There are multiple factors responsible for the slow, and sometimes even stagnant growth of Bitcoin adoption around the world. Consumers are not being incentivized to use Bitcoin over traditional means, merchants are not properly educated on why Bitcoin is so important, and Bitcoin regulation is on everybody’s mind. But the biggest problem in all of this is the Bitcoin community itself.
The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
Rather than referring to these awesome movies from back in the “good ole days”, the terminology of “the good, the bad and the ugly” reports to three main categories of people in the Bitcoin community. Despite the Bitcoin community growing on a monthly basis, it seems like there are far too many struggles within the inner circle, which ooze negativity towards the outside.
First of all, there are plenty of Bitcoin community members who have good intentions and are working hard to push virtual currency adoption to new levels. Individual efforts, Meetup groups, small and large companies openly advertising Bitcoin acceptance, All of these traits can be found within the Bitcoin ecosystem.
Truth be told, most of these efforts started to show in the early days of Bitcoin, once there was the tiniest hint of early momentum to be noted. To keep the ball rolling, individuals and businesses took it upon themselves to promote Bitcoin at every chance they got, without expecting anything in return. After all, an ideology and technology can not grow without attracting more like-minded people who cherish the same values.
While some financial experts will argue that “joining the Bitcoin bandwagon” is what lead to the famous price peak of over US$1150 back in 2013, they couldn’t be further from the truth. Every Bitcoin community member knows that moment in time had nothing to do with Bitcoin adoption but was just a play on one of the virtual currency industry’s greatest weaknesses: relying on centralized services.
Which is what brings us the “bad” part of this section. Bitcoin, as well as as any of the other thousands of virtual currencies ever created, are all revolving around the idea of decentralization. Being your own “boss” in terms of finance is a great feeling that everyone on this planet should experience. Out with the centralized services such as banks, insurance companies, etc. The decentralization revolution is here, and individual users are taking back what is rightfully theirs.
Or are they? In fact, they are not, as most of the Bitcoin community members are sheeple. For some unknown reason – other than convenience – nearly every Bitcoin-related service and platform in existence today is centralized. Bitcoin exchanges, for example, store user funds in both Bitcoin or fiat currency, and determine when funds are transferred to individual users.
Apparently, no one seems to have a problem with this, until Bitcoin regulation came along and the sheeple started getting upset. Newsflash people: you have all let this happen by preferring centralized Bitcoin services over proper decentralized solutions. Once one person started spouting how awesome centralized Bitcoin exchanges are, everyone seemed to follow that advice. Hence, the term “sheeple” seems adequately appropriate to describe the general Bitcoin community.
Over the years, things have gone from bad to worse in terms of centralized services plaguing the Bitcoin ecosystem. One could even go as far as saying that there is little to no decentralized innovation present in the Bitcoin world right now, other than a handful of projects currently in development. After six years and change, this new decentralized way of money has very little to show for itself in terms of actually decentralizing anything.
Outside of the blockchain itself, which is one of the best examples of how decentralization should work, there are not many innovative projects built on top of that technology. Granted, there are various services and platforms that enable us to use Bitcoin for more everyday needs. But are they truly decentralized, or are they just adopting an existing centralized business model and slapping the term “Bitcoin” on top?
Last but not last, there is the “ugly” part of this story, and this is where the root cause of the problem can be identified. The Bitcoin community has grown apathetic, ungrateful, unknowing and even two-faced in many ways. It seems like there is a lack of focus, desire and will to take things to a new level, and it is not easy to figure out why this is.
The year 2015 has been a mix of good news and bad news so far, yet Bitcoin community members are showing very little emotional response to either type. Anything that is even remotely positive is greeted with a shrug, while negative news is frowned upon as putting “another nail in the coffin of Bitcoin”. If even the general Bitcoin community doesn’t care enough about improving things, how can we expect investors, entrepreneurs and developers to do it for us?
Fighting amongst community members in terms of “who is right and who is not” is a sign of childish behavior. Bitcoin is trying to mature as a virtual currency, yet the community behind it seems to degenerate at an accelerated pace. Showing the minimum level of respect for other people’s opinions is what made Bitcoin such a vibrant community in the first place. But it seems like we have all forgotten our roots, and why we got involved in virtual currency in the first place.
What We Can do To Improve The Situation
There is an old saying of “being able to look yourself in the mirror every day”. Bitcoin community members may have a hard time doing so, once they take the time to think about what they have brought to the table in recent years. Not everyone is a developer, writer, entrepreneur or investor, but that’s exactly why everybody is welcome in this community.
What we need are more fresh ideas, a new view on things, constructive criticism and a spark of fire to light up the Bitcoin community once again. Apathy and bickering are holding the higher ground right now, but if we unite as a front, we can restore the original values of Bitcoin in the community. One person and one step at a time, we will rise again and show the world why Bitcoin is a force to be reckoned with.
What are your thoughts on being a part of the Bitcoin community in recent years? Do you feel there is room for improvement, and if so, where would you start? Let us know in the comments below!
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