Thirty-five-year-old Ryan Williams may not be able to explain the intricacies of Bitcoin or tell you how the blockchain works. But that hasn’t stopped cryptoassets from improving his life.
Now, everyone wants in on the crypto rush.
As a bus driver and father of two, Williams understands the plight of middle-class Americans all too well. When the summer heat became too much for his children to endure, they began to beg him for an above ground swimming pool. "I said I can't afford it," Williams told NBC News. But that was before Williams remembered that he had invested some money in Bitcoin a while ago.
Transferring his cryptoassets from his digital wallet to his Bitpay debit card in only a matter of minutes, Williams was able to buy the $150 pool his children had been wanting. And as the neighborhood gathered around the new pool for their Fourth of July festivities, his neighbors and family were dying to know how he was able to make this purchase.
With pride in his eyes, Williams let his friends and family know that Bitcoin was to thank for this holiday success. Now, everyone, Williams knows wants in on the crypto rush.
At the moment, Bitcoin is by far the most recognizable cryptoasset. In fact, there are now more Google searches for “Bitcoin” than there are for “Beyonce,” proving just how mainstream it has become. And while many average Americans have heard murmurings about it for years, few understand what exactly it is or how it works. And that is completely fine.
There are now more Google searches for “Bitcoin” than “Beyonce."
The beauty of Bitcoin and cryptoassets, in general, is that their potential is not limited only to the tech-savvy. One does not need to work in Silicon Valley or understand blockchain technology in order to utilize these transformative mediums of exchange. All you really need is a digital wallet.
For middle-class participants of the crypto economy, the decentralization and anonymity of the blockchain world may not be a primary motivator like it is for libertarians and other decentralization enthusiasts. But what does resonate with this crowd is the ability to invest and make money outside the world of established financial institutions: the same institutions that have been stacked against them for far too long.
Better Than Stocks
Before the 2008 financial crisis hit, there was a widely-held belief that if an individual could learn to play the stock market, they would be financially set for life. But after these sacred and seemingly bulletproof institutions began to crumble, faith in the stock market and other traditional financial institutions quickly diminished.
Without precise inside information as to how the game is played and how automatic trading algorithms work, average Americans were not able to make a lot of money from these market investments unless they paid dearly to consult with someone with more experience.
Similarly, accessibility to these markets was severely limited if you weren’t able to shell out the cash needed to make a substantial investment.
For many millennials, like Williams, who came of age during the financial crisis, the stock market was not viewed as a surefire way to invest and make money, as it had been in our parents’ day, especially since we saw many of our own parents and family members lose so much.
What if you could make money by not spending money?
But cryptocurrencies allow those from all classes and backgrounds to invest in something worthwhile at a moderate price.
As Greg Salerno, an ironworker from Hoboken, New Jersey says, “It's like being in Apple at 10 cents.” Salerno himself invested $1,600 in Bitcoin, an amount now worth $20,000. "In five to 10 years you could be sitting on something nice," Salerno stated.
And while not everyone can afford to purchase one Bitcoin, which is now worth $4,568.97, the price is completely irrelevant for market entry. All crypoassets are divisible without limit, so you can be an owner even if you only have $1 to spend.
Consider, too, what it means to hold money that increases rather than falls in value. For decades people are generally used to having the money fall in purchasing power; in fact, this is what the Fed attempts to create with its target inflation rate. But what if you could make money by not spending money, as has been the case with crypto for years now?
What does this reality do to family finances? It actually incentivizes savings. Whereas current financial markets are nearly barren of opportunities to earn interest above inflation, and hardly anyone trusts real estate as they did, crypto offers a reward for frugality. This means building personal and family capital rather than living on debt.
The implications of this for individuals and for the entire macroeconomic structure are profound. Savings and capital investment, and the prosperity that follows could again become a norm.
Everyone Loves Crypto
It has become increasingly hard for middle-class Americans to get financially ahead in our current economic climate. Single-income households are not as common as they used to be and almost everyone is looking for a side hustle. Many people are asking themselves: why not choose cryptoassets?
While cryptoassests may not make you a millionaire overnight, they can help you make a plan for your financial future. As Williams commented, “Always keep grinding. It's about having those extra funds on the side. Thanks to Bitcoin, Williams and his family will also be able to take the vacation they had been talking about for years, but never had the means to take.
Williams’ wife is still slightly unsure how this whole Bitcoin thing works, but as her husband said, "My wife doesn't fully understand it, but she does enjoy that we go out to dinner and I say, 'I got it.'"