Bitcoin isn’t simply an innovation in currency. It’s an innovation in communication. Bitcoin is becoming the universal language of money. And as with email, SMS, and video chat, new technologies that enhance our ability to communicate one-to-one typically start off slowly, build up a user base—and ultimately go global.
The Evolution of our Communication
People have always had a fundamental need to communicate with others one-to-one. You could argue that cave drawings from more than 30,000 years ago were an early expression of this need.
The telephone, as we know it, came about in the mid 1800s, eventually changing forever how we communicate. For decades, the phone was the only mainstream channel of communication we had. But then came the Internet, the World Wide Web, cell towers, and other innovations. Everything changed.
Email, which had been around in various forms for years, suddenly exploded with popularity. So did mobile phones and text messaging. Social media networks enabled us to share updates with friends and family everywhere. Skype went from being a little-know video chat service to a verb. Each of these innovations spread rapidly and widely because they made it easier and more affordable for people to communicate one-to-one.
Money is a Form of Communication
Money is also a form of communication. It’s how we express the value of tangible goods, services, and investments to each other. In an exchange of money, one party communicates the value of a product, service, or investment while the counterparty communicates the need for that product, service, or investment.
In our global economy, everyone has to learn how to “speak money”, at least on some level. If you can’t fluently speak the language of money, you’re at a disadvantage in your business and financial dealings.
The trouble is, money as a highly localized form of communication, tied to local currencies, cultures, and values. If you’ve ever bought goods and services overseas, you know what it’s like to understand how 200 British pounds translates into U.S. dollars, or vice versa.
A Way to Express Value, One-to-One
With so many complexities, layers, and intermediaries, wouldn’t it be better if our money communications could be one-to-one, or, in tech terms, peer-to-peer? History shows that we want to communicate simply and directly. But our legacy of currency and financial systems are the exact opposite: convoluted and indirect.
That’s where bitcoin comes in. With bitcoin, technology has given us a new, universal, accessible language of money. Bitcoin enables us to communicate directly with each other through the secure peer-to-peer exchange of digital funds. There’s no localization to decipher. No intermediaries to deal with. Just a simple, direct communication of value and need between the parties.
Like the telephone, email, text messaging, Facebook status updates, tweets, and video chats, bitcoin is poised to become a new way of communicating around the globe. And like those technologies, it won’t happen overnight. Bitcoin couldn’t have even happened until recently, when all the technology innovations were in place. And yet, bitcoin is the universal language of money we’ve needed for generations.