Social media and bitcoin have evolved alongside one another for years, and continue to do so at a staggering rate.
What started with a simple forum transaction in 2016, blew up into a social phenomenon, one that went down in history. Laszlo Hanyecz became the first person to transact bitcoins for real-world goods. Namely? Papa John’s. The Florida developer paid 10,000 BTC for two steaming hot pizzas in 2010. While this will raise more than eyebrows in today’s market, at that time one BTC was worth less than half a cent.
What it did do was create a world where, via social media, people saw that bitcoin could indeed be used as a viable currency. While those two pizzas would be worth millions of dollars in today’s market, that value may only exist because of Hanyecz’s former folly.
Thanks to growing adoption and public acceptance of bitcoin and other cryptos as a socially and economically viable asset, one bitcoin is now worth nearly $9,000. It’s easier than ever to set up a wallet and transact bitcoin at a number of retailers. Exchange platforms like Bitvavo and many others offer new traders a better position to freely trade the coins. And- ostensibly- everyone is talking about it.
An Influencers Market
If you don’t work in marketing, and are over the age of 35, there’s a chance you’re not familiar with what exactly an ‘influencer’ does. Social media influencers are individuals who promote or market different goods and services based off of the brand that they have built around themselves. Some are celebrities, building an individual and personal brand based on their exposure from other industries- like actors or musicians.
Some, have solely taken advantage of the media platforms they call home, and by producing content and peer valuable content, have created an organic notoriety. Social media influencers most often work from the platform Instagram, but also use other outlets, like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube. Reaching massive audiences in a number of related industries, all from one convenient platform. It’s been suggested that 92% of customers trust an influencer’s endorsement more than that of traditional advertising methods- like commercials or traditional celebrities.
Which makes them wildly influential when it comes to public adoption of little known industries and products. As these endorsements seem to come from a more relatable place. Influencers have become integral to modern marketing schemes, with a 2018 study reporting that for every dollar spent on influencer marketing campaigns, the company purchasing the influencer’s time can see an average of $7.65 in return.
The Growing Trend of Bitcoin
Despite whether bitcoin’s continued adoption can be attributed to influencers directly still have yet to be seen, but there’s no doubt that crypto and social media platforms indeed have a close relationship.
Outside of influencers and YouTube channels devoted to all things crypto, more news articles, press releases and general information has been produced in the last few years than at any other time in Bitcoin’s history. Social media platforms offer the ideal arena for this information to circulate to people who will be the most interested in the content. Arguably, one of the biggest propellants to bitcoins continued adoption is the normalization of it.
Although the coin was invented and released in 2009, public knowledge of the coin didn’t really take hold until 2017. In the first few years, one BTC was worth less than a dollar. It wasn’t really until 2016 and the use of some really savvy crypto-focused social media that bitcoin started to take off for the masses. This was the year that Steemit, a social media site similar to Reddit popped into existence. What set Steemit apart- and ultimately sent bitcoin mainstream- was that authors could get paid in site-specific cryptocurrency for the posts they wrote.
While the site eventually fell into ruin, what it was able to offer was a more relatable public relation to bitcoin and other blockchain technologies. Creating a cognitive bridge between layperson and crypto, translating it into tangible money and everyday engagement.
How Social Media Changed the Bitcoin Industry
While the Steemit platform has been all but abandoned, the role of social media and bitcoin adoption still exists healthily today. As more people spend more time on their social media sites, using them as the preferred conduit to the world around them, bitcoin becomes commonplace.
As bitcoin becomes continually familiar, and more use cases emerge, people become less wary of the digital currency. Increasing overall adoption. However, social media also has the ability to negatively impact crypto. The old adage of “any press is good press” does not apply to the realm of social media. In fact, following the now-infamous Bitfinex hack- a social media storm ensued. Which resulted in bitcoin value dropping by 20%, even though adoption rates at that time weren’t very high.
Any company will continually look at new and innovative ways to connect to target audiences and existing customers. AS bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies aren’t really a centralized business, these technologies rely heavily on their biggest proponents and users to do their advertising for them. So while exchange platforms or crypto shops have motivation to pay for often expensive ad campaigns, cryptocurrencies themselves need their users to advertise for them. Making social media ideal- as sharing an interesting or informative crypto article is free publicity. Promoting further adoption and comfortability all at no cost.