While diving into Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can be daunting, one Calgarian is determined on making it more understandable for the public.
YouTuber Ben Perrin says he first got involved with Bitcoin after initially believing he missed the boat on the high returns in 2013 when the value hit $100. After seeing it reach $1,000 a few months later, he decided it was time to begin educating himself further.
“There was starting to be decent information on Bitcoin out there, but I found none of it was easily consumable and user friendly,” says Perrin. “It came across very ‘tech-geek,’ so much so that it would turn people off.”
Perrin began his YouTube channel, BTC Sessions, in June 2016, aiming to create a resource that offered easily consumable content about Bitcoin and related technology for a less-than-savvy audience. He says his previous job — teaching breakdancing to children — allowed him to understand the importance of “breaking down” complex ideas for easy clarification.
“I constantly have to watch how I explain something, because if I’m person-to-person, I at least see someone’s eyes glaze over when they don’t understand,” says Perrin.
“When I’m making a video, I just throw it out there and then afterwards the questions come in and I think ‘Ah, I missed my opportunity to be able to explain that in this single piece of information.’”
At almost 19,000 subscribers, Perrin’s YouTube channel recently reached a milestone — passing one million total views across 96 videos. Perrin says this may have to do with the rising price of Bitcoin, which recently topped $10,000.
“Bitcoin is doing for currency what Internet did for information,” says Perrin. “It’s now a form of speech, because really Bitcoin is just a giant ledger of who-owns-what. Is somebody going to be allowed to tell you ‘Well you’re not allowed to keep track of who owns what’?”
Bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency, was introduced to the public in 2009 as an alternative to traditional money. Its creation is credited to Satoshi Nakamoto, an unknown person (or persons) who has never appeared publicly and remains anonymous.
According to Perrin, one of the biggest appeals of the technology is the implementation of choice in currency for consumers.
“It was always ... that your currency was just a mistake of where you were born,” says Perrin. “Now you actually wake up and can say ‘Well I would like to have these qualities in a currency I would like to use.’”
Perrin says it’s important for people to have a fundamental understanding of Bitcoin as it becomes more integrated into the mainstream.
“With any new technology, it’s worth learning so that you’re not left behind, because pretty soon everybody is going to be using this stuff,” says Perrin. “If you had ignored the Internet when it came out and didn’t touch it for a number of years, [for] those people it took a lot of playing catch-up to understand how the Internet works. And if you still haven’t touched the Internet, then you’re essentially cut off from society.”
This includes learning about blockchain technology, the process that gives Bitcoin its transparent and nearly incorruptible status. While many corporations are attempting to implement blockchain into their own businesses, Perrin says it is not always necessary.
“You’re not going to immediately solve world hunger just because you have a blockchain. You see a lot of starry-eyed dreamers that just insert the word ‘blockchain’ and instantly everything’s fixed and we live in a utopia,” says Perrin. “That’s not the case. I think what people should be asking themselves is: ‘What problems am I actually solving by using this?’”
However, Perrin says people shouldn’t be scared of having to learn about Bitcoin and blockchain technology and that it’s simply a way for people to “independently transact with one another and say who owns what.”
“If you want to be on the up-and-up and understand things, even if you’re not buying cryptocurrency and Bitcoin and things like that, it’s still worth understanding,” says Perrin. “There’s nothing worse than sticking your head in the sand and pleading ignorance just because you haven’t taken the time.”
While countries around the world are looking into regulation on how to deal with the new currency, Perrin says the Government of Canada is taking a “hands-off” approach until 2019, and that banks who may feel threatened by the decentralized currency may soon have to accept Bitcoin due to increased customer interest.
“It’s just math. You can’t outlaw math,” says Perrin.
Watch one of Ben Perrin’s BTC Session videos below
This article is part of a pairing of articles about Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. You can read about Bitcoin and how it could soon change the scene for some students in Calgary by clicking here.
- By Alec Warkentin and Nathan Kunz