Opinion The Allure of the Bitcoin Buzzword in 2021

The Allure of the Bitcoin Buzzword in 2021

November 27, 2021

As the current year enters into its final month, hearing the word “bitcoin” is not a rare occasion. What is even more important is the fact that it is no longer a special occasion either for those who are supportive of this concept. Previously, discussions regarding bitcoin happened occasionally and often to the annoyance of those who were not interested in it or wanted to learn anything about it. Even when this sentiment changed back in times of bull runs, like those in 2013 and 2017, the narrative remained strained and oddly negative, especially in the mainstream media. Here, things like bitcoin millionaires were just that small group of people who left a pyramid scheme early and thus managed to make a profit – implying that the same profit is on the backs of those who are soon to be consumed by the same scam. 

Even outside of the mainstream media, it was usually to hear either baseless prophecies of how bitcoin will become the money of the internet or how it is another type of a bad thing (scam, balloon, etc.). Yet, even with those persistent narratives, the domain of the BTC token and other cryptocurrencies as well kept growing. Today, the narratives of negative connotations are slowly dissipating, but a new one is forming and taking shape. It is turning bitcoin into a buzzword that anyone is free to use or abuse. That keeps happening not just on the fringes of the discussions about money and economics, but also in the spotlight of the world of business, finance, and even politics. 2021 so far was a year when this trend really exploded onto a brand new level.

Getting People’s Attention

The business of marketing is in many ways the business of catching peoples’ attention and keeping it focused on a purpose. However, in the age of esports, social media and so many other queries and dynamic activities that mainly take place online, that is becoming an ever-harder process. Because of that, many marketing companies and anyone who is into advertisements, especially in the digital space, are trying to do one out of those two. 

That one is grabbing peoples’ focus and trying to keep it as long as possible. Today, the same length of time is becoming shorter and shorter as many simply wander away to some other shiny distraction. In the last couple of years, marketing experts began noticing that cryptocurrency and bitcoin especially do good work when it comes to capturing people’s attention, either for good or bad bias and previous sentiment. That was the key foundation that slowly turned bitcoin and crypto as a whole into a marketing catchphrase that is now getting a lot of collective airtime. 

Call it Bitcoin Something

The ability to catch attention is now something that is clearly visible across so many things, especially in the online domain. The simplest inroad to that perceived advantage is to simply call things either bitcoin directly or something related to crypto as a term. After all, as a shared, decentralized venture, the name bitcoin has no copyright attached to it. Because of that, anyone is free to use it in practically any context and for any purpose, including business ones. 

Previously, that was already the case and a range of shady ventures or downright scams did not miss the opportunity to call themselves something-bitcoin. That includes tech ventures that had little or nothing to do with blockchain and many other similar undertakings. Now, however, that trend is planetary and utilizes the full power of the present hype around cryptocurrencies, which is no longer limited to things like crypto enthusiasts. Instead, the potential to use the same hype is all around and generating more impulse all of the time.

NFTs as the Next Bitcoin

While bitcoin itself has been used and abused, it also allowed for a brand new buzzword that really came into its own in 2021. That is the concept of non-fungible tokens or NFTs. Sure, things like CryptoKitties, a blockchain system of NFTs built on the Ethereum network, have been around for years. Sure, for those who even remotely follow the cryptocurrency domain, NFTs themselves are no breaking news. But, for the wider public, the entire concept of non-fungible tokens sparked not just the usual default backlash, but also so much interest for many people. 

These are natural artists, but also other individuals and groups who find the concept, not just fascinating, but something that can be employed immediately for their own venture or project. Of course, that did not escape the attention of major businesses either. That is why companies like Budwiser and Visa decided to purchase their own digital artworks that are based on the NFT networks. These might have been used as social media profiles, like in the case of the brewing company, or simply added to the crypto coffers of a business, but there were purchases nonetheless and with a lot of media attention.

El Salvador Experiment

The experiment that is currently taking place in El Salvador best captures the spirit of the times when it comes to crypto buzzwords. The same place is also taking that to its current highest extremes. On one hand, yes, a small country can benefit immensely from a strong crypto investment and one that follows that up with investments in things like green energy and transit infrastructure. These will be a clear benefit to the citizens of El Salvador no matter what the current state of crypto markets might be. 

But, on the other hand, there is a sense of this frantic rush into things, like the recent announcement that the country plans to build Bitcoin City. The same location will have a railway station and a new line coming to it, a deep-water port and an airport. El Salvador hardly built any of these in the last decade, let alone all of them at the same presently empty location. So, while the buzzword of bitcoin might have some power all on its own, it cannot negate the basic logic of finance and business that is accessible to everyone by default.