In recent years, there has been a significant rise in public awareness of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. With blockchain’s potential to solve critical problems for businesses and individuals, there is a growth in the demand for educational resources. Many are looking to learn about a technology that has the potential to transform the way society works, even during periods of somewhat higher skepticism.
As with traditional finance, crypto is subject to bear market periods that naturally cause uncertainty among investors and draw some doubt from the general public. In recent months, the dramatic decline of LUNA and UST combined with other factors contributed to a downturn in the broader crypto market. The two most prominent cryptocurrencies suffered due to these market conditions. Bitcoin (BTC) saw a significant price drop since its November 2021 high of almost $69,000, while Ethereum (ETH) saw a steep drop from its all-time high as well.
Anxiety stemming from market crashes is understandable, but it’s essential to know that bear markets are a natural part of crypto and provide an opportunity for growth. Following the last prolonged crypto winter, the crypto market saw unprecedented growth, culminating in a bull run that led to all-time highs for BTC and ETH and a massive surge in adoption.
Amidst all this, it’s important to take a step back and understand more — not only the nature of crypto but also the importance of blockchain technology.
A report published by Blockdata in September 2021 showed that 81 out of the world’s top 100 public companies were either actively using or developing blockchain solutions. Although endorsement by large corporations does help in creating more awareness and public trust in the technology, the only way to achieve complete mainstream adoption is once people learn precisely how blockchain works and how it can help improve their own lives for the better.
Perianne Boring, the founder and president of the Chamber of Digital Commerce said, “Blockchain technology has a wide range of transformational use cases, from recreating the plumbing of Wall Street to creating financial sovereignty in the farthest regions of the world.”
Blockchain technology addresses many of the issues faced by current financial systems. It can bring access to financial services for those without access to traditional banking institutions and addresses the main struggles surrounding privacy, inefficient transfer times and high transactional fees.
Beyond crypto’s use as a payment method, decentralized finance — or DeFi — offers various financial services, including loans, trading and asset management. The peer-to-peer nature of blockchain crucially removes the need for financial intermediaries, relying on a trust-based system.
DeFi has a lot of use cases and, alongside cryptocurrency, will have an even more significant impact on the financial sector in the years to come. To adapt to these changes, people need to keep an open mind and learn how to utilize blockchain tech to their benefit. A decent level of blockchain literacy will help someone make better decisions and have more confidence in a more digital world.
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Recognizing blockchain’s potential impact on their industry, finance professionals have taken steps to improve their literacy, and institutions are meeting this demand through tailored courses. The Ivy League school, Wharton, offers an online program covering the Economics of Blockchain and Digital Assets, developed in partnership with leading blockchain economic consulting firm Prysm Group. Several other major universities offer blockchain courses for established professionals preparing for the future and those training for the many new career paths blockchain has created.
The demand for respected institutions to offer blockchain-focused courses should highlight the importance that the technology will have on finance and other significant industrial sectors. Only a few months ago I was asked to lecture a group of Wharton students at the Crypto Valley Labs in Zug, Switzerland, and I could see how engaged they were by the opportunity to ask all sorts of questions to a blockchain professional.
Although mainstream awareness is growing, the majority still see crypto and blockchain as niche sectors reserved for those with an understanding of the intimidating technical language involved. To encourage those without knowledge of blockchain technology to learn more, developers and founders need to cater to everyone. Companies must make more significant efforts to make blockchain accessible to the general public. People tend to be less receptive to concepts they don’t understand, and projects can use education to remove doubt. Learning about the technology behind blockchain and cryptocurrencies will give potential users confidence to take their first steps in the space.
There is, however, only so much responsibility that can be placed on developers. Educational material is abundant online, including research papers and audiobooks. There are thousands of videos ranging from simple explanations of blockchain technology for beginners to more advanced breakdowns of crypto markets, DeFi solutions and much more.
Individuals should utilize these resources to keep up with the changes that will come with the adoption of blockchain. Journalists and communicators — especially in traditional media — should also do their part and leave the sensational headlines behind to focus on explaining the world of possibilities that blockchain has to offer, providing audiences with responsible coverage of this technology and its many benefits.
The current downcycle has exposed critical flaws in the crypto ecosystem, showing some of the most prominent platforms and protocols to be unsustainable. The collapse of several prominent players in the crypto space indicates fundamental issues within the sector. Over-leveraging and poor risk mitigation are some of the factors that have led to the market’s current situation. Despite crypto’s growth in a relatively short time, recent events exhibit traits of a nascent industry in need of further development.
In fact, the current downcycle presents a perfect opportunity to address critical issues in the industry’s infrastructure and develop the use cases that lead to mass adoption.
Sheraz Ahmed is the managing partner of STORM Partners and co-executive director of the Crypto Valley Association.
This article was published through Cointelegraph Innovation Circle, a vetted organization of senior executives and experts in the blockchain technology industry who are building the future through the power of connections, collaboration and thought leadership. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Cointelegraph.
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