Bitcoin’s biggest challenge is education, with many people relying on inaccurate information in the media. Instead of justifying Bitcoin’s values with never-ending arguments, we should focus on better Bitcoin education.
Continue reading to learn how to contribute to a better understanding of Bitcoin and reduce Bitcoin FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt).
Why Is There So Much Anti-Bitcoin FUD in Mainstream Media?
The answer to this question is more complex than it might seem. At first glance, one could make the case that most of the mainstream media is uneducated regarding Bitcoin’s core principles.
Whether it be topics like Proof of Work or the mining industry, mainstream media doesn’t seem to grasp how these and other Bitcoin concepts actually work. For instance, they often ignore that the consensus model is not there to harm the planet or steal electricity from people in need.
When reporting, they miscommunicate that proof of Work is here to secure the Bitcoin network and act as a control system. One in which double spending is impossible since miners have to invest time and money into their operation, and those who do well get rewarded. In such a case, electricity is not wasted but converted into a store of value. That would be the mined bitcoin. It is backed by Proof of Work and the electricity itself. But this example isn’t even the most compelling argument against the constant FUD.
The Bitcoin Mining Council published a study in June 2022 about Bitcoin’s energy footprint. In it, you’ll find out how 60% of the entire mining industry is using genuinely renewable energy sources already and that it’s trending upwards. By 2024, Bitcoin mining could be a net positive for the environment.
However, you don’t read about this in the mainstream media. Instead, they compare Bitcoin’s energy usage to that of small countries and how bad this is. Instead of seeing the net benefit, they focus on consumption only.
At the same time, they choose to ignore the problems Bitcoin solves in high inflationary environments and the comparison to other industries like gold or the banking sector. According to the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index (CBECI), Bitcoin is a small player compared to major industries with CO2 emissions.
This table shows that Bitcoin’s CO2 emission is not even comparable with the major industries we use on a daily basis, for instance, emissions from data centers. We don’t read about the danger of that industry for the planet or how their emissions are increasing because we all use services based in these centers.
The mainstream media coverage is heavily biased and strides in clickbait articles because this drives their business model. The more clicks and website visits they can generate, the more ads they can sell and, therefore, the more profit they make. This is information they withhold from their readers. Instead, they fuel the debate by pointing their fingers at emerging technology and calling it evil without context.
Further, they lack comparison, debate, and understanding of emerging technology. If they were to make an effort and allow both sides of the argument to make their points, show how much innovation is happening in Bitcoin, and clear the air with mining, people would realize the industry’s potential.
Modern journalism often aims not to inform the reader with facts but to build a narrative. This works with topics like traditional finance, doom and gloom, or entertainment. With Bitcoin, this is not possible because it’s binary. Either you put the time and effort in and get rewarded for it, or you don’t and miss the boat.
How to Fight the FUD: Educate the Masses
This article aims to give you a framework for educating friends and family and have arguments against misinformation. At the top of that framework is having a catalog of sources, materials, and examples to hand out. So depending on your interests, make sure to have scientific papers, studies, videos, podcasts, and articles.
These are great for discussions online, as they’re easily sharable and function as a curriculum for interested people. You can also choose to develop a structure as a company and build a short course for people who want to get started. This way, they don’t have to waste time and energy on finding great resources or get sucked into the misinformed obis of articles out there.
Depending on what you want to teach, you might expand specific ideas. Here is a list with some ideas and topics you could include:
- The history of money and fractional reserve banking
- The difference between custodial and non-custodial services
- Why we need Proof of Work and how it secures the network
- The differences between Proof of Work and Proof of Stake
- How energy grids work or what miners do with the energy
- The school of Austrian Economics and its principles
- Bitcoin for Human Rights and how it improves lives
Once your topics are figured out, you face the actual educating part. There are a few things you need to think about in your process.
First, don’t rush things and give people the time they need. Just because you might have figured it out quickly doesn’t mean others will too. This is primarily because Bitcoin is a different animal and changes many things. Whether that be the relationship to money, economics, or energy. People learn at their own pace. Give them space and be there to answer all the questions.
Secondly, don’t be too negative in your reviews. It doesn’t help to ridicule other projects or call everything a scam. Granted, a significant portion of them are, but in the beginning, many people will be insecure and compare Bitcoin to other cryptocurrencies. Show them why it’s different. We shouldn’t judge people for trying to make a quick buck. Instead, we must teach them why slow and steady wins the race.
Thirdly, use Bitcoin, and don’t just talk about using it. So many people talk about potentially buying Bitcoin at whatever price and lose sight of Satoshi’s vision. Bitcoin is intended to be a peer-to-peer payment network. So go out and spend it. Show beginners the difference between on- and off-chains. You don’t have to spend everything you own; send them some Sats. Install a wallet and show them the difference between all the different providers or solutions.
We’re still early when it comes to Bitcoin adoption, and the more willing people we find to educate themselves and pass on the torch, the quicker we get to mass adoption.
How to Strike the Fine Line Between Bitcoin Propaganda & Education
Bitcoin is not immune to propaganda, which is one of the weaknesses the Bitcoin community has to be aware of. Obviously, some of the Bitcoin content out there has good intentions, but there is a fine line between educating people and spreading propaganda.
It’s one thing to spread the idea behind Bitcoin and educate people about misinformation by the mainstream media. However, many seem to cross the line and see Bitcoin as the solution for everything. Although it solves many economic misfortunes, hardcore Bitcoiners sometimes seem to lose their grasp of reality.
A lot of that is a mix of wishful thinking and opinionated individuals. The fact of the matter is Bitcoin doesn’t solve everything by just tweeting about it. Too many Bitcoin news are repurposed ideas and often scratch the surface without any clear directions as to what has to be done for mass adoption.
This is the small but subtle difference between Bitcoin education and Bitcoin propaganda. One group aims to solve the problem with facts and actionable steps, while the other likes to talk about solving these problems. There is a place and time for propaganda-like content. Mostly, when we want to question a narrative, but once that’s done, we must take action and educate the masses with facts and figures, not wishful thinking.