When I started evangelizing bitcoin and blockchain tech back in 2012 my Dad was a hard sell. There was the common skepticism and typical counters of “what’s backing it?”, “what can be done with it?” and “what the heck is cryptography?" Back then my pitch wasn’t refined and the learning tools had just not quite matured yet...but frankly, I think more of the reason he didn’t grasp it was that he just isn’t technical and doesn’t adopt early tech.
I delicately persisted and he eventually came around. Before the end of 2012 he had secured a nice stash of coins and as the price rose by many multiples I secured more and more of his ear for future opportunities that might arise.
Now he didn’t decide to buy Bitcoins because he ended up understanding the technology, in fact, I’m still not sure years later if he understands much of the bitcoin nitty-gritty or has wrapped his head around the potential implications that blockchain technology provides. When Ethereum came along, he most certainly didn’t understand the concept and why I decided to drop everything in late 2013 and risk sizable capital bootstrapping the project with my then co-founders Vitalik, Mihai, and Charles, and eventually the rest of the founding team, as it exists today.
Bitcoin is complex to explain, Ethereum takes it up a couple notches. It’s not rocket science but sure can seem like it to many people. Unheard of terms like as smart contracts, smart property, or Dapps can seem daunting to the masses. Even terms or words becoming more common such as “cryptocurrency” or “distributed ledger system” can still be unfamiliar to many. Let’s face it. This technology is not easy for the majority to grasp and the messaging needs continual refinement and crafting for this to change.
Rightly so, the majority of focus and current goal of Ethereum is to get the tools into the hands of developers and to show them how they can create the products end users will eventually value. Less time and resources have been spent explaining Ethereum to end consumers, enterprise, and institutions.
With weekly announcements of “blockchain integrations” (See NASDAQ, IBM, Honduran Government and countless others) and friendly legislation proposals emerge from countries like Canada, there’s obvious increased interest from many sectors and as more integration projects start hitting the news, more and more interest gets sparked from organizations not wanting to get left behind.
Explaining Complex Ideas
So how do we get Ethereum, and in general, complex ideas to the general public? Well, whether it's a company trying to communicate new innovations to investors, or an educator teaching a challenging topic in a brief amount of time, the problem is how do you take an abundance of mostly technical information and effectively simplify and present if in an engaging and informative way?
One answer is infographics. Here are a few benefits of this medium
- Infographics are more eye-catching than printed words since they usually combine images, colors and content that naturally draw the eye and appeal to those with shorter attention spans.
- Infographics are extremely shareable around the web using embed code and are perfect for social network sharing
- If visually appealing with consistent colors, shapes. messages and logo they provide an effective means of brand awareness
This is the first of a few proposed infographics. The next one will focus more on Ethereum use cases for various sectors, then one for the more technically inclined.
I’m missing father’s day with my Dad (and my brother's first fathers day) to be in Switzerland on Ethereum business. However I did see my Dad this week and felt a certain accomplishment when after showing him the infographic he told me: “I finally have a clue what Ethereum is and its potential. Now what’s all this talk about Bitcoin?”
Happy father’s day to all you fathers out there from Ethereum
Anthony Di Iorio is a founder of Ethereum and currently serves as a consultant and adviser for the project. He is president and founder of Decentral and Decentral Consulting Services, offering technology consultancy services that specialize in blockchain and decentralized technology integrations for enterprise, small business and start-ups. Anthony is the cryptocurrency adviser at MaRS Discovery District, organizes the Toronto Ethereum Meetup Group and DEC_TECH (Decentralized Technologies) events and will be lecturing this summer at the University of Nicocia's Masters Program in Digital Currencies.