For all the buzz around cryptocurrency in the past decade or so, the industry is still far off the radar of most average internet users.
In fact, a 2019 survey from Alpari found that 60% of Americans don’t know what cryptocurrency is—and lots of people in the industry, whether they’re traders or entrepreneurs in blockchain-related industries, see this as an opportunity.
They’re creating a plethora of social media groups and YouTube channels dedicated to crypto education. And these resources are only growing.
One insider who’s been watching the crypto industry is entrepreneur Jonathan Jadali, who’s been trading in cryptocurrency since he was 18. Today, he owns a PR agency and remains steeped in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industries.
I chatted with Jonathan about how social media is changing the cryptocurrency landscape.
Shama Hyder: Cryptocurrency has been around for more than 10 years. Why do you think so few people are knowledgeable about it?
Jonathan Jadali: Cryptocurrency and the whole deal with blockchain technology is not exactly second-grade mathematics. The way it’s often presented doesn’t work for lots of people. When I started getting into it, I got all my education on YouTube—it’s not like cryptocurrency has made it onto any high school curricula yet.
Hyder: What role is social media playing in meeting this need for crypto-based education?
Jadali: There’s a ready market for crypto-related information and a growing list of people now are meeting that demand on social media. There is very little you cannot learn on YouTube and the countless crypto-focused Facebook groups. Brands and individuals alike are rushing to meet this glaring need, resulting in what I describe as Crypto’s Knowledge Rush. This has been a hugely positive development, as the amount of valuable, crypto-based content has expanded greatly.
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Hyder: Where are you seeing the best content come from?
Jadali: Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit have become very popular conveyors of crypto knowledge. Some of the best content has come from big players like the blockchain company Ripple—they’ve made a big deal of sharing educational content and webinars on cryptocurrencies to their nearly 1 million Twitter followers. They even launched a TV show, The Ripple Drop.
For businesses like them, this is a vital way to build brand loyalty and to market their services, considering that crypto trading is still new and the skepticism around it has not yet fully disappeared.
Hyder: What kind of developments do you see coming down the pike as far as crypto and social media?
Jadali: Cryptocurrencies have always been connected to social networks. The very first real-world transaction completed via bitcoin (BTC) was the purchase of two pizzas—and that was done through a social networking forum.
Today, crypto-based social networks have started sprouting and providing tremendous value to traders and enthusiasts. It’s not just that crypto has benefited from social media. The future looks like crypto-based social media platforms are going to become a mainstay. Honest, Mamby, Hive, and Bitfinex are just a few of the crypto-based social media networks that have been launched in the last two years. Most of these networks reward their users for their involvement in the networks.
Mamby, for instance, rewards its content creators who post high-quality content with BTC. This is their way of discouraging disinformation and low-quality information, two problems that we all know plague regular social media, especially in 2020.
Actually, in many quarters, blockchain technology is already being touted as a potential solution to the “fake news” phenomenon, by utilizing the “transparency” components of the technology to create a universally accessible “Fake News Registry” that would enable social media platforms and regular media platforms to assess their compliance to standards of truth.
Hyder: Do you think cryptocurrency has staying power?
Jadali: While some have interpreted the fall in BTC’s value from its 2016 highs as the beginning of the end, I disagree. I think crypto is going through the normalization process—it’s becoming mainstream and different industries are discovering how it’s relevant (or not) to them.
I think now is as good a time as any to find a way into the industry, either by working with crypto-allied businesses or taking advantage of the boom in crypto jobs.