But, I think I made some real progress today!
After mocking some guy trying to explain Bitcoin to his girlfriend the other day, I decided I would demonstrate how it’s done.
I wrote the most concise and non-technical summary every conceived—Bitcoin is a new currency where every transaction is put up for a majority vote.
“I don’t get it”, said Jeanne.
“I don’t get it”, said Eve.
So I wrote the Bitcoin Cheat Sheet with practical examples of how you use Bitcoin—Download a wallet app and start sending and receiving Bitcoins today!
“I still don’t get it”, said Jeanne.
“☹”, said Eve.
So I wrote an even more detailed description of the Bitcoin voting process using a stack of paper for an analogy. So eloquent! So understandable!
“”, said Jeanne.
“Now I’m more confused than ever”, said Eve.
How could I be failing so hard at explaining this concept?
How deep do these two have to go before they’ll confess to knowing what Bitcoin is?
Do I have to explain the fundamentals of cryptography? Proof of work? One-way functions? Digital signatures? Merkle trees?
What’s it gonna take?
I was up for the challenge, ready to start writing.
I mean, how can I continue mocking people in coffee shops in good conscience if I can’t do any better myself?
I just needed the questions.
What hadn’t I yet sufficiently explained?
But all I could get out of either of them were questions like, “Why does Bitcoin matter?” and “Will I have to use it?”
Huh? I was totally confused.
What do any of these questions have to do with what Bitcoin is?
And that’s when lightning struck.
When Bhavesh wants to know what Bitcoin is, he’s asking for and is satisfied with a technical description of how it works.
When Jeanne and Eve are asking what Bitcoin is, “how it works” is not a satisfactory answer.
They want to know the issues surrounding it—Who created it? Why did they create it? Why is everyone else so excited about it? Why am I not excited, too? What am I missing?
I could have crawled deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole of technical Bitcoin descriptions to the point of exhaustion, only to hear Jeanne and Eve tell me I was just getting more confusing and please would I go away now.
But what I really needed to do was change course and answer the Why? questions instead of the How? questions.
This might have been obvious to all of you out there, but it was a real revelation to me.
So, problem solved, right?
Actually, these questions are much more difficult to answer.
They’re all subjective and opinionated.
There’s no hard answer.
Like how am I supposed to know why some guy created Bitcoin?
Am I a mind-reader?
I’m reluctantly starting to have a little more respect for coffee shop guy.