As I said, my name is Tai Zen. I was a former prisoner of the failed US war on drugs. And since I got released, I’ve always been blogging about the tools, the techniques, the strategies and the technology that’s available to help people find freedom in their lives.
And when I encountered a Bitcoin, it was one of the most revolutionary technologies that I’ve ever run into. I missed the dotcom boom. And this is so amazing to me that I’ve pretty much devoted my life and my spare time to promoting Bitcoin to the public. I come from a sales and marketing background. I do not come from a technical background, so I will try to keep this presentation as non-technical as possible.
We’re gonna talk about how to eliminate the two biggest hurdles to mainstream adoption of Bitcoins and altcoins. And by the way, you guys see my name tag. I also represent the NXT community. And so I’ll be using them as an example and I’ll be using the other altcoins as examples of how to get the mainstream public to adopt your coin.
The purpose of this presentation is to gain mainstream adoption of Bitcoin and alternative cryptocurrencies. We have lots of technical people, but there are not enough sales and marketing people in the Bitcoin community. Would you guys agree on that?
I mean, like you talked to everybody here and they know how to write code, probably except for me. So what I would like to do is I like to contribute to the Bitcoin community by offering my sales and marketing background so that we can get widespread adoption so they can benefit everyone so that everyone is doing what they’re good at.
Today’s objective is to identify the two biggest hurdles. Since I only have 20 minutes, we’re just going to go over the two biggest hurdles that prevent Bitcoin or any cryptocurrency from being adopted by the general public.
We’re going to learn some simple sales and marketing techniques to get people to understand and adopt Bitcoin and the altcoins. And we’re going to gain mainstream adoption of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
So I’m going to fly through these very quickly. If you have any questions to just keep it in at the end of the 20 minutes, I’ll have 20 minutes to answer your questions.
Here are my marketing beliefs, that mainstream adoption of Bitcoin will happen at the grassroots volunteer level like what we’re doing here. Do not waste time seeking government permission and government approval. You’re going to get grey hair before that happens.
Avoid advice from someone with no Bitcoins. That’s very important that when you talk to someone and you get someone to help you promote Bitcoins, make sure they buy, sell, trade, or own Bitcoins. That’s very important. What are these two nasty hurdles? These nasty two hurdles are, one is confusion, and number two is user-friendliness.
Now a lot of you guys in the audience may be technical, so when I talk about these things, it may just go right over your head because you might think, “What’s so confusing about Bitcoin?” “What’s so un-user-friendly?” You download the blockchain, you wait a few days, when it’s done, you use it, right?
So that’s what I’m going to cover and I want you guys, the technical people in the audience to look at. I am one of your users. I am the classic user that is not technically inclined. So look at me as your prime candidate as you guys create these altcoins, Bitcoin software and services. Look at me as the common user right here.
So where are we going to get the answers to these challenges? There’s an old saying somewhere that says that “A smart man learns from his own mistakes and a wise man learns from other people’s mistakes.” So what we’re gonna do here is we’re going to learn the mistakes of Bitcoin. We’re going to learn the mistakes that NXT made, from Dogecoin, Ethereum, Mt. Gox and we’re going to learn from the mistakes that today I added that the Texas Bitcoin Conference made.
The first nasty hurdle is confusion. And just remember, guys, nothing kills adoption faster than confusion because a confused mind cannot make a decision, when somebody is confused as to what Bitcoin is or what NXT or Dogecoin is, or any of that, what happens is the easiest thing to do is just let it go and not deal with it.
So the other thing too is that people are lazy to think for themselves. So if you come out with an altcoin or you come out with a service or a client or anything where people have to do a lot of thinking to adopt it, you’re going to be at the losing end. You’re not going to get wide stream adoption.
You want to make it as easy as possible so that it’s a no brainer for people. People like to follow. They don’t like to lead. If you look around, even when you come into the conference, everybody’s looking around to see where everybody’s going so they can follow along. That’s natural.
When you go to a restaurant to eat with your friends, you look at each other, ask, “What are you going to eat?” “What do you want to go to eat?” “What movie do you want to see?” It’s natural for people to want to follow.
