How to orange-pill: 5 tips for teaching bitcoin to friends and loved ones
It’s easy to adopt bitcoin as an individual, but sharing your knowledge with others — or orange-pilling as we say in the industry — can be hard. Bitcoin is often a tricky subject to discuss with friends and relatives in addition to being a completely different asset to own and manage.
Now that bitcoin is mainstream, most of us are exploring bitcoin for the first time. Here’s a primer for sharing your enthusiasm for bitcoin with those you care about.
Don’t expect instant results
When you first discover bitcoin, it’s natural to bring it up in conversation every chance you get. This is groundbreaking technology, after all. What could be more exciting?
Introducing others to the concept, however, takes time and some finesse. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and remember all the incremental questions you had earlier in your bitcoin journey. Each is a crucial building block to a firm understanding:
- Who created bitcoin?
- How many are there?
- What’s a blockchain?
- How is bitcoin mined?
- How do you secure your bitcoin?
And that’s just the beginning. Even those of us who use bitcoin everyday are still finding fascinating aspects to learn.
It takes time to get from zero to bitcoin, and there’s only so much information a person can retain from one sitting. Expect multiple discussions when teaching someone about bitcoin and be patient. Leave plenty of room for answering questions. Bitcoin puts individuals in control of their wealth. It's okay to take more than a few bitcoin blocks to fully grasp that power.
Introduce security early
Over the news, there’s been many stories of people who lost bitcoin through hacks, thefts, and accidents. It’s reasonable for people to feel nervous the first time they interact with bitcoin. They already know the threats. What they don’t know is how easy it actually is to protect bitcoin.
While these threats are real, they can be mitigated with a robust security model using multiple keys (multisig). You can put newcomers at ease by introducing them to proper security practices at the beginning of their bitcoin. There’s no reason to wait months or years into your bitcoin journey to finally secure your investment with the most effective method.
Look out for yourself, too
Money is a complicated subject, and it can also sometimes blind judgment. Unfortunately, there have been cases where thieves have stolen bitcoin from people they know and even relatives. These are known as insider attacks because the perpetrators leverage inside information to steal bitcoin. The methods vary from crime to crime, such as draining exchange accounts, sending bitcoin to addresses they control, or swiping hardware wallets.
Thankfully, the solution to this is simple. Talk about bitcoin all you want — just avoid sharing information about your bitcoin unless you want someone to have access to your funds. For instance, if you're a Casa user, don't show them your wallet. Instead, have them download Casa App and walk them through our resources. Not only does this privacy protect you. It also sets a good example for their bitcoin journey.
Show, don’t just tell
Bitcoin is a rather abstract concept to grasp at first, and it leans on many concepts in math and science, many of which aren’t common knowledge. For instance, you may not be familiar with public and private key encryption if you don’t have an existing interest in privacy and cybersecurity. And that’s okay.
The truth is you don’t have to be a full-fledged expert in bitcoin’s inner workings to find value in it, and people learn in different ways. There are several types of learning styles from visual to auditory and hands-on. For many people, experiencing bitcoin first-hand is more impactful than simply hearing a lecture.
When you’re introducing someone to bitcoin, it’s best to find a way for them to experience bitcoin. This can take many forms, such as having the other person set up a mobile wallet or giving them a small, nominal amount of bitcoin to get started. For instance, it’s common at bitcoin events for bitcoiners to introduce servers and event staff to bitcoin by tipping them with it. Giving people bitcoin and showing them how to transact with it reaches people in a way no textbook ever could.
Give them tools to succeed and follow up
It used to be a lot harder to teach someone about bitcoin. When bitcoin first got started, there weren't many books, video tutorials, courses, or even podcasts to lean on. Just like the network itself, bitcoin education has evolved to serve more users. Today, there are a plethora of resources to guide someone through bitcoin education. For years, our co-founder and CTO Jameson Lopp has cataloged a comprehensive guide of helpful links you can use to learn bitcoin. Check it out here.
As you introduce another person to bitcoin, keep tabs on how their journey goes. That way, you can help guide them if they’re taking unnecessary risks, such as leaving bitcoin on exchanges. Orange-pilling isn't a one-time event. There are lessons to learn at the beginner, intermediate, and expert level. And it's totally possible that someday, those you introduce to bitcoin can circle back to teach you something later.
In addition to software and monetary policy, the bitcoin network has a human layer to it. When you teach someone about bitcoin, they become nodes in the network. Maintain a healthy connection and enjoy the ride. Going to the moon is even more fun when you bring someone along.
Never worry about your bitcoin again
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