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What is it like building a crypto community in Central Europe?

Author: LB 2021-02-14 626

Everything started with an experiment. I have always been interested in technology and the fascinating world of the Internet mesmerized me when I started using peer-to-peer file exchange services like Kazaa. I hardly understood the underlying technology, but merely the idea that you can earn money by operating websites caught my attention and I always wanted to have a few websites. So how did I end up building a cryptocurrency community in Central Europe? Well this is an interesting story and there is a lot to learn from this so I thought it expedient to share it here.

When I was an exchange student in Japan and I started learning Japanese I launched my first site to share the knowledge gathered during my learning process. By doing so, I became fluent not only in Japanese, but in HTML, CSS and Javascript as well. From this point my evolution was governed by a butterfly effect.

When I felt confident enough in Japanese I started working as a translator and more and more clients were asking me to translate cryptocurrency related materials from Japanese into English or the other way around. Well, if you want to become a good translator you have to read a lot of books and cryptos were gaining popularity at that time. So I read a few books on cryptos, investment, money laundering and other interesting stories from the grey zone. In Japanese. Some of the stories were so unique that I decided to translate them from Japanese into Hungarian and I launched a blog for these stories for Hungarian readers.

Once you register your site with Google’s SEO tools, your initial path gets heavily diverted, because something interesting to you is not necessarily interesting to other people and if you want to run a successful business you’d rather focus on topics that will gain popularity in the future. Well, this happened to my blog, because the stories I shared on the site didn’t appear to be that interesting to my readers, however in some of the articles I used phrases like “crypto” and “cryptocurrency atm” and Google seemed to like these keywords a lot.

A few years ago bitcoin atms were unknown to the people in Central Europe. These days though you can find these machines in cities like Krakow, Budapest, Prague, Bratislava and Vienna. Bitcoin with its soaring market price has caught the attention of many private investors and cryptocurrency mining is also a field with increasing number of participants.

Last year, just before the coronavirus triggered lockdown, I had the opportunity to travel to the neighboring countries. My main goal was to test bitcoin machines in the Czech Republic, Austria and Slovakia. Pioneers in this field are executing very important tasks, because a large-scale crypto adoption requires preliminary education and messages should be conveyed in a simple form. Well, I felt like buying some btc from these machines in Central Europe and documenting the seance can be done with little effort and the resulting posts will contribute to the spread and the popularization of cryptocurrencies.

Nevertheless, this process requires time and no one can guarantee its results. Doubtless, information flows with unprecedented speed these days and we don’t have to wait weeks for a newspaper article to be published. But still, the adoption of new technological achievements in Central Europe is somewhat delayed, mostly because of the different contextual environments. So first of all, everything has to be translated and the first and obvious reaction to these new ideas is usually scepticism. And then some pioneers with entrepreneurial mindset start new experiments and new solutions are slowly but steadily take roots in a localized form.

This happened for example in Hungary when the first btc machines appeared. In 2021, you can find several locations in the Hungarian capital with cryptocurrency atms and in spite of the initial scepticism locals are using these machines to buy cryptocurrencies and exchange their mined cryptos to local money.

The importance of education cannot be emphasised enough. When bitcoin started exhibiting its bubbleish rise, my sites started gaining momentum too. This led to an increased number of inquiries and people were asking me about cryptocurrency mining, investment and ICOs. 90% of the people are asking fundamental questions, like “How risky is it to invest in cryptos?” or “Do I damage my video card if I start mining bitcoin?”. These questions are easy to answer, but the problem is clear. While IT experts understand the underlying technology many of us are totally clueless when we start talking about blockchain or distributed ledgers.

In a sense this is a natural entry barrier and this impediment is not easy to overcome, especially for those who never heard of cryptography or peer-to-peer networks. IT experts, blockchain developers and financial advisors in the field take serious responsibility, because the gap between skilled experts and those who just switch on their computers to mine cryptos is huge. Discerning hoax from reality is no easy task these days and this will be vital in the future when more and more people use social media as their sole source of information. Demigods of the 21st century of the Anno Domini era who post daily on Twitter and Facebook shall bear even more responsibility, because they can influence the decision of millions of people with a single post in social media. This phenomena caught my attention when I launched my YouTube channel to talk about the vulnerabilities of the PoW based cryptocurrency networks.

Although selfish mining, Sybil attacks and 51% attacks are possible and their mathematical fundamentals are laid down in the relevant literature, some of my subscribers were accusing me of publishing clickbait videos on YouTube, because the if the cryptocurrency networks were not completely secure, then Elon Musk wouldn’t invest in cryptos. Well, the analysis of this conjecture would require a lengthy discussion with a lot of theory involved, so I’d rather get to my humble peroration today.

While cryptos were not invented by the devil, most of these networks being public are vulnerable to attacks. Depredations committed by diabolic users can cause unexpected consequences and no one can really tell the amount of the concomitant loss. It should be in the interest of the entire crypto community to make cryptocurrencies networks bulletproof against these attacks as much as possible because once trust is lost it’s going to be hard to restore it.

Author: LB


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