So whenever you come out with something that’s new for Bitcoin or for an altcoin, make sure you make it so simple for people to follow.
And I put an example here about the rooms, you know, on the website, they have room A, C, C, or D for the Texas Bitcoin Conference. And then when you get here, the rooms are labelled 201, 202. What was wrong with just using the room number? So sometimes the easiest thing to do is the easiest thing to do, right?
So, common confusions about Bitcoins. Let’s clear that up, this is the most common question that you run into when you’re trying to promote Bitcoin to the public or any cryptocurrency.
What is Bitcoin? You can tell them that it’s a public ledger and it’s got this cryptographic Hash, you can use all these words that no one can pronounce but I found that the easiest way to explain to people is that Bitcoin is a money transfer payment network. It’s like a highway.
And the rules and the regulations that govern that highway is also called a Bitcoin. And the vehicles that travel through that highway or that network is also called a Bitcoin.
And it’s very simple and if it goes any further than that, just tell the person or your audience or your customer it’s not necessary. When you drive a car, you don’t need to know how the transmission works. All you need to know, I just put it in drive and drive.
Now the other thing too is that it’s important that you relate Bitcoins to something that people are familiar with. So one of the things that we do in sales and marketing is that when we come out with something that is a new product or service that people don’t understand, what we want to do is relate that to something that they already understand already. So I used the highway example because everywhere you go, there are highways and there are roads.
Here’s some more confusion about a Bitcoin. What is Bitcoin mining? Now you hear this a lot, lots of things about Bitcoin, about making money with mining and everything, and just tell them, mining just means that it’s the process.
You’re processing Bitcoin transactions and the people who volunteer their computers to process those transactions are called miners and they get paid for it, right? And the first person to process all the Bitcoin transactions correctly every 10 minutes gets rewarded 25 Bitcoins.
Now when people hear that, they want to jump into mining, you’ve got to remind the public that you’re using the services at Bank of America, your use services at Chase Bank, you don’t run out there and try to process the transactions, volunteer to to process Bank of America’s transactions when you’re using it.
So you don’t do that for Bitcoin. But the people who specialize in that do that. And if you guys, any of you guys are interested in Bitcoin mining, my colleague is speaking at 4:00 in one of these rooms and he’s going to talk about Bitcoin mining. So if you want more information about that, you can check with him.
The nasty hurdle number two is user-friendliness. Now, this is a common thing that I run into on a lot of the forums. The technical people think it’s easy, whereas a non-technical people, myself think it’s a struggle.
Like it took me several days to get the Bitcoin client working, when I installed the NXT client when they came out with that a coin, it took me several weeks.
Now, do you think that the average mainstream public person is going to spend several weeks to learn how to install software and you know what it was that caused it to take a few weeks?
There was one instruction in the list of instructions that was not necessary for there. So I had to get on all the forms and everything. But now one of the things that the people in the NXT community have done is that they’ve listened to the customers and they’ve come out with 7 different clients as a one-click install. So it’s a lot easier now.
Now, as I said, nothing kills adoption faster than confusion. And a confused mind cannot make a decision. People are lazy to think for themselves. Show people how to follow. Make it as smooth and frictionless as you can.
Matter of fact, if you come out of new service and you just want to test it, run it by me, if I can’t get it through one try, the chances are you probably got to go back to the whiteboard on it. Because, you know, if you can get a dummy like me to do it, to use your product and service, then the chances are the regular public will be able to use it too
The acquisition time needs to be as short as possible. I found out about Bitcoin from my colleague back in December of 2012 and I got my first Bitcoin in October. No, in August of last year. So I mean I still got a good price and I make good money on it, but the time that it took for me to know what it is to the time I actually got a Bitcoin needs to be compressed and it needs to be shorter.
It needs to be fast. Just like that car that just went past us. I timed that too, by the way. It needs to be fast. It’s like that car just got it from the time they hear what a Bitcoin is and take possession of it.
If you have to just take out your Coinbase wallet or app or your blockchain wallet app and send somebody a millibit.
