In the past three months alone, the price of Bitcoin has gone from $6,500 to $19,700 then back down to $6,200 and currently is nearing $10,700 at the time of this article’s publishing. Bitcoin’s wild ride is nothing new and has been a part of it since it’s inception in 2009. Now in a world of thousands of cryptocurrencies, a flood of new actors in the space, and an imperfect media covering it all, it’s hard for the average person to find the time to comprehend it all. In a new world of novelty and complexity, how does one simplify blockchain and cryptocurrency and decode it something that could be easily understood? In order to do this, one has to get to know crypto’s central springs of information and this happens more often than not on social media.
Before we even get to covering the media’s covering crypto, the first thing that you need to understand is that crypto time moves faster than normal time. Drastic changes can happen at any time and most people easily get hypnotized by the drastic gains and losses of the market. You only have to look at the most recent crash where scams like Bitconnect got permanently rekted and Bitcoin lost 70% of its value. Time will tell how fast a full recovery will happen, but it goes to show how extreme these corrections are. One reason for crypto’s volatility is that the markets are open 24 hours, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. Compared to traditional markets which close in the evening and for the holidays, crypto markets are open an average of 5.3 times longer which allows more time for the market to make its cycles. This means that what would take months in normal time only takes weeks in the crypto world. In addition, the lack of defined rules and regulations at the moment by governmental authorities make crypto a wild west and more susceptible to the unpredictable. What will happen in the short-term is anyone’s guess. If one thing is for sure, it is that a vibrant discussion will be taken place for the topic on social media.
Outside the OG Bitcoin Talk forum and much in-depth discussion that takes place on Reddit, there is one platform that has become the de facto platform for crypto conversation, Twitter. More aptly specified as “Crypto Twitter“, this an intriguing corner of the internet is filled with anonymous whales, shameless shills, egotistical “thought leaders”, and lurkers watching it all. Discussions take place in real time, and it is not an anomaly to witness crypto’s foremost experts (who may be thousands of miles apart) fighting instantaneously with each other on topics such as the feasibility of scaling or the proper structure for blockchain governance. Tweets wash down the feeds of users, but also evaporate quickly if they do not get enough engagement. Memes are abundant and not taking things too seriously is the norm (at least when markets are up). But just as crypto moves quickly, the conversation and news about it moves just as fast and is not always accurate. A report of South Korea banning crypto trading here (later the opposite happened) and an article about Amazon adopting Bitcoin there, you eventually learn to NEVER trust everything you see.
There are other social media platforms that have lively crypto communities but are dwarfed compared to Twitter’s impact on the space. For example, Crypto Facebook does not have the same personalities and moves at a much slower pace. Also, you notice a lot more shilling by just regular people who do not have the same presence as Crypto Twitter personalities. Then there is Crypto Youtube where numerous self-described “experts” upload videos ranting about their favorite tokens, rumors, and everything in between. There are a lot of hidden older lectures that are educational gems and provide valuable information like Antonopolous’ Introduction to Bitcoin and Vitalik’s Introduction to Cryptoeconomics, but it takes a little bit more time and effort to find the gems that teach you the history of crypto and how it all works.
Traditional media outlets have so far proven themselves to be generally unreliable and at worst grossly misleading sources of information. With CNBC running headlines like How to buy ripple, one of the hottest bitcoin competitors (when it was over $2) and Forbes posting Is Bitcoin Heading To Zero?, these articles do nothing to educate the reader about the nature of cryptocurrency but rather fuel ignorant speculation. The worst part about these pieces is that they push the notion that crypto is a gambling get-rich-quick scheme rather than a transformational technology that in a few years we will really see the full effect of. Although there are plenty of articles that explain what Bitcoin is, the mainstream media lags behind greatly compared to non-traditional outlets such as CoinDesk, The Merkle, and CoinTelegraph which have been covering the space for years.
So when it comes to Crypto Media, you don’t need to be an expert but it helps to be generally familiar with how it all works. There are plenty of resources and videos out there that can guide yourself in familiarizing yourself with it. One video in particular, Ever wonder how Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) actually work?, personally helped me a lot, but there are others that I have yet discovered.