How To Eliminate The 2 Biggest Hurdles To Maintream Adoption Of Bitcoins & Alt Coins

I was invited to speak at the first Texas Bitcoin Conference.  Since I am not a technical person, I chose to share my sales/marketing experience with everyone in the cryptocurrency community so they can gain faster mainstream public adoption of Bitcoins and other alternate cryptocurrencies.

Let me know what you think.


Thanks guys.  Like I said my name is Tai Zen I was a former prisoner of the failed U.S. war on drugs and since I got released I’ve always been blogging about the tools, techniques, the strategies, and the technologies that’s available to help people find freedom in their lives.

When I encountered Bitcoin it was one of the most revolutionary technologies that I’ve ever ran into.  I missed the dot com boom and this is so amazing to me that I’ve pretty much devoted my life and my spare time to promoting Bitcoin to the public.

I come from a sales and marketing background, I do not come from a technical background so I will try to keep this presentation as non-technical as possible.  We’re going to talk about how to eliminate the two biggest hurdles to mainstream adoptions of Bitcoins and alt coins.

By the way if you guys have seen my nametag I also represent the NXT community so I’ll be using them as an example and I’ll be using the other alt coins as examples of how to get the mainstream public to adopt your coin as well.

The purpose of this presentation is to gain mainstream adoption of Bitcoin and alternative crypto currencies.

We have lots of technical people but there’s not enough sales and marketing people in the Bitcoin community, would you guys agree on that?

I mean you talk to everybody here and they know how to write code probably except for me.

What I would like to do is to contribute to the Bitcoin community by offering my sales and marketing background so that we can get widespread adoption of bitcoin so it can benefit everyone and to allow everyone to do what they’re good at.

Today’s objective is to identify the two biggest hurdles since I only have 20 minutes.

We’re just going to go over the two biggest hurdles that prevents Bitcoin or any crypto currency from being adopted by the general public.

We’re going to learn some simple sales and marketing techniques to get people to understand and adopt Bitcoin and alt coins, and we’re going to gain mainstream adoption of Bitcoin and crypto currency.

So I’m going to fly through these very quickly, if you have any questions just keep it in mind and at the end of the 20 minutes I’ll have 20 minutes to answer your questions.

2 Hurdles To Mainstream
Adoption Of Bitcoins

It’s my marketing belief that the mainstream adoption of Bitcoin will happen at the grassroots, volunteer level like what we’re doing here.

  • Do not waste time seeking government permission and government approval, you’re going to get grey hair before that happens okay.
  • Avoid advice from someone with no Bitcoins, that’s very important that when you talk to someone and you get someone to help you promote Bitcoins make sure they buy, sell, trade, or own Bitcoins. That’s very important.

What are these two nasty hurdles?

These nasty two hurdles are:

  1. Confusion
  2. User friendliness

Now a lot of you guys in the audience may be technical so when I talk about these things it may go right over your head because you might think well what’s so confusing about bitcoin or what’s so user unfriendly?

You download the block chain…

You wait a few days…

… and when it’s done you use it right?

So that’s what I’m going to cover and I want you guys, the technical people in the audience to look at at me as one of your users.

Profile Of Typical
Bitcoin User

I am the classic user that is not technical, that is not technically inclined so look at me as your prime candidate as you guys create these alt coins and Bitcoin software and services, look at me as the common user.

Where are we going to get the answers to these challenges right?

There’s an old saying somewhere that says:

“A smart man learns from his own mistakes and a wise man learns from other people’s mistakes.”

So what we’re going to do here is we’re going to learn:

  • the mistakes of Bitcoin
  • the mistakes that NXT made
  • the mistakes from Dogecoin
  • and we’re going to learn from the mistakes that today the Texas Bitcoin conference made as well so that we can eliminate that.

Nothing Kills Bitcoin Adoption
Faster Than Confusion

The first nasty hurdle is confusion.

Just remember guys that nothing kills adoption faster than confusion because a confused mind cannot make a decision.

When somebody is confused as what Bitcoin is, or what NXT, or Dogecoin, or any crypto currency, what happens is the easiest thing to do is to just let it go and not deal with it.

The other thing too is that people are lazy to think for themselves.

So if you come out with an alt coin, or you come out with a service, or a client or anything where people have to do a lot of thinking to adopt it you’re going to be at the losing end.

You’re not going to get wide stream adoption.  You want to make this adoption process as easy as possible so that it’s a no brainer for people.

