“I don’t get it” is the first reaction from most people in any group at the pub when the subject of Bitcoin is raised.
A comical attempt from someone to explain blockchains and hashes and stores of values then follows, and rarely does it help to clear things up, for anyone present.
But if you want to get a newcomer onside, it’s probably more constructive to talk about why it was created, rather than how it works.
ABC Bullion chief economist Jordan Eliseo is your friend.
In a comprehensive 45-slide presentation this month, Eliseo pretty much covers all you need to know about the wildest currency ride in history. It’s all here when you’re ready for it.
But first, he gives three “primary motivations” as to why it was created.
The first, “a simple yet genuine desire to harness the technological power at our fingertips” to change payment systems. In much the same way Amazon changed retailing, or Uber changed transport. Because now, we can, basically.
The third, to answer the question “What is money” in a world where there is such a thing as negative interest rates.
But the second reason why Eliseo thinks Bitcoin exists is the most interesting, and the most pertinent – this:
It’s legendary among BTC enthusiasts, the kind of thing you might find hanging on the Winklevii’s office wall.
According to Reuters, the words “Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks” is embedded in the code of the first block of Bitcoin’s transaction history.
According to Eliseo, Bitoin’s creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, “was distinctly uncomfortable with the financial excesses that built up in the global economy and our banking system pre-GFC, and was looking to offer an alternative explanation”.
If you’re looking for a hook to begin your bar-room BTC discussion, you could do worse than starting with that sentiment.
Yeah, right. Bloody banks, eh?
And really, that’s all you need to know. Apart from how to actually buy the stuff.