Just before Thanksgiving I received an email from my older brother that contained only one link. It was to a story claiming that Bitcoin Ponzi scammer Trevon Shavers had been indicted. The implication: Bitcoin is a scam. Get out now! The ‘Bitcoin is a Ponzi scheme’ meme has long been debunked, but still persists.
It’s easy to find criticism of Bitcoin in the press. Most recently we’ve had ZDNet publish a largely erroneous piece by Ken Hess claiming that constitutionally, Bitcoin is not money. Hess includes in his piece as ‘proof’ a letter he received from Tom Coburn. When read correctly, the letter clearly says that although the senator sees reason to keep an eye on Bitcoin, it is not, in fact, illegal. Hess decides to misread the response to claim a win. (We will not link to the article here, but you can search for it on ZDNet’s site.)
Articles like this are common and, really, to be expected. People are suspicious of what’s new and they will sling mud at it until it either proves itself or it goes away. Our job in the Bitcoin press is not to hide from the criticisms, but to face them and prove them wrong.
One of the criticisms most frequently leveled against Bitcoin is that it’s hard to use. In order to make a purchase of a simple cup of coffee, you have to get out the iPad, fire up the QR reader, make sure the transfer is made and confirmed. Not all that difficult, really, but when compared with other payment methods, it’s just not simple or intuitive enough.
Things are getting better, though. Airbitz is rolling out a wallet that utilizes the NFC chip on phones. Based on the video posted below, tech like this will significantly lower the bar for people wanting to check out Bitcoin and see what its real value is. We think there’s still work to do on lowering the bar, but it’s important to compare where we are today to just one year ago when the QR code was the height of Bitcoin point-of-sale tech. As the tech is smoothed out, functionality is added, and Bitcoin usage becomes more and more intuitive, adoption will become a no-brainer.
This Thanksgiving weekend, we want to express our thanks to the many companies and individuals out there who are doing their best to make Bitcoin safer, easier, and more intuitive to use for everyone, for the benefit of everyone.