People like to follow, they don’t like to lead.

  • If you look around as you come into the conference everybody is looking around to see where everybody’s going so they can follow along, that’s natural.
  • When you go to a restaurant to eat with your friends you look at each other, ask what you’re going to eat, where do you want to go to eat, what movie do you want to see? It’s natural for people to want to follow.

Whenever you come out with something that’s new for Bitcoin or for an alt coin make sure you make it so it’s simple for people to follow correctly.

I put an example here about the rooms.

On the website they have room A, B, C, or D for the Texas Bitcoin Conference and when you get here the rooms are labelled 201, 202, etc.

What was wrong with just using the room number?

Sometimes the easiest thing to do is the easiest thing to do right.

Common Confusions About
What Is A Bitcoin?

Let’s look at some common confusions about Bitcoin and let’s clear them up.

This is the most common question you run into when you try to promote Bitcoin or any crypto currency to the public.

What is Bitcoin?

You can tell them that it’s this public ledger and it’s got this crypto graphic hash, you can use all these words that no one can pronounce.

I found the easiest way to explain to people is that Bitcoin is a money transfer payment network that’s like a highway.

The rules and regulations that govern that highway is also called Bitcoin, and the vehicles that travel through that highway or that network is also called Bitcoin.

It’s very simple and if it goes any further than that just tell the person, or the audience, or your customer it’s not necessary.

When you drive a car you don’t need to know how the transmission works, all you need to know is where to put it in drive.

The other thing too is that it’s important you relate Bitcoins to something that people are familiar with.

One of the things we do in sales and marketing is that when we come up with something that is a new product or service that people don’t understand, what we want to do is relate it back to something that they already understand.

I use the highway example because everywhere you go there are highways and there are roads.

Common Confusion
About Bitcoin Mining

Here’s some more confusion about Bitcoin…

What is Bitcoin mining?

When you get lots of questions about Bitcoin and making money with mining and everything, just tell them mining just means you’re “processing” the Bitcoin transactions.

The people who volunteer their computers to process those transactions are called “miners” and they get paid for it. The first person who processes all the Bitcoin transactions correctly in approximately 10 minutes gets rewarded 25 Bitcoins.

When people hear that they want to jump into mining.

You got to remind the public that you’re using the services at Bank of America, you use services at Chase Bank but you don’t run out there and try to process the transactions and volunteer to process Bank of America’s bank transactions when you’re using it do you?

Likewise you don’t do that for Bitcoin either, so let the people who specialize in that do that.

If any of you guys are interested in Bitcoin mining my colleague is speaking at four o’clock in one of these rooms and he’s going to talk about Bitcoin mining.  So if you want more information about that you can check with him.

Bitcoin Is Not Very
User Friendly

The nasty hurdle number two is user friendliness.

This is a common thing that I run into in a lot in the bitcoin forums.

The technical people think it’s easy whereas the non-technical people like myself think it’s a struggle.  For example, it took me several days to get the Bitcoin client working.

When I installed the NXT client when it first came out it took me several weeks.

Do you think that the average mainstream public person is going to spend several weeks to learn how to install a software?

For example, do you know what it was that caused it to take a few weeks, there was one instruction in the list of instructions that was not necessary in there.

I had to get out all the forms and everything, but now one of the things that the people at the NXT community have done is that they’ve listened to the customers and they’ve come out with seven different clients.  Some have a simple one click install.

So it’s a lot easier now.

Like I said, nothing kills adoption faster than confusion, a confused mind cannot make a decision.

People are lazy to think for themselves, show people how to follow. Make it as smooth and frictionless as you can.

As a matter of fact you come up with a new bitcoin service and you want to test it, run it by me.

If I can’t get through it on one try the chances are you probably got to go back to the whiteboard on it. If you can get a dummy like me to do it, to use your product or service then chances are the regular public will be able to use it to.

Time To Acquire A Bitcoin
Needs To Be Faster

The acquisition time needs to be as short as possible.

I found about Bitcoin from my colleague back in December of 2012 and I got my first Bitcoin in August of 2013.

I still got a good price and I made good money on it but the time that it took for me to know what it is to the time I actually got some Bitcoins needs to be compressed and it needs to be shorter.

It needs to be fast just like the speeding race car that just passed by behind me, I timed that too by the way.  LOL!

It needs to be fast just like that car, from the  time they hear what a Bitcoin is and take possession of it. If you have to, just take out your Coinbase wallet or launch any bitcoin wallet app and send somebody a millibit.

