There’s a lot of excitement surrounding discussions about the blockchain and its 2.0 possibilities. In the midst of all this hype, people often forget that a good percentage of the world still do not know what bitcoin is or how to use it. A 2014 report from the Wall Street Journal claimed that 76% of consumers have not heard of Bitcoin. Even though a greater number of people have learned about the digital currency this year, and adoption rates have increased, there is still much to learn about the basics.
Back to 1.0
Sure, the blockchain is a fantastic concept that can give businesses and trading vehicles an edge in this new digital economy. We all look forward to the day where smart contracts make certain litigation obsolete, and decentralized technology disrupts the monopolies of today. The conversation has shifted from the mere use of cryptocurrency to the applications created by blockchain technology and digital assets.
However, a lot of people still need to learn how to do simple things, like send and receive bitcoins. This portion of the population still needs to learn about Bitcoin from the very basic level by being educated in opening wallets, purchasing Bitcoin, sending and receiving, private keys, and necessary security.
Bitcoin 101: Start With the Family
It may be a morbid thought, but what happens to your bitcoins when you die? If you don’t teach your family how to use Bitcoin, all your coins could be lost. Thus, it might be a good idea to leave behind some advice on how to access your wallet. Passwords, mnemonic phrases and some access to your private keys would be excellent assets for your spouse to have during hard times.
This year at Thanksgiving, try sending some bitcoin to relatives so they can learn how to use it. We talk about the currency so much on forums and online chat rooms, but we often neglect to tell our aunts and uncles about the benefits of using Bitcoin.
Most holiday photographs these days contain shots of family members all using smartphones. This is one of the best opportunities to teach them how to open up a Bitcoin wallet and use the currency. No time to set up a wallet in a 5 minutes? There are wallets out there that can be thrown away with addresses created in less than 30 seconds. Send your cousins some virtual bucks and teach them how to operate the digital currency were all so passionate about.
Buying Bitcoins and Keeping them Secure
There are many everyday people who still need to find a place to purchase bitcoin. Online, there are a bunch of exchanges that offer the sale of the digital currency. You can also grab some bitcoin at a physical location with LocalBitcoin’s or ATMs. However, many people are still not aware of where they can buy bitcoins. This limits accessibility to a lot of people; and all that needs to be done to remedy this problem is to point them in the right direction. Telling friends or relatives where they can purchase the digital currency on their own is a good start for them to figure where to get bitcoins, how to use a QR code or binary address, and operate the currency’s basics. They might need your help, and they may want you to join the voyage of discovery. So plan a little time with your pals and buy some Bitcoin together.
The cryptocurrency environment is growing fast, and there are some precautionary steps newcomers need to learn. When entering the Bitcoin realm: If you don’t own your private keys, you don’t own your coins. A private key is a secret number that allows you to claim ownership over an amount of bitcoins, which enables you to send, receive and save them. Owning your private keys means that, at any time, you can import a wallet of your choice or keep your stash offline. Buying coins on an exchange with no access to your private keys can mean that those bitcoins can vanish at any moment, and you will not be able to retrieve them.
There are other measures users can do to help protect their assets in regards to online ties to their Bitcoin. One critical aspect to owning cryptocurrency is the use of two-factor authentication. A lot of the online exchanges, brokerages and wallet services offer an Authy-style of service within their architectures. Most accounts are sometimes tethered to your email address if you choose to connect this way.
If you are utilizing a Bitcoin service that uses your email as a form of verification, that email account should also be secured with two-factor authentication. If you are going to lock the front door, it would also make sense to secure the back door to your house too. A hacker gaining access to an email tied to Bitcoin assets could enable a malicious attack on your funds and compromise certain accounts. If an attacker can reset your securities by simple email verification, then setting up Authy on your email is a safer solution. Also, you can take it a step further by deleting all information about bitcoin from your inbox such as .JSN files and incoming updates from crypto-services. If you take this route, though, be sure to save your files in another secure location.
The digital revolution is a fantastic time in history, but many steps can be forgotten along the path of progression. This can lead to mistakes made by both users and services who don’t educate themselves and each other on the basics of this technology.
We seem to be at a tipping point where adoption is regularly increasing, and we need to keep up with the newcomers. People who are just entering the space want to learn about simple forms of Bitcoin use, not reputations systems, smart contracts and settlement advances on Nasdaq. Bitcoin has done well this year; it has performed well at being a reliable, stable currency without much volatility throughout most of 2015. The virtual currency is rallying upwards in price as we speak, and the environment has grown quite a bit. This is the time to teach safety and precautionary methods to users just getting to know cryptocurrency. Education in the realm of 1.0 crypto-use cases still needs to be at the forefront of our minds.
Do you think we should still cover the basics? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Pixbay, and Redmemes .
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