We Get It. Cryptocurrency Is Hard. Here's Why.

in cryptocurrency •  3 months ago

Some people have unreasonable expectations for early stage technologies, such as cryptocurrency. It's like they want streaming video and Netflix but it's only 1996. It takes time to build protocols, solve the last mile problem, create layered apps with great usability, etc.

They get upset because things are complicated, confusing, and hard to use. Their emotions are on overdrive because they know they invested (or, to be more honest, speculated) on something they don't fully understand. They broke investor rule 1.

We haven't yet had a Steve Jobs of cryptocurrency to abstract away all the complexity and give us simple user interfaces. Things are still hard to use. That said, just like driving a stick-shift, with repetition and training, using cryptocurrency does become second nature.

original tweet

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Well said. I wonder how many people realize that the world wide web was somewhat similar to this at first? I recall the first day that Mosaic was released. This was already years after the internet was around along with an ability to email, FTP, and share basic links across sites. At the time Mosaic just seemed like a slightly easier way to navigate files across sites. You still had to know where to go, because there were no search engines. Things got easier once companies started to build indices of web sites, but it took search engines to really revolutionize the web. There was also a period of great confusion as companies tried to win the browser war by introducing all kinds of unique HTML functionality that essentially required web developers and users to pick and choose browsers. Fast forward to today and we see that the complexity of the World Wide Web is much greater than then, but that complexity is hidden from most users by effective standards in browsers and web development that allow much better user experiences.

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Thanks for bringing this perspective. Few were around from the beginning to watch this evolve over time, so they have a proper perspective for how these things happen.

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Things are definitely going to get mature as time goes by.

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There is a perception barrier between those who are immersed in cryptocurrency and those who are coming from a fiat world and trying to understand cryptocurrency. Most people do not understand all the computer-eze.

Some people understand how to trade stocks so they will trade crypto the same way. They think they understand the basics of crypto - there is a distributed ledger and a set of keys and there are things called "wallets" but they don't understand how it all works and why it is so safe until they actually try to take possession of their crypto.

Personally, I have done some programming so I have compassion for the developers (which protects me from a lot of anger). I have also done some stock trading so I know how markets work.

When I first tried to take possession of my crypto, I went to MEW and it gave me this paper wallet thing and I had very little understanding of exactly what it was. I thought it meant that I had some kind of an account somewhere. I didn't know where the keys came from. When I tried to figure out where the keys came from, I ran into a lot of information about SHA hashes and cryptography which is difficult to understand. I found a blog that tried to explain keys and it did a pretty good job and I looked in the comment section and someone asked where keys come from. The author of the blog said "from your wallet". This is the typical kind of techie answer that the normies don't understand. (I think a better answer is that they are made by a random number generator and then you need software to hash them into the right format. They don't just appear.) People also need to know that keys are just random numbers and they don't hold value until they are connected to the ledger and the ledger knows nothing about them. Your public key is like a mask of your private key, etc.. Wallets don't store coins, they generate keys, store keys and have software for connecting to the ledger and making transactions.

This stuff can be simply and plainly stated but it is rare that it is.

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I think there has to be some kind of meeting in the middle. I fully recognize the importance of streamlining crypto and making it so easy to grasp that the average user who knows very little about how they actually work can utilize them. At the same time, I think there needs to be some selective pressure. In the same way it might be imprudent to make it so easy to get a home loan that literally anyone can do it in one click without any foresight and planning, it may be imprudent to push mass adoption without putting pressure on users to actually bring themselves up to speed in some sort of way.

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Yep. The simple stuff gets glossed over sometime. It's like if you were going to teach someone to drive a stick shift for the first time, would you go into elaborate detail on how to open the car door? How to insert the key into the ignition? .How to put on the seatbelt? Which peddle was for breaking and which for gas? There's a lot of assumed knowledge in crypto and for some you have to start with explaining what cryptography actually is or even how to get on the internet safely. It's not easy to figure out where someone else's true starting point is.

