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Building a Bitcoin Economy: How to Stimulate Adoption

Op-ed - Building a Bitcoin Economy: How to Stimulate Adoption

Think you have what it takes to be a real Bitcoin evangelist? Want to learn how to start your mission into the world of fiat economics? Having preached the good word of Satoshi to laymen of all kinds, I’ve made my mark and learned a lot about promoting crypto adoption. Before you begin your journey, take a moment to read and learn about the science of Bitcoin evangelism.

Most cryptocurrency initiatives require one of two things: intellectual capital (to code the software and design the systems that make everything work) and financial capital (to pay for hardware, commercial space, legal fees, and intellectual capital if it is lacking). Adoption is probably the only field of the crypto industry that requires cultural or social capital, at least at the grassroots level. But what does that mean in practice?

The first step on your mission is to assess the connections you already have. In my case, that was a network of notable Vancouver Meet Up groups, and a job as a venue promoter. At first you won’t have existing merchants to refer to as references, so you’re going to need to find people who really trust you. Plenty of free solutions to accept exist, and once they realize the advantages of cryptocurrency, they’re likely to stick with it.

Those advantages, however, are not enough. The superiority of accepting payments via Bitcoin is meaningless if nobody is spending their bitcoins. Even if Bitcoiners prefer to spend fiat–maybe because the price is on an upswing–just bringing their business to the adopting merchant provides the necessary incentive, and there are a number of ways you can do that.

This is where experience as a Meet Up organizer will come in handy. If you’re not a member of your local cryptocurrency Meet Up, already, become one, or start your own group if none exists. Community pages at Facebook and Google Plus will also help. Since all of the businesses I signed up were event venues like coffee shops, restaurants and bars, I was able to bring them business directly by holding Meet Ups at their locations. Even for non-venue businesses, though, a community allows you to connect producers to consumers and get the word out.

Once you have a network in place, set about bringing more businesses on board, and that network should grow. In addition to the natural benefits of cryptocurrency, you now can now promise additional benefits in the form of direct customers–look for businesses likely to be open minded, like those already hosting Meet Ups or listed on websites like GroupOn or LivinSocial. Each new adopter you post to social media will bring more Bitcoiners into the fold, which in turn increases the amount of business (and incentive) you can provide.

Eventually, your following should grow to the point that you can bring more customers indirectly via publicity than you can directly. You should probably have a couple local reporter contacts, by now. New crypto Meet Ups and splinter groups will form, and inevitably the majority of events and merchant connections will be initiated by people other than yourself. This is natural in community building, and even moreso in a community based on techno-libertarian roots–don’t be discouraged.

Just go with it, take a step back, and use your newfound marketing power to promote those working together for the cause. If you maintain an honest, non-profit-focused campaign, you will become the face of this new community; forward media inquiries where appropriate, and engage positively with the mainstream media. Soon you’ll be ready to take Bitcoin adoption to the next level.

This how-to guide is part of a series written by director Andrew Wagner on behalf of the Bitcoin Co-op. We provide support in the form of free publicity, advice, connections, and more! Stay tuned for part 2: How to Close the Loop.