alone isn't really enough to capture anyone's attention because it is so much more than that. Steemit has created jobs, educated its users on blockchain technology, helped form new relationships across borders, and so much more than just making pockets fatter. I've learned so much useful information on Steemit like Estonia's e-residency program, and I've also gained a ton knowledge from Korea thanks to actively exploring new places to post. My blog has since turned into more of a public record for me. At this point, I couldn't careless about the price of STEEM or SBD. It's more than money.

I agree@creativecrypto

I started calling it just "CRYPTO" without the currency.

Well informed Article for anyone who can understand CRYPTO or CURRENCY.


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Crypto is for cryptography!

Have a great day ~♡


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As funny as the title sounds, it is the reality of it...
Often times I get to explain repeatedly for friends what cryptocurrency is.. And they still ask ask you about it like they've never heard it before next time you mention it.... 😂😂😂

Waaw! Really great informative article detailing everything.

I think 'TOKEN' is Best. Crypto or Coin or Cryptocurrency should not be used.

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Hello Dears

Tell me Which 5 coin is Best for invest.. Those give back 10x++ profit in this year..

Now i think about ETF... How can manage my current cryptocurrency sell or HODL

Good information
All for sporting me vote &comment thanks

great value write up, another piece of brilliance to my collection of things that make me think farther. And kudos to @carrotcake for the cover pic. Cryptocuteness overload

crypto currecny will have its ups and downs and will reach one day where it is suppose to reach , life shares of facebook , amazon , google and other.These shares also faced lot of problems and went through ups and down , but today see their prices.

Upvote my comments and reply

Excellent reading! Following the example of the Starbucks or candy crush points, if they were tokenized on the blockchain (let's say an erc-20 token or something like that) you could pretty much pay in Starbucks with your candy crush points.

I believe in the future there will be a lot of income streams based on user actions, whether is liking a post on something like Steem or playing videogames, let's see how much time it takes to get there...

People should also learn to say "token", not everything is a "coin".

And instead of referring to this whole space as "cryptocurrency" one could say "the blockchain space" instead, that sounds much better in my opinion.

hi @creativecrypto. very good article. I come from Poland and my husband and me live in the UK since 3 years. A Year or so before our wedding my husband heard of cruptocurrencies and decided to start getting involved. As we had a deadline, he decided to go for hypes. Unfortunately, we have lost substantive amount of our profit, once on of the traders in one project decided to 'dissapear'. luckily for us, it wasn't our input, so we still profited from this. But all this made me to feel insecure and not trust AN y this kind of projects. as for a woman knowing nothing about cryptocurrencies and market at this tim,e you could imagine thatn anything would really mean everything. And i was thinking as most of ohter people - why should i trust money i can't see?

Luckily, my husband is not investing in hypes any more and we've inwested in one very good start up and a few projects based on blockchain, my husband is also trading some cryptocurrencies. not having a lot of money to start with is difficult, but we can see the progress.

It's not that long ago, sicne i realised what the reality is really like. that obviosuly there is a risk, but it is the risk worhthy of investing. That Banks aren't really our 'friends' , and rather oppositve. 'Coopearting' with them isn't a good idea. Sad fact is, that being in life since ages, people got used to them and trust them just because they kno what this is, how it works and they can see the buildings. Following this point of view, they don't really earn, but let banks earn a lot, almost for free. And if there is a crisis, then banks finally don't he anything to say. Now, even when you want to withdrwwn more cash, they need to consider your request weeks or two before! how ridiculous is this? And this is reality in the front of our eyes, which very often people don't see.

Poland seem to us to be one of the most countries, where propaganda is very strong. The law is ridiculous, and without and doubt, it is will continue (and it is very likely to happen as government seems to be very oldfasion and not wanting changes) , more people will leave Poland.

Sad fact is , that things not being a bubble are consider to be a bubble...

but hopefully with more and more projects, succesful people and information easy to understand, as what you are presenting, more and more people will open their yest - for their good.

Thanks for post, very useful.