Without a solid PR campaign designed to effectively communicate the benefits of a particularly breakthrough, any new innovation in the modern world risks becoming dead in the water. Cryptocurrency, the tech world’s old darling turned major headache, is a perfect example of this.
The Bitcoin market, which has surged from one thousand to twenty thousand down to… up to… where is it now… I give up. And so has the rest of the world. While it has successfully captured global attention in the past with its promise of investment potential and scope to revolutionize the international financial system, there remain two major hurdles on most people’s lips: does it actually work, and will I lose money?
The public relations component of this new era, like any new technology, is unavoidable. Indeed, very few breakthroughs ever actually… break through. This is because the business of public relations is really the business of persuasion, and if the masses remain unconvinced of the safety, investment potential and ease of use of cryptocurrency technology, then this new blockchain world will be over before it really even started.
The first challenge is understanding; most people still don’t have their crypto-glossary down pat. Here are some pertinent definitions:
Blockchains: permanent records of transactions recorded on chains of individual computers (“blocks”). By creating a permanent digital record over an entire chain, blockchains are able to facilitate instant verification and authentication of any information. This could include contracts, account information, currency transactions and stock ownership record. Really, the possibilities are endless.
Cryptocurrency: any digital medium of exchange, typically traded via blockchain. Any cryptocurrency only has value to the degree people are willing to accept it in exchange for something else of value; at the moment, this is predominantly dollars. As such, there must be a sufficient supply for any cryptocurrency to act as a medium of exchange, but enough of a limitation of supply to prevent a total collapse in value.
Bitcoin: the first cryptocurrency, introducing and relying on blockchain technology.
Truly, all revolutions seem obvious with the benefit of hindsight. In reality, the process is not so smooth: the stages of adoption must pass through panic, denial, and confusion before it can reach mass adoption. Indeed, according to Arthur C. Clarke’s Third Law: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic until about two weeks of using the technology, upon which time it becomes mundane.”
As such, the promise of blockchain and cryptocurrency offers very tangible benefits: bypassing big banks and predatory credit card companies, avoiding unnecessary fees, regulations and regulators, and a return to non-traceable transactions. Still, with many financial institutions and economists insisting that Bitcoin will remain a fad or scam, the technology faces an uphill battle with public opinion that can only be tackled with a deliberate public relations strategy.