That’s another thing too, start off with millibits don’t even go into talking about Bitcoins because that just confuses people.

It’s important that you understand the path of a new crypto user whether it’s a Bitcoin, alt coin such as Dogecoin, NXT or any alt coin.

It happens in five steps:

  • Usually they will have to learn and understand what Bitcoin is.
  • Then download the wallet software.
  • Install the wallet software or account.
  • Acquire some Bitcoins or alt coins.
  • Test the new Bitcoins.
  • Wash, rinse and repeat.

Confusing Names
In Cryptocurrency

Let’s take a look at some of these popular alt coins and their mistakes.

When we learn and understand about Bitcoin we don’t want to make it confusing for the public.

For example, the first time I heard of Mt. Gox and what it was I tried to repeat it like two dozen times to remember what it stood for.

What was wrong with just using a name that said

That was something that was suggested by the Mad Bitcoin guy, Thomas Hunt.

Wouldn’t a name like be a lot easier so when people log on or they hear about it they know what it is?

Make things simple for people to understand.

When NXT first came out it was the first 2nd  generation alt coin that had its own source code. It didn’t just copycat Bitcoin and to make it unique and different they decided to call it NXT instead of NXT coin but the website that you go to is called

Do you see the confusion guys?

Also it’s spelled NXT.  It’s not spelled N-E-X-T.

That was one of the mistakes of NXT because unfortunately, the inventor of NXT coin is not an American.

He’s somewhere in Europe or Russia somewhere so his English was one of the main challenges that got in the way.

What I recommend is that if you guys are developing a new alt coin just do a keyword research on Google.  It’s free that way you can see the different words and terms that people use.

Confusion With Ethereum

The other one that’s an example I like to use is Ethereum, how many of you guys were able to spell Ethereum the first time you heard it?

One person out of a room of 50 people right?

The first time I heard about it and my friend told me about it I was trying to Google it online but I couldn’t spell it.

After I figured out how to spell it I tried to explain it to other friends who were interested in investing in alt coins and they couldn’t spell it either. Look at how many customers you lost along the way.

Not everybody is going to be persistent so keep that in mind.

Why choose a name people can’t even spell?

Don’t be cute and fancy with your names when you come up with the new alt coins if you guys sitting in the audience plan to come up with a new alt coin.

Downloading & Installing
The Cryptocurrency Wallets
Should Not Be Confusing

Step number two is download, verify and install the account.

Bitcoin QT has no instructional videos.  When you go online it’s not very clear.

They should have a standard format video on their website so that people know when they get there how to select and download the correct client.

When you go to they have half a dozen or so clients and wallets, and you don’t know which one to choose which is frustrating and confusing for the newbie.

If you’re a beginner how do you know?  If you guys are developers in here just put step by step instructions.

Step one, for example is if you’re a dummy select this wallet.

If you’re technically advanced or a developer select this one.

You want a no brainer set of instructions to just download Bitcoin QT and be aware it’s going to take a day to download everything so the users are not confused.

Let people know ahead of time because I was sitting there downloading and I was wondering:

  • Is this thing done?
  • Why is my CPU at 100%?
  • Is this a virus?
  • Is this a scam?

You don’t want these things to go through the customer’s mind okay.

When NXT came out it had instructions with pictures and several videos.

We did that because we learned the lesson from Bitcoin when we released NXT.

When I say we I’m not the developer of NXT I just helped volunteer to do the marketing for them.

And then Ethereum just came out and there’s people who want to invest in Ethereum and they have a test net that’s like for the common people like us who want to invest into it.

If you only want technical people and developers only then it’s great to use those terms but if you want mainstream adoption, you want the mainstream public to pour money into it then make it so they understand.

Because the more that people don’t understand, the more afraid they become.

Acquiring Cryptos
For The First Time
Should NOT Be Difficult

Step number three is acquire some coins.

There’s three ways to acquire coins and this is a common question that you get when you’re talking about Bitcoin, or any crypto currency is where do I buy the coins from or how do I get it?

There’s three ways buy coins:

  • At an exchange.
  • Offer products or service.
  • Process bitcoin transactions.

In the case of NXT you forge it.

Forging does not produce new coins it just processes transactions only.  These are the ways that you would tell them.

But the fastest way is to send your friend or new person some bitcoin.

One millibit doesn’t cost anything but now they understand because they can clearly see the transaction.

