The popularity of social media has exploded over the past few years, with new social networking sites being established rapidly. It’s hard to believe that Instagram was only established in 2010 and Snapchat a year later in 2011, given they are now two of the biggest social networking sites available. As a result, social media has had a huge impact on society and on our lives, from the way that businesses advertise and sell products to the language we use to communicate.
One area which social media has shaped, which you may be less familiar with, is cryptocurrencies. These digital currencies, from Ethereum to Bitcoin, have been rising in popularity and value at a consistent rate throughout the past few years. They are created and used exclusively online, although as their use increases they are being found in real-life outlets too. Cryptocurrencies are made up of several components, each one is essential to the network being used for fast and efficient transactions. Social media has played a huge role in allowing the cryptocurrencies to reach the level of popularity they have currently attained.
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have a relatively short history but it is one that is entwined with social media. In fact, Bitcoin owes a considerable amount of its popularity to social media. When it was first created and released online in 2008 by the anonymous forum user Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin gained support through mailing lists, online chats and forums. A small but faithful online community formed, where management and development of the Bitcoin network took place and the word was spread.
Without forums and mailing lists, which are early forms of social media, it’s unlikely that Satoshi would be able to gain so many investors and boosters. The first use of Bitcoin which was to purchase two pizzas for 10,000 BTC, was actually arranged using a forum site. Again, this shows just how important social media was for the use and growth of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Today, the rapid inflation of Bitcoin’s value means that those pizzas would have cost $20.5 million!
Social Media’s Influence Today
Social media has played a huge role in increasing awareness about cryptocurrencies among the mainstream public. What was once a niche and complicated subject, only discussed among those who were interested in the latest tech, has become more accessible than ever. There is now extensive information about the currency online, including information about the latest developments and scandals. Cryptocurrencies are taking off because of social media exposure but it’s not certain whether digital money will overtake fiat currency any time soon.
As well as information available provided by, and available for, the general public many businesses, developers and journalists use social media tools, such as Telegram and Slack to communicate with each other and combine their efforts. Teams from around the world can work together on building and advancing the cryptocurrency collaboratively. This means that social media is also having an influence on the development of cryptocurrencies as well as their growth. In fact, the blockchain technology behind Bitcoin has already changed the finance sector and many others.
Social Media’s Changing Role
For the most part, social media has had a positive role in developing and encouraging growth in cryptocurrency field. However, as the public has become aware of the latest cryptocurrency news a large amount of attention has been given to various scams and scandals. Throughout its existence, Bitcoin has been an unstable currency. Over the last few years, several large crashes have taken place on Bitcoin exchange networks which have meant that investors or holders of the currency have lost large sums of money. Social media has a direct influence on the value of Bitcoin when a crash or scam is reported widely the cryptocurrency’s value instantly falls. The volatile nature of the currency could prevent it from being widely used, limiting its potential to become a future mainstream currency.
Some Bitcoin social networks are being established, in which users are rewarded with the currency for logging in or creating an account. Examples of these social networking sites include Steemit, Stynereo and Yours Network. Social media use and attention have become increasingly important for businesses and advertisers, so these networks could become almost as popular as Facebook and Twitter in the near future.
Overall, sharing information is an essential part of the development and mass use of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Without social media, it’s unlikely that the currency would ever have gained so much support. The forums and mailing lists where the original Bitcoin community was formed helped to shape the currency into its current form. However, changes are still taking place and social media tools are still being used to help individuals from around the world to work collaboratively on managing and developing the technology. Whether or not cryptocurrencies will continue to rise in popularity in the future remains unknown. At the moment, the value of Bitcoin is increasing rapidly month by month but given the volatile nature of the currency, this could change.