And that’s another thing too, start off with millibit, don’t even go into talking about Bitcoins because that just confuses people. It’s important that you understand the path of a new crypto user, whether it’s Bitcoin, altcoins, such as a Dogecoin, or NXT or any of that.
It happens in five steps. Usually, they will have to learn and understand what Bitcoin is. Download, install the wallet or the account. Acquire some Bitcoins or altcoins. Test the new Bitcoins. And wash, rinse and repeat.
Let’s take a look at some of these popular coins and their mistakes. When we learn and understand about Bitcoins, you don’t want to make it confusing for the public, one is like Mt. Gox like magic the what?
Like the first time, I heard Mt. Gox, what it was? I spent like, I try to repeat it like two dozen times to remember what it stood for. What was wrong with just getting Mark Karpelèsthat chump, you know, from getting a name that just said BitcoinExchange.com.
That was something that was suggested by the Mad Bitcoins guy. Bitcoin exchange.com, wouldn’t that be a lot easier so when people log on or they hear about it, they know what it is? Make things simple for people to understand.
When the NXT first came out, it was the first second-generation altcoin that had its own source code.
It didn’t just copycat Bitcoin. And to make it unique and different, they decided to call it NXT instead of Nextcoin. But the website that you go to is called Nextcoin. So you see the confusion guys, do not do that whenever you deal with it.
And also it’s spelt N X T, it’s not spelt N E X T. So that was one of the mistakes, that unfortunately, the inventor of Nextcoin is not an American. He’s somewhere in Europe, Russia somewhere. So his English isn’t, I don’t think that was one of the probably the main challenges, was that his English got in the way.
What I recommend is before you come out with a new… if you guys are developing a new altcoin, just do keyword research on Google- it’s free, that way you can see the different terms and words that people use.
The other one does an example I like to use as Ethereum. How many of you guys were able to spell Ethereum the first time you heard it? One person out of a room of 50 people.
So the first time I heard it about it and my friend told me about it, I was trying to google it online, search for it, but I couldn’t spell it. And then after I figure out how to spell it, I tried to explain to other friends who were interested in investing in altcoins and they couldn’t spell it either.
So look at how many customers you lost along the way. Not everybody is going to be persistent, so keep that in mind. Why choose a name people can’t even spell? Don’t be cute and fancy with your names when you come up with a new altcoin if you guys sitting in the audience planning on coming out with a new altcoin.
Step number two is download, verify, install the account. Bitcoin-QT has no instructions or videos. Like when you go online, it’s not very clear. They should have a standard format video on their website so that people know when they get there, how to download it, how to select them…
When you go to Bitcoin.org, they have like half a dozen or so clients and wallets and you don’t know which one… Like if you’re a beginner, how do you know? So if you guys are developers in here, just put step by step.
Step one, if you’re a dummy, select this wallet. If you’re a technically advanced or developers, select this one. You want a no brainer, just download QT and be aware it’s going to take about a day to download everything.
Let people know ahead of time because I was sitting there downloading and I was wondering like, is this thing done? Why is my CPU at 100%? Is this a virus? Is this a scam? You see, you don’t want those things going through the customers’ minds.
When NXT came out, it had instructions with pictures and videos, several videos. So we did that because we learned the lesson from Bitcoin and so when we released NXT and when we say we, I’m not the developer of NXT, I just helped volunteer to do the marketing for them.
And then now Ethereum just came out and there are people that want to invest in Ethereum and they have a test net. If you only want technical people and developers only then it’s great to use those terms.
But if you want mainstream adoption, you want the mainstream public to pour money into it, make it so that they understand because the more that people don’t understand, the more afraid they become.
Step number three is acquired some coins. There are three ways to acquire coins, and this is a common question that you get when you talk about Bitcoin or any cryptocurrency, is where do I buy the coins from? or how do I get it? That it’s the three ways – buy coins at an exchange; offer a product or service or mine it.
Or with the case of NXT, you forge it because of forging does not produce new coins. It just processes transactions only. So these are the ways that you would tell them, but the fastest way is just sending you a friend or a new person. It’s worth it guys. You send them one millibit, it doesn’t cost anything, right?
