Crypto and Coin

At least at first, the new thing is rarely as good as the old thing was

August 26, 2019

I just finished reading “Tribes: we need you to lead us” by Seth Godin and a bit called “Watching the Music Business die” in this book especially caught my attention:

The first rule the music business failed to understand is that, at least at first, the new thing is rarely as good as the old thing was. If you need the alternative to be better than the status quo from the very start, you’ll never begin.

It also hold true for Bitcoin versus other centralized payment systems.

Bitcoin is not as fast as a centralized payment system. It can be in some cases like wire transfers over multiple countries! But decentralization has a cost and if you want to be sure that your transaction is actually in the blockchain for good, you have to wait for multiple blocks to be added after the one containing your transaction. But projects like the Lightning Network might be a solution to this problem (the idea is to keep smaller transactions off the Bitcoin blockchain).

Bitcoin probably not as friendly and convenient at first than other centralized payments systems. I know some people will think otherwise but unless you exactly know what’s going on, most apps will talk to you using a words you are not familiar with. Will you understand what confirmations are unless you already know what a blockchain is and how the system works? Why do I have to write these words down on a sheet of paper? That’s pretty unusual to write 24 random words. That’s not what a traditional banking experience looks like. A very common question on the internet is “my transaction isn’t validated, where is my money? Is it lost?” which make no sense with Bitcoin. If your transaction isn’t on the blockchain, you didn’t transfer it and it’s didn’t leave your account. People are now more comfortable with the internet. It’s just a matter of time before general public is comfortable with Bitcoin and all its underlying concepts.

Automobiles were not good at first. During the [Red Flag Act](, here is the experience you had using one. It was:

[…] requiring a man carrying a red flag to walk in front of road vehicles hauling multiple wagons.

It’s easy to see why at first the new thing was not as good as the old thing. Everything went against cars. They were just worse than horses and the roads were not made for these vehicles. No one was betting a dime on automobiles. They could only shine with gas stations and proper roads! The same goes for Bitcoin when it will be integrated better with other infrastructures.

Bitcoin is not as good as other payment systems currently in place but it started with a different value proposition that was disturbing the status quo. It was started by “heretics” as Seth Godin calls them. People are starting to see the interest of having a decentralized, permissionless, distributed system in some places in the world. Maybe one day we will see the old thing take the new thing over?

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