How Easy is it to get Involved in Crypto and Blockchain Technologies?
The question that is often asked but no one knows how to efficiently answer.
Crypto, blockchain gaming, Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and the power of exchanging fiat currencies to cryptocurrencies are on the rise. We’re seeing many people, from around the world, using crypto since the Covid-19 pandemic.
With many people joining the crypto space, we’re still seeing a lack of women representation in this decentralized and fast-paced world. To provide some context about why I feel a lot of women and young adults are ‘afraid’ of joining the crypto space.
I was speaking to a woman one day, as per my daily work routine in the realm of customer support, who was just getting started in the crypto world. She knew the basics around how blockchain wallets worked, and I was pleasantly surprised to see her handling different crypto wallets and understanding the difference between different crypto tokens. Yet, it was still difficult for her to comprehend whether this ‘crypto stuff’ was really worth doing. I realized, in that moment, that she was the first (and only) woman who had contacted our customer support team seeking assistance about crypto.
If there was something that I have learnt from helping many people, from all different backgrounds, is that crypto and the blockchain world is a ready-player-one like dimension, and joining the crypto space is not easy. It sometimes requires a little push to get started.
So, why isn’t this easy? How can we make it so more people can understand how this technology works and how crypto can be used in our everyday lives?
Well, I’m going to explain how you can do this and learn the fundamentals to what you can achieve with this new technology.
Before we get into the fundamentals of having you become an expert of crypto and blockchain technologies, we first need to understand why this isn’t as straightforward to learn and can sometimes appear intimidating when you start learning.
It wasn’t Designed to be Made ‘Easy’
If all software; technology; and crypto projects were designed to be made ‘easy’, then wouldn’t everyone (including women of all ages and backgrounds) be able to understand it from the get-go? Crypto, specifically, was not designed to be ‘easy’, it was meant to be both decentralized and secure.
It can be tricky to identify the right information. The crypto ecosystem can be confusing, and sometimes difficult to grasp an understanding right from the beginning.
The most commonly cited studies place female participation in the crypto community — including developers, investors, and casually interested individuals — between 4% and 6%. Compare this to tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Apple — approximations of the tech sector at large — where the percentage of women employees hovers between 30% and 35%.
From a personal experience, when first joining the crypto community, it required a lot of reading and understanding how this technology was being developed, and how we can leverage this technology to create unique projects.
Crypto has been around since 2009. It keeps gaining traction with new people, from different generations, joining the bandwagon. So why do we still find this technology intimidating? In a male-dominated industry, it can be frightening to explore — especially, as the number of women in this space is so little.
Only seven to nine per cent of crypto users, traders and investors are women. And in 2017, only $5 billion out of some $85 billion (5.88 per cent, was obtained by women.
As we go in-depth with knowing how to get started, and involved in the movement, we will see the bigger picture of how and why crypto is a conversation worth being immersed in. This is a roller-coaster. 🎢
The Lack of Clarity and Direction
With the birth of the Internet, and the freedom to search for anything with a tap of a few keys, comes an overwhelming amount of information and a lack of clarity. With no true embodiment, we have no clear image or understanding of how something is meant to work.
We work by visually imagining the impossible.
As something solely available online, it’s hard to distinguish what is real and what’s virtual. When we think of films, we have actors and actresses. We can think and visually imagine a favourite actor/actress and how they are the people we look up to. Our mind already wanders to something already existent, in the real world.
When we think of crypto, what do we see and where does our mind go? Is it the uncertainty it brings, the stereotypes of how it is insecure and strange, or the endless possibilities that you can do with crypto?
Whenever we start a new hobby or project, we think it’s scary. A sensation runs through our body, alarming the brain to stop what we’re doing. It’s the same with crypto. Joining this community can be stressful, anxious and scary, just as joining any other community. It comes with passion to learn and grow to fully understand why something functions the way that it does.
I was scared once. I presented to an entire class of college students, a project solely about crypto. Whilst I could have picked a different topic and been easier on myself, I went out of my comfort zone and explained the benefits, negatives and regulations surrounding crypto in Latin America.
My aim was to show people that there’s a different world out there. One that is unspoken, and still very frowned upon. My presentation raised more questions and conversations than any other project in the room. People were intrigued. It was new. It was something that they wanted to know more about.
Everyday people, just like yourself, will be scared of this technology until we raise more awareness about the benefits and projects that can be developed upon this new platform. When we show people how they can get involved, we can educate them on how to make a difference by rewriting their perception of what crypto is and what it has to offer.
Now that you know that crypto can be scary, quite peculiar, and what it can bring to the table, we can now move onto the best practices of joining the crypto community along with what you can do if you’re just starting out.
From personal knowledge and experience, I believe that these 4 main key points will help strengthen your knowledge as we head forward and these will widen your knowledge to get started with crypto and blockchain.
- Experiment; and
- Ask Lots of Questions
Research like Your Life Depends on it
Researching is key, and crucial to your learning. You will be overwhelmed, and there won’t be many people to reach out to at first. Nor will there be many people to look up to. This may leave you feeling like you’re in a maze. Yet, you will find yourself by committing to researching the basics. It is imperative to gather a full understanding of how crypto and blockchain works.
Crypto is like learning a new language. I have learned several languages (Spanish; French; Hungarian; and Valencian) as well as various programing languages. I’ve noticed that something they all have in common is the vocabulary (for traditional languages) and the syntax (for programming languages). They also involve a lot of repetition.
