I must have come across Bitcoin around 2013 but it was not anything more than a slight brush, without any deep connection or desire to carry out further research. Furthermore , my monthly pocket money at the time was about $60 so I couldn’t even afford to buy Bitcoin if I wanted to. After that, I never really paid attention to the crypto space until mid-2016 .
For the majority of today’s crypto enthusiasts, the crypto journey began around mid-2016 (for the very early), and early-2017 (for the early birds). Majority of these folks got on the crypto train in 2017 around which time the crypto space was beginning to gather some steam.
Crypto was sold, knowingly or otherwise, as a means to make a living and an escape from the hitherto harsh realities of life. For people living in countries with weak economies and a lower standard of living, this was all the ray of hope they needed to run after this new craze called crypto, or to sound more professional, blockchain.
Even though crypto seemed like this “ray of hope”, there was still a level of barrier to entry for those who dearly needed it as a means of escape. They could not easily cough out $1000 to “invest” in Bitcoins or build miners or buy Masternodes. Most times, it was just a case of reading up stories and being fascinated by the potentials without being able to actually participate in the industry that was unfolding before their very eyes. This was the life they were living and it sucked.
Have you ever been in a situation where all you could do was look on through the window without any hope of ever getting in to actually experience and be a part of the action? If you have, then you’d know how it feels.
Steem, via steemit.com, massively lowered the entry barrier to almost nothing. Before it, it was almost impossible to imagine a way to get into the crypto world without having to put in a massive investment up front ; well, two people could and thankfully they did. Now all you needed to do was to create something of value and you could get rewarded. This, finally, was a lot more than the initial “ray of hope” that the introductory knowledge of crypto provided; this was the real deal!
All of a sudden, kids from Africa who would have hitherto been thrown into the unforgivingly harsh realities of the job market in search of jobs that do not exist were now sponsoring events and helping their family out in amazing ways. There was now more than enough to survive and they were no longer “just surviving” but now had so much that they could afford to finally accumulate those bitcoins they had always coveted. They could now dive deeper into the crypto and blockchain space. These people majority of who were college kids at the time could boldly lay claim to thousands of dollars in their name. It was like a dream. It was a dream – one that came true.
I am one of these people. I have my story but today isn’t about me in particular.
I watched young people light up and come alive, brimming with ideas on every side. I saw a glimpse of what people could achieve if they ever had the resources. I witnessed the freedom of not having to worry about money brings and how it manifested differently in each individual. Looking back now, everything happened within a short period of time but back then, in the heat of the moment, it felt like an eternity. A lot of things were achieved within that short period of time that made it feel like a whole lifetime.
I partly realised that one major cause of tribalism especially in Nigeria could easily be the lack of the freedom that money (being comfortable) brings. Crypto, and indeed Steem in particular, brought people together. It brought Nigerians together, regardless of tribe or religion. It brought Africans together, with Ghanaians inviting Nigerians over and everyone working together in an environment of fun and excitement.
It, however, felt too good to be true. It all felt like a lie. How would a really young chap somewhere in Africa sit at home all day and in less than six months have enough money to own a car? How do you phantom a different guy having enough money to the extent he was paying other people’s tuition? Or someone else actualising their dream of creating what has become an annual event from scratch without having to beg for sponsorship!
Tell me, do all these sound real to you?
It doesn’t take too long for your habits to change. I have come to realise this within the short time the fantasy has been playing out. Crypto, above everything else, is mostly in the form of a “saviour” for these folks I talk about. Remember what I said about the job market earlier? Yes, it is almost nonexistent so for these folks who finally found succour in crypto and have begun to build their dreams and careers around it, what would happen if crypto suddenly ceased to exist?
There is definitely more to this… I’ll love to hear your thoughts. What do you think?
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