I've been trying to help with http://understandingblockchainfreedom.com/

And with posts like this: How Do You Teach Experience? What Will Your Cryptocurrency Story Be?

Agreed! Always nice to be reminded of this. Everything takes time to develop. The one's scoffing at it now will be the one's asking a million questions down the road. The one's here now get it and are educating themselves everyday while building their relationships as well as their portfolios...........enjoyed Luke!

I was going to draw the analogy of the WWW, but @toddrjohnson already pretty much summarized it.

There's another — similar — parallel at play here: In the early days of the web, the "nerds" really didn't want to make their new "toy" too easy for the general public to get into. And that's where your Steve Jobs analogy applies... back then, AOL came in and said "simplicity and usability MATTER." Within a couple of years, most of the uber-geeky web access points became bit players...

As previously mentioned: great statement!
Also the idea of having a second account for random thoughts is really cool.

This is absolutely true. When I came to Steemit, I know that Bitcoin was a thing. That was as far as my crypto knowledge goes. While I still have a long way to go before I fully grasp it, my understanding has grown by leaps and bounds by just being willing to learn. I run a witness node now, and that's due almost entirely to what I learned being here and asking questions about blockchain technology and how cryptocurrency (Steem, in this case) works.

If I can do it, pretty much anyone can.

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I really do think anyone can, it just takes time and patience. Driving a stick-shift seems overwhelming at first. Later it's simple.

I'll admit I find it somewhat confusing and complicated. I am researching and slowly learning, but for awhile I had a bad case of information overload...

and yet the salespeople who promote these technologies.
'it's EASY...anyone can do it!'

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What! You mean the salespeople lie!!!!! (So obvious, yet we still fall for them.)

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I avoid them.

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I'm just saying...if I can figure this stuff out, pretty much anyone can. I'm dumber than a bag of hammers most days.

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geeks think differently than normal people.

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We do think a little differently, that's true.

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:) Hahaha! Dumber than a bag o' hammaz' that's good.......... (chucklin' as I type)

I don’t think you could have said this any better @lukes.random. And quite frankly it was re-assuring lol

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Glad to hear that. :)

Indeed and because its harder 80% of people will give up on it right now but if you focus in and learn it and start using/buying it etc your going to be sitting really pretty in a few years when its mainstream!

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Which is why so many people are buying in before they understand it (which means many people get rekt and then look for someone other than themselves to blame).

I appreciate what you are saying. This reminds me of the times of Linux. Linux is still up and running. My thing is, I need to know exactly why I am doing all of these steps and decision make and they is not a lot of source explaining all of the details, especially talking about now after the EOS mainnet launch. I love the concept of EOS and I believe we need to get as much people in on this as soon as possible. The thing going for EOS that Linux does not have is the asset and capital aspect of the platform. Linux can tag along. For those interested in my point can follow my string of post on my struggles here. https://steemit.com/eos/@jayem/a-us-citizen-s-book-entry-into-steemit-on-how-to-get-into-the-eos-smart-contract-blockchain-part-4

Just perfect.. wow :)

Steem has done a pretty good job of introducing folk to crypto. Thousands are using it without really understanding how it works. That has some potential issues as it's easy to lose what you made if you go to the wrong sites. Education is vital

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I think Steem is one of the first cryptocurrency projects to ever connect with normal people. That's what got me so excited about it in 2016.

The earlier adopters don't thought that could be so complicated, and now they are paying the price. People who know what is going on, know that this problems will appear, soon or later, so I are investing and alocating or money in better projects, but people who follow the crowd, don't know anything about that.

I like this thought............. Perhaps we do need a simpler approach for novice users but in the end that easier interface/solution/simplification of use can only come from struggle of the early users.

Just like history has shown us time and again............. the early bird gets the worm but at the cost of forgoing its rest. In the end this sacrifice can be the difference between being either the drivers or the passengers of this ride.