Bitcoin offers consumers a choice, and it scares them

The idea of creating a ‘sharing economy’ sounds great on paper, but it has proven to be quite a hassle when translating it to the real world.

While many people are dissatisfied with the current financial infrastructure, hardly any of them feels like taking matters into their own hands. In fact, there are several protocols, platforms and companies offering a choice to the everyday consumer, but all of them seem to have an adverse effect.

People are not used to being in charge of their finances anymore, so Bitcoi­n ins­tills fear in their hearts.

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Human nature doesn’t like change or options

One of the most often heard saying is “I did what I had to do because there was no other choice.” While it’s true that life has a habit of throwing people curveballs, there is always a choice to be made. Most people simply turn a blind eye towards the idea of choice, as they rely on gut instinct. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but unwillingness to see alternatives is not a good idea either.

800px-Standard_Bank_Headquarters_at_Johannesburg1Take the current financial ecosystem, for example, which has seen numerous major bank crashes in the past few decades. For some reason, the same people complaining about the banks and other financial institutions, keep relying on these same institutions for their daily finances. In fact, most people trust banks and other institutions with all of their money at any given time, because they allegedly have “no other choice”.

Human nature prevents people from jumping on the bandwagon of change, even when a major opportunity presents itself. The same principle can be applied to seeing and exploring alternative options, as most people simply don’t feel the need to think outside the box. Part of this can be blamed on how our society evolved, from a group of free spirits and thinkers to sheeple and consumerism.

The term “sheeple” may sound overly negative, especially when describing another human being, but it is aptly chosen. In this day and age, most everyday consumers are part of a “flock”, where they look at how others live their life and try to mimic it. If a neighbor gets a new car, they have to get a bigger car. If someone in the family gets a baby, they want a baby as well.

One could go as far as saying that the everyday consumer has forgotten how to build a life, as they all seem to be living somebody else’s life. In fact, there is a valid question as to whether most everyday consumers know how to live their own life, rather than having central authorities and overarching entities make all the decisions for them.

Humans are not created to follow the endless cycle of getting a job, go to work, pay their bills, and die. We are put on this planet to make the most of ourselves, and to embrace freedom and choice at every opportunity. Or, to be more specific, humans are destined to create their own choices and forge their own paths, even when there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

The sharing economy and Bitcoin

A few years ago, an interesting trend started to appear, called the ‘sharing economy’. Reverting to how things were back in the old days, the sharing economy is all about connecting people who can do things with others who need to get things done. No centralized services or parties, no intermediaries: just person-to-person tasks, transactions, and communication.

The idea of decentralizing our society, and the financial sector as well, got a major boost when Satoshi Nakamoto launched Bitcoin in 2008. All of a sudden, there was a new form of technology, which allowed global payments in a matter of mere seconds, at a fraction of the normal fees. Furthermore, Bitcoin is not tied to local governments, companies or banks, making it a currency “for the people, by the people”.

Needless to say, both Bitcoin and the “sharing economy” are greeted with a lot of mistrust, and even disdain, especially by everyday consumers. While there are clear flaws for everyone to see as far as technology and finance goes, people are still averse to embracing opportunities when they present themselves. Some people have taken the gamble and are now reaping the benefits while others remain vigilant in their quest to stick with the current – and failing – ecosystem.

A prime example of the sharing economy is Uber, a decentralized car-sharing platform to be used by anyone in the world. Uber allows any person with a driver’s license to earn money on the side by transporting people from point A to point B. Despite the incredible potential offered by Uber, the platform is facing a lot of resistance from cab drivers and governments all over the world.

People just don’t see the option being offered to them, without restrictions or expectations. They only see a threat to their life, rather than looking at Uber as a validation of how and why our current infrastructure and economy is failing miserably. As a result, they protest and cry in outrage against the same platforms they have been hoping to see developed as an answer to their prayers for change.

Bitcoin is facing the same level of adversity and scrutiny, as this technology offers so much potential, which seems to overwhelm the everyday consumer. People are not used to being in charge of their finances anymore, and this golden opportunity instills fear in their hearts. After all, it’s much easier to reject change and choices than embracing them. Nobody wants to make the first move in this delicate game of chess between “old and new”. But sooner or later, that move has to be made, and you’d better be playing your cards right when that moment comes knocking.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock

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