So I’ve been getting a lot of questions regarding what bitcoin actually is and what is it good for. That’s where I was less than a year ago and I remember myself getting lost in a lot of technical lofty rhetoric of distributed ledgers, cryptographic hashes and what not. That’s all good to know but knowledge that can’t be applied and transmitted with confidence is no use. During my last masterclass in Kuala Lumpur, I gave a theoretical “taxi driver analogy” to clear up such questions. Before long, I found myself right in it. Here’s how the tale goes:
I walk out of my hotel in Dubai and hail a taxi only to realise I’m out of Dirhams. We have this moment of silence with the driver when I tell him I’m out of cash and if he accepts card. Well we aren’t in urban East Asia so he says no - that second I remember I still have the US Dollars that I brought to buy Dirhams. I offer him that and his face just glares up with enjoyment, knowing he’ll make an extra buck or two with a rounded up exchange rate. I also had Malaysian Ringgit left over from my trip in KL - but why didn’t I offer that?
Because here goes the analogy: Those US Dollars are Bitcoin. In the crypto sphere everyone knows about it, everyone wants it. You can go to the wilderness of Timbuktu and people will accept it as a medium of exchange. Dirhams and Ringgit? Any other cryptocoin. They’re good in their own realm but universally useless.
Currencies have no intrinsic value. They’re languages. Malay gets you around in KL, not in Dubai. English would get you around in both. In the same vein, that’s what bitcoin is good for ~ the ready acceptance, abudance and common awareness of it.