The Bitcoin world was in a bit of a flutter these last few weeks as renowned Bitcoin criticism, and gold bug, Peter Schiff admitted he had lost access to the Bitcoin that was donated to him. Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance, replied to this matter with an interesting tweet.
Schiff eventually admitted the mistake was technically his, but the whole dilemma raises some interesting points.
Changpeng Zhao, raised a good point after Schiff slated those people who were calling him out for having an opinion on Bitcoin, but not knowing how to navigate the environment. According to CZ, having these ‘negative’ voices in the cryptocurrency space is a good thing as it provides an example of what not to do.
More so, Schiff has also demonstrated that there are some key flaws to Bitcoin’s drive to be entirely inclusive and adopted on a mass level. Schiff is not the usual Bitcoiner – young and tech-savvy – but he represents a massive part of the population that Bitcoin should be catering too.
Bitcoin’s user experience is not as easy as it could be – and this is an issue with the wallets and service providers around the industry. Improving the situation around how Bitcoin works for people would have allowed Schiff not to fall into this trap, and perhaps even being more positive towards the space.
CZ tweeted that the entire fiasco around Schiff and his wallet lockout was actually a good promotion for Bitcoin. He tweeted:
I think Peter is doing great to promote bitcoin. He probably does not realize that given his illogical reasoning, most people will do exactly opposite of what he says.
We need more of these types of “negative” voices. https://t.co/86GWOjOPS3
— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) January 25, 2020
“I think Peter is doing great to promote bitcoin. He probably does not realize that given his illogical reasoning, most people will do exactly the opposite of what he says. We need more of these types of “negative” voices.”
Indeed, Schiff has been known for calling the movement of Bitcoin prices, but getting them horribly wrong and has even started a trend of people betting against his predictions. CZ’s point is that Schiff, in mixing up his pin and his password, is the kind of mistake that other new Bitcoiners can learn from and thus he provides a good counter-example of what not to do.
A problem in presentation
Changpeng Zhao’s criticism is a good one. Too often in the Bitcoin space there is an idea that all is good and clear and nothing ever goes wrong. These negative voices, like Schiff’s, shows that there are pitfalls, and with a bit of vigilance, you can get around them.
However, the problem runs a little deeper, since the troubles befalling the likes of Schiff – and other less prominent users who don’t share their pain – is that there is a user experience issue.
Bitcoin wallets and exchanges are still relatively complex to manoeuvre. For the general person looking to enter the space, the long list of numbers and letters that make up addresses, the ever-moving candle charts, pins, passwords and seed phrases are simply not as easy to understand as say opening a bank account.
More so, when Schiff did hit a snag with access to his account, he was berated and ridiculed. If the same thing happened in banking, he would have an easy line to call to help him out. Of course, it is not for Bitcoin to set up a helpline, but what it does prove is that wallets and third-party services should be trying to make their offerings easier and less complex than banking – they should be trying to entice the likes of Schiff to really force a drive to mass adoption.
Bitcoin cannot carry on being elitist and only for those who know their hashing rates from their dead-cat bounce technical analysis. If someone like Schiff has issues using Bitcoin, it should be made easier. That being said – Schiff’s attitude to something he is not totally in tune with was always likely to catch the ire of the community and he probably deserved what he got.