But now they understand, they can clearly see because people are visual, they just saw value transfer from your phone to their phone and now they can go and relay to other people. If each person just does that with three people. Can you imagine how fast Bitcoin will spread? If we just each, everybody in this room just left here from the conference and helped one more person adopt it, it’d be phenomenal.
For Bitcoin, you can get it from Coinbase or Bitstamp. For NXT you can get from Cryptsy, DGEX or BTER. Now you see how DGEX and BTER… Is that something you guys can remember? Is that easy to remember? Do you guys agree?
If you guys walked out of here and you wanted to get some Nextcoins, wouldn’t it be easier to remember Nextcoinexchange.com or .org versus DG what or BT what? Cryptsy? That’s just confusing. All right.
Since I’m from the NXT community, here’s an easy way, and I’m doing this as a test so I can share it at the NXT conference. If you go to PrisonOrFreedom.com 2014 Texas Bitcoin Conference. There’s a video there explaining to you how to download the NXT client.
And if you leave a comment here with your NXT account number, I’ll send you a 4 or 6 Nextcoins to activate your account and get you started. I want to do a test to see how easy it is to implement so that I can share it with other people.
The other thing too is to test new coins. Send the Bitcoins back and forth, when you guys receive the Nextcoins for me, send it back. I’ll send it back. Whichever way so you can see how it works.
My first Coinbase experience, I put it in I think a, I bought like 10 Bitcoins, a few thousand bucks and I tried to transfer those Bitcoins to my personal account, my personal wallet and I waited, I waited, I tried to log in a log in like two or three dozen times.
It never went in. It sent me text messages, I put it in it, nothing worked. And it was frustrating. I thought they had ripped me off.
And then several days later I tried it again and once again it didn’t work. So it took like the third time before I was able to access the account and transfer my Bitcoins to me. And so you don’t want that user experience, especially after someone just spent several thousand dollars with you as a customer.
How could they have eliminated that instead of just fixing the problem? If you are creating something new for Bitcoin or any coin, just put a note right there “Hey, when you transferred, when you log in there, you know, we have issues, it might take you several attempts.”
Have a video, explain what happens. I mean, how hard is that? So, the NXT community, it makes it easier to adopt. When I got into it, they had lots of people that as soon as I run into problems, they would get online, help out, send me some test coins, some actual next coins, I can test it, make sure that my client was working, that’s why I’m returning the favour now.
Step number five is a wash, rinse, and repeat. Just do those four steps again, it was very easy. And the good news is that it can only get better. It’s not going to get worse. Every day, every altcoin, Bitcoin, everything is getting easier and easier.
Avoid it like the plague. Avoid technical terms, terms such as Cryptographic Hash, Merkle Tree, any terms that… if you’re a developer and you know that that’s part of your field, don’t use it with other people. Just use regular terms. All right?
The other thing too like when you’re making the clients and you’re trying to exchange, you know, they use the bid or the ask all that, you know, nobody knows what that means. Just use wanted or for sale. It’s easy. Everybody knows what a wanted sign means. Everybody knows what a for sale sign is.
Most people don’t understand money. That’s one of the problems you’re going to run into when you try to explain Bitcoins to people is that they don’t even understand money. How fiat money comes about, how it works and nothing.
So you run into that challenge of wanting to educate them about how fiat money works so that they can understand the benefits of Bitcoin, don’t waste time to do that. They’re 30, 40 years old already and they don’t know what it is, you spending five minutes is not going to get them to understand it.
The easiest way is just to hold the phone, shoot it to them and translate back and forth and show there. It’s easy. You see that you have a friend in Cuba or Iran right now where you can’t send them money because it’s not a US ally that you could send it to them. No one can stop it. Nothing.
So no conspiracy theories, anti-government, cute and fancy stuff. All this stuff just scares people. When you talk about all this is antigovernment, you know the government has no control over this, you know, then you just scaring people because you don’t know most of the public, they enjoy living in America, they enjoy having freedom.
