Greetings Bitshares community. My name is Gregory "Brother G" Walker. I am an author, animation producer, Bitshares enthusiast and CEO of African Legends Animation LTD, a Bahamian based multimedia venture. I am a long term follower of the astonishing work of “Bytemaster” Dan Larimer and the rest of the able Bitshares crew. He likely does not remember, but I briefly met Bytemaster at the New York Bitcoin conference last April. I was at a table speaking to the guys from Maidsafe, Bytemaster sat down to be next and I asked him about Keyhotee, smiled and left. I should have introduced myself to him then, but I am here now.
The time has come to propose something to the community that I have been working on for many months. But first a little sobering information about where Bitcoin technology is socially. The 2014 Survey of Bitcoin Polling was just released by the Bitcoin Knowledge, Use, and Opinion (BitKOU) project. As reported by Cointelegraph it “suggests that lower income populations are more likely to adopt Bitcoin and recommends greater effort on building knowledge and trust among general publics.” Cointelegraph went on to report that “meta-analysis” consisting of 21 existing English language public policy data about Bitcoin, found that across various population segments from different geographical areas, knowledge is low, trust is weak, and adoption rates among customers and merchants are slow.”
The most surprising thing the results pointed to was that lower income respondents are more likely to use Bitcoin in the future. Said Dr. Stephen P. Konieczka, the author of the report, “The relationship between knowledge and likelihood of adoption is exactly the opposite of what, logically, we would expect to find.”
Konieczka went on:
"Assuming the data could be confirmed, one thought I had that might explain [this trend], is communities from which the lower-income American respondents were drawn," he stated. "We are just speculating here, but let's say that those communities have a higher level of immigrants from South America and Africa, then their own or their family's experiences with digital currencies may be greater, and therefore, they are more willing to experiment with Bitcoin."
Another possible reason of this trend might be the challenges of giving the under-banked the ability to gain access to financial services:
"It gets increasingly difficult for low-income people to secure traditional bank accounts. Assuming the respondents understood that Bitcoin circumvents the banking system, that might cause them to adopt more readily than people in higher-income brackets with easy access to banks."
The report was informative on many fronts, but it indicated most strongly that developing trust and building knowledge on the promotion side, and pushing into the micropayments and remittances markets are the way forward.
I was not surprised by these findings. Coming from a journalistic background, it has been easier for me to utilize that training for being both objective and enthusiastic. First of all no one leaves a system that is already working for them, in this case the mainstream monetary system, without a multi million dollar campaign to entice them. Bitcoin technology sounds great, but is up against incumbents that spent billions to get their customers and believe me, will spend billions more on smear campaigns to undermine adoption of blockchain technology. This is why we in the western world have an average 30 year wait for technology improvements of any kind. An unnamed guest writer on Cointelegraph was hilariously on point about the image of the Bitcoin community and what we are up against when he wrote:
“The current style used by online and physical merchants is better and less reminiscent of the nerdy underworld than its predecessors, but it’s still large, unwieldy and orange. It looks like a payment option for Stewie Griffin. If there were an entity able to make Bitcoin’s only point-of-contact material look half as trustworthy and enticing as the crooks at Visa and MasterCard have managed, a major battle would be won.”
This is an excerpt from wikipedia about what is took to transform the buying public into credit card users. It is the type of thing the Bitcoin community will have to do to mainstream blockchain technology in a head to head economic battle:
“Early credit cards in the U.S., of which BankAmericard was the most prominent example, were mass-produced and mass mailed unsolicited to bank customers who were thought to be good credit risks. But, "They have been mailed off to unemployables, drunks, narcotics addicts and to compulsive debtors, a process President Johnson's Special Assistant Betty Furness found very like 'giving sugar to diabetics'." These mass mailings were known as "drops" in banking terminology, and were outlawed in 1970 due to the financial chaos they caused. However, by the time the law came into effect, 100 million credit cards had been dropped into the U.S. population. After 1970, only credit card applications could be sent unsolicited in mass mailings.”
Bytemaster I hope you are reading this, because what makes you better than all the other players in this space, and consequently makes Bitshares superior, is the level headed economic foundation upon which you rely. Your cool, calculated and realistic way of developing Bitshares has been the key. So I ask you and the rest of the community to be cool, calculated and realistic about this:
Intellectually elite white males, those who make up most of the current knowledge and usage demographic of blockchain technology, are not going to be able to mainstream it to their relatives in the foreseeable future. Visa/mastercard and Chase bank works for them. And there is no billion dollar war chest to win them over with promotion. And before you call up Roger Ver and his cohorts, please don't. All the “bitcoin millionaire” money is just a puddle compared to the oceans of cash the incumbents can borrow from their friends in the banking industry.
But there is another way to do it. A way for Bitshares in particular to gain a worldwide marketing/usage foothold without going up against the incumbents directly. There are three revolutions going on in the world that are ripe for Bitasset usage and growth:
1. the massive African adoption of digital currency, which many Bitcoin news outlets have reported on, like Mpesa that is spreading all over the continent:http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2012/07/04/the-invisible-bank-how-kenya-has-beaten-the-world-in-mobile-money/
2. The Caribbean Bitcoin movements:http://cointelegraph.com/news/112391/caribbean-island-becomes-bitcoin-nation-interview-with-sarah-blincoe-project-manager
3. The new African American economic initiatives:http://negusvu.com/2015/01/16/the-well-anticipated-black-film-7am-hits-the-theaters-this-mlk-weekend/http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/08/28/these-seven-charts-show-the-black-white-economic-gap-hasnt-budged-in-50-years/
African Americans and Africans worldwide do not have stocks, bonds or much of any type of investments. So the interest that banks used to hand over were precious beyond compare. I have spoken to my African friends and told them about Bitshares, especially Bitassets, and watched their eyes light up as they ask how to sign up. The handwriting on the wall, the elephant in the room, is that people of African descent are the most viable growth market for Bitshares. As a member of this group with contacts worldwide, I have a plan to get widespread Bitshares/Bitasset usage, knowledge and trust. How? By giving the people what they want and are not getting -quality entertainment.
The Bitshares African Initiative
Details coming tomorrow...http://www.amazon.com/Princess-Nefertari-Protectress-Nile-Saga/dp/1500325740https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ATEXXwSuzs