Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has frequently told the story of how he used to give crypto away back in the day (and how he still is). What better way to get people involved in Bitcoin than to offer them a cost-free entry? Coinbase still gives crypto away to people for signing up for an account, and through its Earn.com program, you can get over $100 in various cryptocurrencies.
The Coronavirus pandemic and the government-mandated slowdown to the economy that has followed has left millions of people unemployed. Were it not for the various artificial bandages put in place by the government, people would literally be starving.
Certainly if people weren’t buying Bitcoin before, we can’t expect them to now. But perhaps people will accept it for free?
Free and Easy Bitcoin?
Now is a golden time for Bitcoin wallet companies to incentivize sign-ups. People have had to spend their savings, break into their 401(k)’s, and let their cars go back to the dealership. Once everyone gets back to work, it will still be hard to expect them to invest some of their money into BTC. It could be quite some time before there will be “extra” money lying around in people’s finances again.
Perhaps I’m basing this on some flawed ideas. There are those who would argue that mere choice is not a strong enough motivator to get someone into Bitcoin. There is a certain set of Bitcoin maximalist who believes the only way people will get into it is out of necessity.
To which I say: where is that necessity? And where is the mathematical pump that should happen when they inject trillions of new US dollars into the economy? Neither has come to pass, even with unprecedented inflation and welfare happening.
Enter Bitcoin Pogs
The whole affair has led some to call Bitcoin “pogs.”
And what are they but expensive pogs if people aren’t using them to pay important bills?
Some Bitcoiners make the whole thing such a difficult hill to climb. Is it an exotic stock? Oh, certainly not. Is it an asset? Yes, but also a currency. Is it a currency? Not exactly. Then the real question comes along: so why do I want it?
If the majority of people holding Bitcoin are in it to get rich, isn’t it some kind of pyramid scheme?
I’m playing with you, of course. Bitcoin is simply Bitcoin, but that’s the part you can’t explain without being willing to give some away. Coinbase is still doing that, but I’d like to see the whole industry get smart enough to do the same.
Coinbase, after all, is not a Bitcoin wallet, not in the sense that it’s a place where you hold your cryptocurrency. Rather, Coinbase gives you access to your cryptocurrency, and they have the right to revoke that access.
It’s a trade-off that has made some purists dislike the company over the years. Now, though, Coinbase deserves praise, while those detractors, and crypto companies who aren’t doing the same, deserve a lump of coal at Christmas time.