Cryptocurrency is the hot way to make a quick buck these days. From Bitcoin, the most famous iteration, to the parodied but surprisingly successful Dogecoin, it seems like everyone is trying to claim a slice of the pie before it inevitably dries out.
People on Facebook have been excited about what seems like a “get rich quick” scheme. Unfortunately, few people seem to know how it actually works.
And really, how does cryptocurrency work? Even the word itself elicits a sense of secrecy: it’s cryptic: not meant for ordinary people like us to understand.
We decided to go on Facebook and ask incredibly random people about cryptocurrency. First, the easiest question: “What is cryptocurrency?”
Paula Blake of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, was the first to respond. “It’s, like, digital money,” she wrote. “But not? In the pictures on news articles, I always see these pretty pictures of coins. I’ve heard it’s a good area to invest in.”
Our second question, “What does it mean to mine cryptocurrency?” left people in a similar state of confusion.
According to Kyle Rawlings of New Orleans, “You basically crack open your computer to the part with the green stuff – the motherboard – and pull all the expensive pieces of metal out. That’s why computers cost so much; it’s those little pieces of metal. Then you meld them together and put fancy designs on them. Right?”
Terry Herrington, a lawyer from New Hampshire, was a bit less confused. “Mining for cryptocurrency means, like… solving equations. It’s all math, right? Cryptocurrency? I’ve heard you need a brain like Einstein to solve it.”
Not exactly, but that’s okay.
“I call this cryptocompensation,” said Mindy Breton, an online psychologist who mines cryptocurrency from her home. “It’s when you try to talk about cryptocurrency without really understanding it. And let’s face it: like, 98 percent of people don’t understand it.”
She believes that if cryptocompensation is the only social media anxiety disorder you have, you’re pretty lucky. “It’s minor. If you don’t understand how cryptocurrency works, you can’t mine. So it’s not really hurting anyone.”
According to Breton, symptoms include speaking vaguely, using terms like “double spend” and “block chain” incorrectly, and talking about doomed-to-fail schemes of creating your own form of currency.
Ken Bittner, a Very Important New York Stock Broker, doesn’t expect it to last long. “It’s like the California Gold Rush. Overhyped. Fake. It won’t last long.” When asked to explain what it actually is, he couldn’t.
We reached out to Anthony Yeats, a psychologist who recently published an article in Computers and Brains Weekly entitled: “Mining and Whining: Cryptocurrency and the Human Psyche.” He told us that people’s misunderstanding of cryptocurrency is likely to go on for as long as it exists. “And, honestly, I don’t see it existing for all that long. There’s a bubble, like with anything else.”
He did offer some advice about how to talk about cryptocurrency on social media and actually sound like you know what you’re talking about. “Stay away from anything too specific. Remember that mining isn’t a physical act. Your computer is mining – solving the equations – not you. But it’s probably just best to stay away from it. Let rich people gain and lose millions. They won’t even notice.”
This post was created with the help of Grammarly.