So you want to learn Crypto

A short series for noobs who want to get started in the quickly evolving technology.

image of a coin with bitcoin logo stamped on it, on top of a circuit board
Pictured: Bitcoin, the grandaddy of them all

Part 1: What is it?

If you’re reading this, chances are someone you know and love has been talking your ear off about crypto by now. And because the space is so new there’s a good chance even after a decent google search, you still have absolutely no idea what the hell crypto is, or why the opinions about it fall somewhere between it’s a scam, or it’s life-changing, or it’s a life changing scam.

And what’s worse is any attempts to ask the geeks, nerds, and techie folks who have been leading the charge in the space for a while now, are often met with blank stares, passionate yet incoherent rambles, or a sardonic cackle.

Not to worry my fellow noob. I had the fortune late last year of having the spectacular Ava Lock introduce me to the ever-changing world that is cryptocurrency. She straight up blew my mind with everything I needed to know to not only navigate the space, but finally understand what the techies were saying (seriously go follow her, she knows her stuff). And it’s only right to pay that kindness forward by sharing what I’ve learned with you.

This is going to be the first entry in a series designed to ensure you never walk away from a crypto search crying ever again. And hopefully, you’ll score on the right project before it gets too expensive for us non-rich people to get in.

So just what the hell is it?

The short answer: the next logical progression of the Internet.

The slightly longer answer is that it is not just some coin you can buy on an exchange and hold as an asset like gold or silver. Crypto is the technology that will power the next level of the Internet’s development, much in the same way that app’s opened up how we interact with the Internet today. But before we dive into a more detailed — and frankly more coherent — explanation, which will be coming in part 2 and 3 of this series, I want to back up and give you a clear look into why everyone and their mama is so excited about this thing. And why it has the potential to create a lot of wealth and — an equal amount of loss — in the process.

And to do that I’ll need the help of my friend: the red berry.

Hang in there little one.

The Red Berry Cycle

The red berry is a stand-in for anything new that enters into the public arena. It’ll help me explain how new things are introduced to the public and the long arduous process new things undergo to move from novelty to staple in society.

Stage 1: Discovery

The first stage anything new undergoes is the discovery period. Here some brave soul stumbles upon our friend the red berry, and it piques their curiosity. At this point no one has ever seen or heard of a red berry, so it’s likely that anyone watching the brave explorer is either a) laughing at them for being so stupid as to try a red berry when they could very well die from it, or b) watching to see if they live from their little experiment so the reluctant can try it for themselves.

Why is it like this?

Because years of evolution have taught humans that new could be bad, but also good. The only way to know for sure is for someone to be brave or dumb enough to disprove that theory.

Stage 2: Experimentation

Once such a brave soul has used the berry, and no harm has come to them, the red berry moves to the next stage which is experimentation. In this stage people begin testing the limits of the red berry. Can you make berry pies? Do red berries make good mediums of exchange? Can red berries be shoved up your butt? You know, standard human experimental questions. Here new discoveries are made about the red berries and the red berry begins to spread beyond the initial brave soul who risked it all and the ones who watched them do it.

Stage 3: Proliferation

Once people are comfortable enough with the red berry and its multitude of use cases, then we get into the proliferation stage. Now everybody and they mama are talking about red berries. Buying them. Selling them. Marketing them. It’s a berry bonanza!

And with the increased demand for red berries, everybody wants a cut.

Enter the scammers.

a girl’s gotta eat right?

Scammers start selling fake berries, berries that aren’t all the way red, rubber balls that have been painted to look like berries. OR my personal favorite, they sell the rights to berries they don’t even have.

The bolder scammers will straight up go to berry warehouses and start stealing berries. Of course with all the counterfeit berries and scam-berry opportunities on the market, those who don’t understand the berry will get hurt in the free-for-all once the berry bubble pops.

Stage 4: Regulation

Now eventually someone gets hurt so bad from the berry problem that the people begin to demand that the government does something about regulating the berry industry. So the government reviews the cases and begins to pass laws that limit exactly who can get into the berry industry.

Stage 5: Monopolies

As a result of the new berry regulations, most of the berry market either dies out or gets absorbed into the companies who have been doing the red berry thing since stage two, as those companies are usually going to be in the best financial position to adhere to the new laws on berries. And this is how the berry monopolies start.

Stage 6: Back to Discovery

By the time the berry monopolies roll around, red berries are so ingrained in the culture that they almost seem old hat now. And it is at that moment something wondrous happens: a brave soul discovers a blueberry and starts the whole thing all over again.

From analogy to real life

This setup is something we’ve seen time and again in industries like real estate and food, but nowhere is it more prevalent than in tech. Remember the dotcom bubble? Or when everybody was creating social media websites? Or my favorite, when everyone was creating apps? The same thing is happening in crypto right now.

God I miss this guy

If I had to venture a guess, I’d say we are at stage 2, with all the activity currently going on in the marketplace, especially among the altcoins and NFTs. Many people have made a crap ton of money, but an equal number of them have lost money all the same. I personally lost a quick 200 on an Metaverse scam coin because I let the fear of missing out on the next hottest thing override the need to do my own research on who and what I was buying into.

Conclusion

So before you look into that crypto your hairstylist/ barber has been talking to you about, remember what we covered so far:

  1. Crypto is more than just some random scam all of your neighbors are buying into, it is the technology that is powering the next stage in the Internet’s development. And any projects you look into should reflect that goal.
  2. New technology goes through several stages prior to moving from novelty to societal staple.
  3. Because crypto is so new we are currently at the stage where it is extremely risky, so proceed with caution prior to doing anything.

Tune in next week when we dive into the evolution of the Web, and why and how Crypto is giving that growth the green light.

Until next time loves!

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