For many people working in crypto, it can be easy to forget that outsiders still see the space as a naive up-and-comer compared to the traditional—I’d say broken—financial industry. A recent Q&A with former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis shows not only these traditionalists’ misunderstandings about crypto, but a failure to grasp its core tenets.
While age doesn’t indicate a certain understanding, I can’t help but notice the bevy of emphatic claims from the older generation that are premised on anachronistic, staid thinking. Many in this cohort don’t understand why emerging technologies—such as distributed systems, decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), NFTs and non-national digital money—are so important to society and humanity’s future.
We have spent decades pushing a global reserve currency backed by the burning of fossil fuels. Yet the old guard cannot understand why the youth are concerned about the potential of human-caused global warming or, at the very least, the problems caused by neverending pollution via industries propped up by government subsidies.
Non-national digital units of account, which provide borderless transaction capabilities and don’t require the user to prove legal personhood, are designed to upend this entire game of central banking and government corruption, as Satoshi told us in the genesis block of Bitcoin.
We can debate whether any cryptocurrencies will ever become a de facto global reserve currency, but they don’t need to in order to prove their value. All they need to do is help lift even one person out of poverty. While digital currencies may not automatically solve all the world’s financial woes, they create real-world results for the increasing numbers of us who choose to use them.
While crypto continues to face its many naysayers, here are three strategies I’ve adapted to educate them.
Patiently answer questions — to a point
Once upon a time, I hosted weekly meetings in my home where I would answer any question regarding crypto in a public forum. This saved me time, since otherwise I was often tasked with answering these questions one at a time. But more importantly, it also helped move the dialogue along due to the dynamics of having these discussions in a group setting.
That being said, the entrenched “old guard” is generally uninterested in being onboarded, and if that seems to be the case, I suggest you learn to stop resisting them. Learn to feel genuine empathy for their hesitancy and the negative impact that is going to continually have on their lives as you instead seek to engage with people who want to get on board. Advice that isn’t asked for is not advice after all. By shifting your overall posture this way, you’ll find your own energy is more efficiently utilized as well.
Remember: This is a battle of ideas
There is a clear battle of ideas between the Atomic Age and the Information Age. We as participants have no control over that division, it is simply the inevitable byproduct of a new age beginning and an old age dying. Information is often the frontline of any war—this is what they mean by the old adage, “The first casualty of any war is the truth.”
Knowing that we are in a battle for the future of our civilization, we must adopt the attitude and posture of a wartime effort. We must fund our own information outlets, rigorously rebuke Atomic Age rhetoric while replacing it with our own perspective. Like any war, the outcome will be decided by logistics (who can deploy and spend the most capital toward their objective).
This is a war not simply for the infrastructure of our civilization, but for the very lives of the people who stand to benefit from the proliferation and adoption of provably fair, open, permissionless, non-national monetary instruments. In my opinion, anyone who attempts to slow said adoption is akin to a person staunchly refusing to deploy a liferaft to people drowning in the ocean.
Get ahead of the trends
Don’t chase trends. Instead do your best to get ahead of them. Doing so is a full-time occupation and dabblers will get punished by the market accordingly. As newcomers enter these markets, the growing pains have and will continue to be tough for some. Many people will lose their digital assets to simple mistakes, like failing to back up their private keys or getting caught by a phishing scam.
The growing pains will cause many to turn away from the space. However, those who adopt the right posture and give crypto the attention it both deserves and demands will discover that, at some point in the near future, they have inherited the Earth (or at least its economy).
Crypto power-users have and will continue to flourish in this sector. When this all settles down, it will have proven to be a massive intelligence test for the global population. Those who pass the test will be rewarded beyond their wildest dreams. Those who don’t pass or refuse to take the test will find themselves burdened by a strong environmental disadvantage in the new economy.
As dire a prediction as that may seem, it is also one children of the Information Age have been training for their whole lives by consistently being early adopters of new technologies.
Edward DeLeon is the CEO & founder of Anatha.
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.