Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
Cryptocurrency needs a boost. At a market cap of $12 billion, stagnant for the past several months and still falling short of its 2013 novelty high, the spread and use of digital currencies still remains relatively limited and fringe. What technologies such as Bitcoin lack is not advantages over current financial structures, as the ability to instantly and cheaply send any amount to anyone in the world over a distributed ledger, without the aid of a large and cumbersome third-party service, is plenty revolutionary. What the cryptocurrency community lacks is sufficient activism, a concerted push to approach individuals and businesses, dominate media narrative, and in general do a good job of selling crypto to the uninformed, unconvinced world. A swarm of digital evangelists is what is needed to take digital currency to wide use.
The Pirate Party’s success in Sweden
The most salient recent example of using a concentrated, guerrilla activist effort to push a minority position to success is that of Sweden’s Pirate Party. As detailed in his book Swarmwise, Rick Falkvinge employed swarm tactics to organize an efficient, ferocious, and widespread activism on a shoestring budget. Unlike traditional campaigns which employed a centralized model or, at best, a decentralized approach using multiple centers of direction, the swarm model took advantage of a small group helping to direct the vision of a self-motivated swarm of activists. The result: 225,915 votes, beating out competitors who had spent 6 million euros on a budget of 50,000.
The Free State Project’s success in dominating media narrative
Employing a concentrated activist effort to influence public perception of discussion proved effective for activists associated with the Free State Project, a group of libertarians who moved to New Hampshire in order to better concentrate their efforts. In a recent example, an online poll on the Union Leader, the state’s largest newspaper, asked readers to indicate which presidential candidate most closely aligned with their views. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party presidential candidate, handily won with 49%, while currently ranking in standard polling in third place at 10%. This is because a small but committed group of activists jumped on board and shared the poll around, resulting in a strong presence in the political narrative.
How cryptocurrency can benefit from similar concerted activism efforts
Back to how activism can serve crypto. The same group of activists who successfully advanced libertarian politics to the limelight in New Hampshire also made the state one of the world’s most Bitcoin-friendly places. The state claims three publicly-accessible Bitcoin ATMs (more per capita than New York City) and dozens of businesses of all kinds scattered across the state taking cryptocurrency as payment, a rare feat for a small-population rural state. This was only possible because of a concentrated activism effort. Fans of Dash are attempting a similar relentless activism model to add 100 more Dash-accepting businesses by the end of the year.
Cryptocurrency cannot thrive and grow on its own merits alone. It must be used. In order to be used, people have to know about it. In order for people to know about it, others have to tell them. Which means that cryptocurrency needs a crack team of activists and evangelists to spread the gospel of Satoshi far and wide. If a coin achieves instant zero-confirmation functionality in the middle of a forest, and nobody’s around to hear about it, does that functionality actually exist?