How to teach your grandparents about cryptocurrency, the revolutionary digital currency and investment instrument that’s poised to completely change the way we think about money? The answer isn’t quite as simple as you might think. Here are four tips to help you understand how to teach your grandparents about cryptocurrency in an understandable, easy-to-grasp way that won’t be too technical or confusing.
How to Teach Your Grandparents About Cryptocurrency
What is cryptocurrency?
If you don’t already know, cryptocurrencies are digital or virtual currencies that can be used as a medium of exchange. You might know them as bitcoin or ether, but there are hundreds of other types in existence. The first and most popular cryptocurrency is bitcoin—it’s traded on exchanges, mined by computers, and bought and sold by investors worldwide.
But unlike traditional currency, it isn’t issued by any central authority; instead, its transactions are recorded in a blockchain ledger maintained by computers around the world. We’ll discuss blockchains more later. For now, just know that all cryptocurrencies have value because they allow for fast, secure, and verified transactions online—without banks or government interference.
As popular as cryptocurrencies are becoming, it can be hard for people to understand how they work. Even experienced computer geeks can get tripped up by how cryptocurrencies differ from regular money. So if you want to start talking about bitcoin with your grandparents or investing in cryptocurrency, here are some simple guidelines for explaining what it is and why it’s exciting.
First of all, you need to explain that cryptocurrencies use blockchains—decentralized ledgers maintained by a network of computers rather than a central authority—to record transactions. This decentralization means that anyone can become part of the system and participate in verifying transactions without needing permission from an authority like a bank or government.
You’ll also need to get them up to speed on how cryptocurrencies work. For example, you can explain that bitcoins are mined or created by computers solving complex problems. Once a problem is solved, a new block is added to a blockchain and new bitcoins are created.
This means that anyone can become part of the mining process and help verify transactions using their computer (though it requires specialized hardware and software). You can also explain that some cryptocurrencies, like ether, are used for more than just mining. Developers use it for smart contracts—agreements written in code that execute automatically when certain conditions are met—to build apps on top of blockchains instead of traditional servers.
How do you get started with cryptocurrency?
Whether you’re just dipping your toes into cryptocurrency or you’re a crypto veteran, one of your first questions is probably, Where do I start? That’s a hard question to answer because it depends on how much you know about cryptocurrency.
If you know nothing about it, then read through some introductory material and try out some easy apps. But if you already know how public and private keys work, then maybe checking out alternative currencies would be more interesting. If all else fails, remember that no one person can answer all of your questions—it’s a lot easier to learn when other people help teach.
When you’re ready, try Coinbase for getting your first bitcoins. (It’s a US-based site and it works best with US bank accounts, but it will work with any country.) There are other options out there as well, like Bitit or CEX. You can also trade one of your existing cryptocurrencies for another kind of cryptocurrency on an exchange like Poloniex. If you have a bunch of questions about which crypto is best or whether you should even get into crypto in the first place, then check out r/CryptoCurrency.
Be aware that you don’t have to buy one whole bitcoin or one whole cryptocurrency—you can start small. Buying $10 worth of bitcoin (or a tenth of a bitcoin) will give you enough of an idea as to whether it’s right for you, and is much easier than having to purchase several thousand dollars’ worths at once.
And once you find out whether crypto is right for you, remember that there are lots of other cryptocurrencies out there, so it’s okay if it isn’t. You should also know that while most exchanges only offer to buy and sell, Coinbase allows users with bank accounts in supported countries to buy or sell bitcoins directly from their bank account. This might be more convenient for some people.
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Why would I use cryptocurrency?
The technology is relatively new and many people haven’t heard of it. If you know that your grandparents use checkbooks, prepaid credit cards, or savings accounts, it makes sense to skip cryptocurrency entirely and help them with a more traditional financial product. However,
if they’re tech-savvy enough to have an iPhone 7 or access an iPad (which would make them well above average in terms of technology use), then they might actually have heard of cryptocurrency before and could benefit from learning about it how it works. You just never know unless you ask! And if you don’t ask, your grandchildren will be wondering why you didn’t when your family gathers for Thanksgiving dinner next month.
There are three main things that most people have in common when it comes to cryptocurrency: curiosity, uncertainty, and skepticism. While these emotions can certainly make someone hesitate before choosing whether or not to invest in a given cryptocurrency, they’re also very easy for you as a family member or friend to overcome by taking a friendly approach.
For example, if you know that your grandparents are curious about buying their first Bitcoin but just aren’t sure where to start, explain how there’s really no reason they couldn’t become new investors. They might even be able to purchase one of their first coins with cash they already have on hand!
You might also tell them that cryptocurrency—particularly Bitcoin—isn’t new.
It was first released in 2009, and although it’s only about a decade old, it has already shown a tremendous amount of growth potential. Some people even call cryptocurrency digital gold because of its usefulness as an investment and global currency. By offering up some information like these two facts, you can easily show your grandparents how they can make good use of Bitcoin while also learning something new along the way!
What are the common concerns around cryptocurrencies?
While cryptocurrency is a very new phenomenon, there are still common concerns around it that you’ll need to address. Many people simply don’t understand how it works, while others will have worries about volatility and security (and they may be right!).
As a result, when it comes time for you to start talking about your cryptocurrency business, you’ll want to know how best to address those concerns. Luckily for you, people have done most of the hard work already! You can learn more about what makes people nervous here.
Once you know what worries people about cryptocurrency, it’s time to start building their confidence in your product. You should have a clear reason for why your specific offering is valuable or useful, and include that in any discussions you have. Be clear about how your product addresses those concerns, and be prepared with lots of details!
If someone has questions, provide answers that make sense—don’t just parrot what you read on Wikipedia. You can never expect people to believe your cryptocurrency business will benefit them if they don’t believe in you first. Show them why they should put their trust in you!
Don’t forget: even when people seem sure of themselves, it’s always worthwhile asking how they came to those conclusions and what information they were using.
In cryptocurrency, it takes a village. So if you know someone who could benefit from a little digital money nudge, have them read one of these helpful posts before you hand over your phone. You’ll be able to educate in a friendly and informed way. Then when they inevitably ask you what’s going on with Ethereum, refer them back here! And remember: if anyone starts asking questions about bitcoin mining, close your ears and run away as fast as possible.
Although, it may be fun (in theory) for your technologically savvy friends and family members to educate you about cryptocurrencies, let’s be honest: cryptocurrency is complex. Unlike your grandfather’s dabbles in penny stocks, cryptocurrencies are a whole new beast of technology that even experts still don’t fully understand. With dozens of coins on offer and an ever-changing environment surrounding regulation, value, and usage, it can be hard to stay up-to-date.
Moreover, decentralized crypto doesn’t answer to anyone governing body or leader; rather many startups all over the world are working together in a continuous effort to improve their own products while simultaneously improving on other platforms. It really is a village we live in!