Nathan, what is this bitcoin thing you are now doing? Is it not MMM? Are you sure you know what you are doing? All questions my folks plagued me with when that was the easiest way I knew how to describe what I was doing to them. Finally, my dad said, remember the son of whom you are, whatever you do don’t come back in handcuffs— I would try dad.
At the end of the day, I realized that this feeling, the pushback didn’t just come from my parents or those around me but it is a general feeling. It hit the nail in my head when Medium sent out a message stating they would be censoring cryptocurrency related content on the platform. Facebook and Google have since taken this stance with their Ads, as of today both have partially shifted their position on the subject.
Actually, this is not the first time an invention or innovation that promises to be so groundbreaking is ostracised, vilified or ridiculed (in simpler terms shat on). It turns out, not really. I found a bunch of these going through an amazing podcast accurately titled Pessimist Archives.
1. The Umbrella
Something as innocent as the umbrella you would think, however in 1700s Britain, if you carried an Umbrella you were laughed at. The first man to use an umbrella was testing it out under the rain, he was walking down the street under the rain, were people fascinated and maybe want to get some cover? No. He was laughed at, jeered at, pelted with rubbish. Of all innovations to get upset about this seems the craziest. Being upset about something that keeps you dry during the rain, is like people in Iceland being upset about fire???
2. The Horseless carriage
This one was a big brouhaha. To think of the fact that just before the car came around, it was predicted that the horseshit on the streets of Newyork would soon be filled with horseshit up to 3 stories high. There was an environmental and health epidemic looming. The car came to solve all of that accidentally but what happened when it was driven down the road, appreciation? applause? No! people shouted GET A HORSE!!!! it was called the devil’s carriage, bystanders threw stones at it so much so that cars drivers had to arm themselves with weapons to fend off an attack from people angry you were driving a car! ludicrous right? Is it your car? The craziest was the regulations, ever heard of the red flag act? It was such that 3 people had to operate a car, the driver, the engine assistant and someone walking ahead of the car with a red flag – to tell people that they devilish thing was coming through. So the car could only drive as fast as the person walking before it. To be fair this was for steam locomotives but we think of it today and how ridiculous it must have been. In its form at the time, the car was just seen as a toy for the rich, not something functional you drive to work in but for relaxation. In other words, it wasn’t perfect yet. Well, we know the story 100 years later.
3. The bicycle
Something as innocent as the bicycle. When people first rode bicycles in the 1800s they were referred to as lunatics, idiots, and persons of unsound mind, it was said that the number of lunatics in the year it was released was at an all-time high. It was considered the source of many ills in society. Doctors wrote against it and hat sellers were vehemently against it (you would wonder what their business it). People called it the dandy wheels. In its earliest form, the bicycles weren’t as good as we know them today. They didn’t have pedals or brakes, it wasn’t until 50 years later a French manufacturer put pedals on the bicycle but it has become a part of our lives today, the early men of 1800s would look at us in disgust — I guess.
4. The internet
This one is an easy one, in the early days, people said it was just criminals that used the internet. Beyond that, they asked where the content was. There was no content on the internet, no one would want to be on the internet. Some said it was too decentralized, it was too open, no one would ever do e-commerce on the internet, no one would ever put their payment information on the internet. Well, I don’t need to say anything to that one. In its earliest form, the internet was ugly, buggy and imperfect but today after 4.2 Billion users and counting, we can’t imagine a world without it.
I see a world where sending value and money around the world is as easy as sending a text message. We are doing our best to build that future, leveraging the power of cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrency is not the first new kid on the playground to get bullied and ridiculed, it won’t be the last. It is a phase and the greats went through that same phase, We believe it would pass. Sometime in the future, someone would be writing a similar piece and cryptocurrency would make that list, maybe when they figure out how to make man disapparate like in the Harry Potter movies! That would be so cool, I want to be there!