Do You Know the Difference Between Blockchain and Crypto?
As the Blockchain Industry and Investment Community becomes increasingly diverse, it’s important to understand the context around some of the words that everyone learns, but doesn’t always understand. Yesterday, we published a story that the word “crash” should leave our vocabulary because it is a word that really only serves the “Bitcoin is a scam” crowd. When something “crashes” every quarter, it never really crashes.
This line of thinking lead to the next set of often misunderstood words, “Blockchain” and “Crypto.” At its core, Blockchain is a Technology. Crypto is a Philosophy.
Blockchain is a technology that creates a digital system of record keeping. Transactions are recorded and grouped in a series of files, known as blocks, that are linked together to create a data series, know as a chain. This system creates an digital record keeping ledger, with every transaction that occurred previously, and available to be seen by everyone on a given network.
This technology is transformative and potentially disruptive, which is appealing to many, but it is not the first transformative technology, nor is it the only one being built right now (Artificial Intelligence, Augmented/Virtual Reality, etc). Those other technologies have fans, but not in the way Crypto does.
One thing adding to the confusion is the way the word “cryptocurrency” has been used so frequently in as Blockchain technology (to describe the coins and tokens on the market). I personally prefer to refer to them as “Digital Currencies,” so that messages are not mixed.
Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin Whitepaper was released about a month after the fall of Investment Bank Lehman Brothers, which triggered the 2008 financial crisis. Many of the early adopters of Bitcoin believed that the traditional financial markets did not operate with their best interests in mind and the idea of Bitcoin, currency with no central authority, was a way to take control of their financial freedom. This philosophy continued into the future when Vitalik Buterin wrote “Build unstoppable applications” on the Ethereum website.
The events of 2017, leading into 2018, have stirred up many of the same emotions as did the events of 2008. Between lack of faith in the US Government, “Fake News,” and Russian Hacking on social media, Loss of control of personal data, and more, many are turning to Crypto as a way to take back some power. In success, the decentralization that digital currencies and decentralized applications (DApps) bring to the world can potentially redistribute power from governments and banks to the people using them.
People in Crypto are often some of the most experienced in the space having started learning and using these Digital Currencies for 5-10 years. They now educate those just getting interested on platforms like Twitter and Reddit, or at local meetups and events.
Attitudes and Treatment of Others
One thing I have noticed is that those who are into Crypto have some disdain for the newly interested who don’t necessarily share the same philosophy, but are interested in Blockchain technology.
The best example to illustrate this is with Ripple (if you aren’t up to speed, you should start by reading our article, “Ripple (XRP) Does Not Do What You Think It Does.”
In short, Ripple (the Company) has created Blockchain technology and are testing it to, among other things, disrupt the SWIFT system in banking. They have also created a digital currency, XRP, which helps banks with liquidity.
Those that align with Crypto, are often against Ripple and XRP because it is designed to help banks and show disdain for those who are interested in investing in XRP, simply on principle.
I think one of the reasons that there is so much misinformation around XRP is because those in Crypto don’t have an interest in educating new users on this topic (because again, Ripple (XRP) Does Not Do What You Think It Does.
The general openness and transparency of Crypto has been important in getting new users involved, but in order to onboard the next wave that will really take this industry mainstream, we need to make sure that we answer everyone’s questions in the way that will help them the most.