The raison d’etre of Bitcoin is to create a financial system that is governed by the people, backed by mathematics and code, exempts third parties from records & transactions, and increases in its intrinsic value as a result of deflationary attributes built into its algorithm.
Blockchain is the technology which powers Bitcoin and most cryptocurrencies. Introducing Blockchain to various sectors of the global economy holds potentials of increasing efficiency and reducing expenditure costs.
Undoubtedly, Bitcoin and Blockchain are technically complex concepts for an average person to understand in 5 minutes. It spans across the history of money, the flaws of the financial system, servers, data, internet networks, system architectures, banks and so much more. It encompasses decades of financial events and the evolution of human civilization with respect to technology.
The outlined disadvantage has caused a slow adoption rate of Bitcoin, giving a window of opportunity for scammers to prey on the ignorance of the average person. The most recent scams involve luring people into brilliantly executed Ponzi schemes built on smart contracts, convincing them with technical words and the promise of irrational returns on their investment. Perfect examples of these scams are Million money, Forsage etc.
There are more fake actors than good ones in the Blockchain industry, and they are ready to prey on the smallest glimpse of greed anyone shows, in order to rip such persons off their hard-earned money. This stuns the victims and greatly hinders them from experiencing the positive advantages of this innovative technology.
Will adoption ever scale in this manner?
Education and Ecosystem
There is no gainsaying the fact that it takes education to process information into knowledge. Blockchain and education should be the sides of a coin. An ecosystem that supports and fosters the education of both the public as well as the government parastatals involved in building regulatory frameworks, is particularly germane to the growth of the Blockchain industry. The two major categories of people that need education are: The general public and the regulators (government).
The most successful application of Blockchain is finance, the general public has known fiat money all their lives and is slowly adjusting to the centralized digital payment systems introduced into their ways of life. Finance and technology are subject matters which are often labelled as complex topics meant for only a select few. Nevertheless, there are certain keynotes that ought to be taken before embarking on any quest to educate the public about blockchain & cryptocurrency.
Incentivizing people to learn about Blockchain and cryptocurrency by exposing them to the positive benefits (careers and opportunities) they stand to gain, is a viable method for encouraging blockchain awareness. There are numerous organizations and blockchain enthusiasts who are currently leveraging on this strategy, in order to incorporate Blockchain education. Africa Blockchain University, Althash and Paxful recently launched an initiative to provide a free Blockchain Course for 2500 Africans to learn more about Blockchain & cryptocurrency. This initiative is targeted at the economic empowerment of African youths.
Similarly, Blockchain products need to reconsider their UI/UX. I’d comfortably bet on the fact that no one ever asks: ‘How do I use Facebook?’. This is because Facebook’s interface is so easy, that it comes naturally to the user— the same way a casual hangout spot would. The Blockchain hurdles currently faced by users can easily fade into the background with the provision of an easy-to-use interface. An example of such a blockchain product is Kurepay, a crypto-fiat payment wallet with an interface modelled after banking applications. It allows one to purchase airtime, data and other utilities using cryptocurrencies in a convenient way.
Likewise, blockchain and cryptocurrency communities in each country could set up a committee of people who are vast in Intellectual Property, taxation and blockchain technology. This way, informed support can be given to policymakers & regulators. In turn, it would foster the creation of an extensive legal and regulatory framework that would largely develop the blockchain community.
In conclusion, education is germane to the growth and adoption of Blockchain, especially in Africa. The University of Nicosia is one of the institutions that fosters Blockchain in Higher education with its MOOC and Master’s degree programs in Blockchain certification. Nevertheless, just as the adoption of the internet was quite slow during its first few years of launching but it now powers the lives and businesses of billions of people, there are indications that Blockchain would follow suit. More countries just need to get on the train— and fast.