You will never stop learning about crypto and there will always be something new just around the corner. That’s what makes it so exciting!
Researching the essentials first, will get you far. You will know that you are making progress as you begin to understand the vocabulary and the foundation of crypto.
There are certain meanings and words behind how the entire crypto ecosystem works. Some words, which can be particularly confusing, will help you in gathering a deeper understanding of how everything pieces together. These are worth noting down, on paper, as they will help you along the way on your journey to familiarise yourself with the crypto scene.
A few example words / vocabulary in very simple terms:
- Blockchain: The blockchain allows for information to be transported from a simple A to B point. The information or transaction you make on the network is stored in a block and is added to the chain. Blockchain is not owned or managed by anyone, rather than an array of computers functioning together to send these immutable transactions.
- Cryptocurrency: Sometimes referred to as a ‘coin’ or ‘token.’ Cryptocurrency is, in short, a digital currency. You might have heard of Bitcoin or Ether. These are digital currencies that are not governed or administered by anyone. Hence, they are often referred to as digital currency running on-top of a ‘decentralised network.’
- Transaction: Just like any regular bank/fiat transaction, a transaction (in the crypto sense) is how you interact with the blockchain. Such as, for the purpose of sending or receiving a cryptocurrency. These transactions are, anonymously, stored on the blockchain.
- Blockchain Explorer: Depending on which cryptocurrency you are interacting with (if it’s Bitcoin; Ethereum; an Ethereum-based token; etc.,) a blockchain explorer helps navigate the blockchain for which the transactions are stored on. You can often use these explorers to search for details about an address or a transaction.
- Crypto Wallet: Just like regular wallets or purses you would typically have with you, a crypto wallet is a digital wallet where you can store and view your cryptocurrencies. These type of wallets (that can be accessed quickly and easily, just like a regular wallet or purse) are referred to as a “Hot Wallet.” There’s also the concept of a “Cold Wallet” which is roughly equivalent of a bank vault.
- Mining: Mining might seem like an odd word to come across in the crypto world. However, mining is the process of computer entities performing many computational and mathematical operations to solve problems. Miners, effectively, mine transactions that have been broadcast and are awaiting to be written to the blockchain. This process often results in new coins (Bitcoin / Ether / etc.) being created as a reward for solving these complex mathematical problems.
- Block: A block is the result of the work of a miner. The block, which is created upon solving an incredibly complex mathematical problem, is where transactional data is stored in an immutable state. This means that, once mined, a block is effectively set in stone (barring very limited cases.)
- Digital Assets: Whilst this may seem somewhat a bit ‘off-topic,’ it’s a new and heavily interesting development. Digital assets are a form of creating something digitally, on the blockchain, and are often pegged with real-value. Think of this like traditional trading cards you would get from a corner store (Pokémon / Sailor Moon /Yu-Gi-Oh.) Digital assets are effectively collectables. They hold real world-value. They can also be kept forever, in your wallet, without ever worrying about losing or damaging them.
Read, Read and Read…
At the very beginning when I first joined the crypto space, I was researching and reading many times during the day to get a full bank of knowledge of how this technology actually works. Whether you are reading online from blog posts, articles, newspapers or from books, everything will help in strengthening your relationship with crypto.
You will be able to pick apart from certain crypto projects and understand their true intentions and meanings behind what they are trying to do. Reading into different crypto projects allows you to make decisive decisions into what you can do with the project, how it benefits you and your needs.
A few personal recommendations on what has helped me:
- Reading Articles and Blog Posts — (CoinTelegraph, CoinDesk, Blockchain.com)
- Watching Crypto and Blockchain videos on Youtube.
- Reading about crypto projects — Many crypto projects can be discovered through CoinMarketCap or CoinGecko.
- Reading articles from Support Knowledge Bases — Reading basic support articles from project knowledge bases will reinforce your knowledge on the crypto world.
- Joining crypto communities on Twitter or following crypto related tags/topics on Twitter. There are several topics you can follow and select such as ‘Crypto’, ‘Blockchain’ etc.
- Bookmarking what you read — Make it easier for you to refer back to certain posts by bookmarking them in a folder.
Without the Doing, the Reading Won’t Matter
From the research and reading, comes the experimenting. The most efficient way to get started and being hands-on, so to speak, is to begin experimenting with many different crypto and blockchain wallets out there in the market, and find one that suit your needs.
Wallets are essential to getting started in the crypto world, and there are many out there that can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play Store. The research you do will help you in knowing which wallet will be just right for you, and you may end up having multiple wallets, with different functionalities and reasons.
It’s crucial you choose a wallet that you feel comfortable with, and you enjoy using on a daily basis — think of it like your personal safe.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help
The questions, thoughts, and curiosity you’re having right now, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help.
The crypto space is huge, and there are many people in this community willing to help others, just like yourself. No question is ‘stupid’ to ask, and there’s no reason to feel ashamed or feeling that you’re left behind, everyone in this movement started somewhere.
Looking back on my college presentation about crypto, I noticed the crypto topic raised more interests from my class than anyone else and those asking the questions and wanting to get more involved were always interested in crypto, yet, they didn’t know how or where to get started.
Please spread the word, love and passion — the next wave of technology, crypto, blockchain is going to be thrilling and one not to miss. And if you know someone wanting to get started, but don’t know how or don’t understand how, the share button is below.