So talking bad about their government, that’s not a good thing. Like I said cute and fancy none of that. Focus on the benefits of the consumer. Not to another technical person. So I think my time is up. So many questions on how to market Bitcoin or your products or services in the cryptocurrency world? I’ll take questions.
Person 1: Let’s give a warm round of applause for his presentation.
Tai Zen: Alright, thank you. Alright, any questions? He’s going to walk around with the mic and get him.
Chris: Hey, I’m Chris and talking about learning and understanding Bitcoin, take my mother, for example, she’ll go to the store, buy the milk, use the check. She doesn’t know how to bank clears, she doesn’t care. Disclosure, I don’t own a Bitcoin, the different generations between my mother using currency she doesn’t understand and me adopting this, which I don’t think I’d be incapable of installing a wallet and that sort of thing, but what would make me use that the way she goes to the store and buys milk?
Tai Zen: Okay. So your question is how to get your mom to be able to use something like Bitcoin?
Chris: More about the generational differences. She’s transacting, doesn’t know how it works. I would be using Bitcoin or altcoin or whatever, I don’t necessarily need to know how it works because I already…
Tai Zen: For people like that, you don’t have to explain to them, just show it to them. That’s the easiest way. The easiest way to get anybody that’s not technically savvy is to just show it to them. Just whip out the phone. “Look, you see this, you just scan this, boom. It’s done.” And make it fun for them.
Chris: Right? Why would they do that?
Tai Zen: Huh?
Chris: Why would they do that?
Tai Zen: Because she trusts you because she trusts you because you’re telling her this is better. She doesn’t need to know. She trusts you and when she trusts you, she will follow along what you were saying.
If you tell mom that, “Hey mom, this is better, look at this, this has more value. We’re going to use this from now on because it increases in value. We’re not going to lose the value of it every year that goes by, you know, it’s a lot.” She doesn’t, she doesn’t have to know if she trusts you or her, you just got to get her to trust you. That’s the main thing. Right. Any other questions, guys?
Person 1: Come on, come on up to the mic
Person 2: Just wanted to follow up. One thing I’ve had success with this kind of just looking at their everyday routine and kind of the things that they do and are involved in and then look at how Bitcoin can make that more efficient, kind of look at her routine and I’ve had a lot of success just okay, this person, like how could they benefit from this? How can this improve the way they do things?
Tai Zen: What’s the question?
Person 2: Right? Yeah. So that was just kind of piggybacking on that and then talking about him, just have you explored any other wallets? For example, like Electrum where you don’t have to do things like downloading the entire blockchain and…
Tai Zen: No, I had, I, from a non-technical perspective, the question was “Have I tried Electrum or other Bitcoin wallets?”. The confusion that I run into from a nontechnical perspective is that I don’t know which ones to use.
The reason why I chose Bitcoin-QT was that that was the original one. Supposedly Satoshi created it and that’s what the development team has created. So I figured I’ll go with this one. So there are no instructions on there that say, or at least it’s not clear as to why I should use the other one.
So when you mentioned about Electrum, I have not tried it. I’m not trying Armory because I don’t know what they’re for and I don’t want to risk losing thousands of dollars of Bitcoins, but I know is secure inside Bitcoin-QT to risk using another client that was not developed by the original creator.
So I’m just, I’m just giving you a user’s perspective whether it’s right or wrong, that’s what you got to fit. Sometimes you as a developer, I know that you guys are always… I heard Gavin Andresen on youtube say that every day, he’s looking to make the code more efficient.
And it’s true and I’m glad that he’s doing that, but sometimes you have to balance the efficiency of the code with the user experience on this side if you’re a good coder and you’re able to make very efficient code, but it’s a pain in the butt for the user to adopt it and use it, that efficient code is not useful.
That if you could make the code where it’s secure, it does the job, but it may take a few more lines of code, but the user experience is frictionless and there’s no friction in the way, that I believe is much more useful. So does that help answer your question about why I’m using Electrum or tried it?
Person 2: Right, it does.
Tai Zen: Okay.