"You Lost Me at Fiat" - The Four Stages of Bitcoin Competence (...And One Fork)
"Why do 98% of the population still stick to fiat money, when it’s backed by absolutely nothing but belief?"
Someone recently asked this in a Facebook group.
Well, the answer is right there in the question:
All money is backed by belief, including Bitcoin.
Additionally, Bitcoin is backed by cryptography and mathematics. Good.
But without enough people believing in it, who cares about cryptography?
Before we can start believing in something new, we first need to understand what exactly it is.
And before we can understand what it is, we actually need to hear about it first.
It needs to enter our awareness.
Beliefs are tricky. They can be so powerful, that they filter our perception and don’t even allow things to enter our awareness, that don't support them.
And Bitcoin is not just another random new thing.
Bitcoin is part of a paradigm shift in consciousness
It's much harder to open yourself up for that, than for learning a new language or switching from Samsung to iPhone.
And even though you go through the 4 stages as well when you get a new phone, something of the magnitude of cryptocurrencies requires a strong desire for a better future and a strong belief in a reality that isn't there yet.
This takes time to spread.
And, sadly, some people will ignore this shift until something happens and they will be forced to come on board.
And so, more and more people are going through the 4 stages of competence, while a LOT still have never heard about it (and others gave up at stage 2).
These words are really hard to spell...
The 4 stages of competence
When it comes to learning something new (or unlearning something old) we all go through 4 stages of competence:
1. Unconscious Incompetence - We don’t know what we don’t know
This is stage 1, where we are not aware of Bitcoin or anything related to it.
We are also not aware that we have a problem. We live in our centralised world, as we have always done. We may whine about this and that, but overall we’re pretty comfortable.
We fully believe that the Dollar and Euro are worth something and that our money will grow if we just keep saving and paying into our state pension plans. Even if we see the word Bitcoin in front of us, it will not enter our awareness. And if it briefly does, we will reject it as online gambling money for nerds and not even remember it.
2. Conscious Incompetence - Now we do know what we don’t know
This is when we suddenly become aware of a few things that begin to concern us.
We realize we’re not receiving any interest for our savings anymore.
We get a letter from the pension office, informing us how much money we can expect one day when we’re retired. We're a little bit in shock and discuss it with others, who say, “And by then it’s going to be worth even less than today!”
Wow, we’ve never really thought about inflation that way…
At the same time this Bitcom thing (or what was it called again?) pops up everywhere all of a sudden - even on Grey’s Anatomy!! So we get interested in finding out more, but we’re also very sceptical.
Our concern about our future opened our minds and shook up our belief system just enough to ask some questions.
Don’t be scared, be prepared
Concern is very different from worry or fear, though.
And this is where the fork happens: If we are hesitant to let go of beliefs we have held our whole life, then this is the stage where fear sets in and makes us reject this new thing. So we - consciously or unconsciously - choose NOT to get involved in it.
When our fear is unconscious, it will make us judge and dismiss this new thing right away as either too good to be true or without potential and we will collect evidence that supports our belief. We will listen to the Dimons of this world and say, “See, I knew it! Bitcoin is a fraud!
But we could also just be lazy and not feel like learning something so completely new. That’s when we wave it off and say, “You lost me at fiat!” and go back to our normal lives where we can stay comfortably slightly-worried about the future.
When our fear is conscious, we may choose not to engage because we’re simply scared of change, scared of the new and unknown, of taking responsibility for our own money, or of trusting ourselves.
Some of us, though, turn our concern into curiosity and action instead of fear, and continue with Step 3:
3. Conscious Competence - Now we’re learning and we're very aware of what we know
This is where the desire to learn more has truly hit us and we’re soaking up information everywhere or enroll in a course. We know this new crypto world really can improve our lives (give us more freedom, privacy or even more money) and we want to master it.
In this stage we’re gaining more and more knowledge and we’re very conscious of every button we press and pay extra attention to do it correctly.
We have a wallet now and we’re not afraid to use it! (Only a little bit.)
We’re buying our very first Bitcoin, we’re making sure we double-triple-check the wallet address and re-read our notes three times before confirming.
We’ve saved our private keys in several locations, just to be extra super sure.
We know we shouldn’t leave more than we can afford to lose on an exchange, so we transfer our funds to our wallets, staring impatiently at our screen, crossing our fingers, as we wait for the funds to arrive. Hopefully we didn’t do anything wrong!
And we will make mistakes, but we're paying so much attention that they will be carved into our memory, never to be repeated.
4. Unconscious Competence - We are not aware anymore of all the things we know now
This is where this former new thing has become an important part of our life that we don’t want to miss anymore.
We’re comfortable dealing with Bitcoin and have found other cryptocurrencies to invest in. We know how Dash is different from Bitcoin for example, or EOS from Ethereum.
We may even earn part of our income in crypto now - whether it is by trading, on Steemit or in other ways.
We constantly find ourselves answering questions of friends who are still in stage 2 or 3. They call us experts! And while answering them, we realize just how much knowledge we have accumulated by now, and how effortless this all is for us.
We also wish it would already be more widely accepted because it just makes things so much more simple, fast and well, better in every way.
And - we know so much about how our current financial system works, that we even find ourselves trying to get rid of our Dollars and Euros, even though in stage 2 we were still so concerned about not having enough of them one day.
Our new motto is:
"Never put all your money in fiat!"
... and we wonder, "Why do 98% of the population still stick to fiat money?"