Part of the soon to be normal

7 Min Read
1388 words

The ice hockey world championship game was on tonight and since Finland was playing (against Canada), my wife and I decided to watch, even though we haven't watched any of the other games since the competition started. Unfortunately, Canada won in OT, relegating Finland into the silver position. Silver is better than bronze but sucks more in these kinds of events because, you win bronze, but lose gold and get left with silver.

What was of note during the game, was that had signage on the boards and while there was essentially no one in the stands due to Corona restrictions, I assume that it put the word "crypto" in front of many eyes that might have heard it, but would consider it a fringe concept. This kind of advertising is likely good for as it is a pretty darn good domain name, but it is also good for the industry as a whole, as it is a generic term that encompasses much of the industry, without telling anything specific.

We went to my in-law's place for coffee this afternoon and payed around there for a while with Smallsteps. My FIL mentioned the upcoming game and asked about what was popular in Australia when I was a kid, so I showed him some highlights of Australian football, cricket, netball and field hockey, the last is what I grew up playing.

He asked if I still follow the sport and I don't for two reasons. The first is that when I arrived in Finland close to 20 years ago, the internet wasn't the same as it is now. Connections were slow and availability of live sports almost non-existent. However, the main reason I didn't follow the sport is that, there was no one to share it with.

One of the main attractions of sport in my opinion is as entertainment that can be shared with friends and familiars. It is like going out to dinner and sharing a meal together and then reminiscing about the evening and laughing over the conversations had. Without the social aspect of dining out, it is just a meal that provides sustenance so we don't die. Sport is like that, where people can talk about parts of the game and share experiences, including arguing over the best team and players. It is a social experience.

I know quite a lot of people who have been in crypto a while and for many, even though they have been highly interested in the industry, they haven't been able to find anyone to share with, as no one else is interested in the same sport as they are. This means that while they can talk at length about the rules, the teams, the players and the games - no one cares.

this has been the case for me for the last few years too, as pretty much everyone I have talked to thinks that the sport I am into is weird, dangerous and has no reason to exist. However, this is changing and over the last year where a couple people at work have started investing into Bitcoin and even diversified to the point where one or two of them are "DeFi curious" and experimenting, the conversation has picked up.

One of my colleagues has an Australian brother-in-law living here and last year he watched his first game of Australia football together (the grand final match) and while he didn't understand all the intricacies of the rules, was able to really get into the game over a couple beers, despite it being seven in the morning. Since then, he has watched a couple more games and picked up some of the highlights from the internet. While not a fan, he is also, not not a fan. If he was to move to Australia, he would likely be able to get into the game very quickly and use it to help build a social presence and relationships.

This is kind of where crypto is heading now, where people are being introduced to the game for the first time and as they start to see "the sings" popping up all over the place, they also start learning more about the game and feel more comfortable talking about it. Rather than tuning out or being critical when they hear the word "bitcoin" or "crypto", their ears prick up and they start paying a little more attention. This starts to spread social conversation, but also increases the visibility of crypto as people start to say things like "I have a bit of crypto" as a qualifier to be included into the conversation.

It is a process of social proofing that leads to normalization, so that rather than be social outcasts like many of us, the new crypto holders are actually seen as the cool kids on the block, the early adopters. Funny isn't it? People who have been denying crypto for 13 years as being legitimate and ridiculing those who argue otherwise are now, early adopters.

This makes sense of course, as while someone like me hasn't "built" anything technical for the industry, I have been building a small, but vital, circle of crypto friends with which I can share the game with, even though we might all be supporting different team and care about different aspects of the sport. When price goes up or down, when China introduces their latest ban, or Musk Tweets and causes a ripple - we can have a conversation about it, as spectators who are at the game.

But of course, unlike sports, we are more than spectators that watch from the sidelines, we are also part-team owners and depending on the paths we take, participants, players on the field. As I have said, Hive is the best game on the internet, but it is only a slice of the industry as a whole and the entire field of play keeps expanding and growing in complexity, increasing inclusion. The normalization of crypto is through a process of social spread, regardless of what each individual doe within the industry itself.

While there is a "bit to go" before true mainstreaming happens, what is going to drive the fractaling growth of crypto is people building the peer groups where the on the ground conversation happens, encouraging more people to grab a "bit of crypto" to get a little skin in the game and feel a part of the group. Every new member who opts in, will increase the chances of convincing another to become part of the conversation.

I think that while "code is law", many people seem to forget the power of social networks and these existed for millennia before digital social networks leveraged it to collect and sell big data for profit. For me, what this means is that we are getting to a tipping point where not talking about crypto is going to be frowned upon as those who don't know something about it, are going to be seen as dinosaurs who are not only not keeping up with technology, but also ignoring the societal considerations about the economy and human well-being that the conversation inevitably touches upon.

This is the process of normalization that all industries go through as they emerge from rudimentary ideas and traverse the gap into daily usage and ubiquitous integration into so many aspects of our lives - like the internet itself, which only less than 30 years ago, was seen as some kind of novelty product, but nothing serious.

And here we are today, socializing and building the most valuable companies the earth has ever seen on that very same novelty item that many people just "didn't get" not so long ago, who are now working and doing their banking online. Because of this recent learning, the spread of crypto is going to be pushed out much, much faster.

It might just be advertising signage, an article here or there, or overhearing a random conversation among peers and choosing to ask a question, but people are going to opt in and once they have skin in the game, everything changes, as they start to open the gateway a little wider for the next to arrive. And they for the next two.

[ Gen1: Hive ]

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