They just saw value transfer from your phone to their phone and now they can go and relate to other people.

If each person just does that with three different people, can you imagine how fast Bitcoin will spread?

If everybody in this room just left here from the conference and helped one more person adopt it, it would be phenomenal.

Buying Bitcoins Directly
At Confusing Exchanges

Bitcoins you can get from Coin Base or Bitstamp.

For NXT you can get it  from Cryptsy, DGEX or BTER. Now you see how DGEX and BTER is?

Is that something that you guys can remember?  Is that easy to remember?

Do you guys agree?

Do you guys walk out of here and you want to get some NXT coins, wouldn’t it be easier to remember or .org versus DGEX what not or BTER what?

That’s just plain confusing.

Since I’m from the NXT community here’s an easy way that I’m doing this as a test so I can share it at the next conference.

If you go to, there’s a video there that explains to you how to download the NXT client and if you leave a comment there with your NXT account number I’ll send you four or five NXT coins to get activated in the account and get started.

I want to do a test to see how easy it is to implement so that I can share it with other people.

The other thing needed is to test some new coins and send the Bitcoins back and forth.

When you guys receive the NXT coins from me and send it back, I’ll send it back whichever way so that you can see how it works all right.

Buying Your First
Crypto Currency
Should NOT Be Confusing

In my first Coinbase experience, I bought like 10 Bitcoins and I tried to transfer those Bitcoins to my personal account (wallet).

I waited, I waited, I tried to log in I logged in like two or three dozen times. It sent me text messages and nothing worked it was frustrating.

I thought they had ripped me off.

Then several days later I try it again and once again it didn’t work. it took me like a third time before I was able to access the account and transfer my Bitcoins to my personal account.

So you don’t want that user experience especially after someone just spent thousands of dollars with you as a customer.

How could they have eliminated that instead of just fixing the problem?

If you are creating something new for Bitcoin or any coin just put a note right there on your website so everyone knows.

When you log in and you have issues, it might take you several attempts. Have a video and explain what happens I mean how hard is that?

The NXT community makes it easier to adopt when I got into it they had lots of people available so that as soon as I broadcasted my problems they would get online, help out, send me some test coins and some actual NXT coins I can test it.

They helped made sure my client was working, that’s why I’m returning the favour now.

AVOID Technical Terms

Step number five is wash, rinse and repeat.

Just do those four steps again it’s very easy.

The good news is that it can only get better, it’s not going to get worse.  Every day every alt coin Bitcoin is getting easier and easier.

Avoid this like the plague, avoid technical terms such as cryptographic hash, merkle tree, etc.

If you’re a developer and you know that’s part of your field don’t use it with other people just use regular terms.

The other thing too when you’re making the clients and you’re trying to build an exchange  to trade bitcoins, people tend to use the term “bid” and the “ask” all that.

Nobody knows what that means just use wanted or for sale it’s easy.

Everyone knows what a wanted sign means, everybody knows what a for sale sign is.

People Don’t Understand
Money Much Less
About Bitcoin

Most people don’t understand money that’s one of the problems you’re going to run into when you try to explain Bitcoin to people is that they don’t even understand money or how fiat money comes about or how it works.

You run into that challenge of wanting to educate them about how fiat money works so they can understand the benefits of Bitcoin, don’t waste time doing that.

If they’re 30 or 40 years old already and they don’t know what it is you spending five minutes is not going to get them to understand it.

The easiest way is to hold the phone, send the bitcoin to them and transfer it back and forth it’s easier to demonstrate it then to describe it.

If you have a friend in Cuba, or Iran right now and you can’t send them money because they’re not a U.S. ally but now you can send it to them.

No one can stop it… absolutely nothing.

No conspiracy theories, anti government, cute and fancy stuff.

All this stuff just scares people.

When you talk about this is anti-government currency and the government has no control over this you’re just scaring people away because you don’t know, most of the public enjoy living in America.

They enjoy having freedom.

Talking bad about their government is not a good thing all right.

Like I said cute and fancy is not needed.

Focus on the benefits to the consumer not to another technical person.

Audience Q&A

I think my time is up, so any questions on how to market Bitcoin or your products or services in the crypto currency world. I’ll take questions.

Emcee:  Let’s give a warm round of applause for his presentation.

Tai Zen:  Any questions.

Chris:  Hey I’m Chris and talking about learning and understanding Bitcoin… take my mother for example.

She’ll go the store buy her milk, she doesn’t know how the bank clears and she doesn’t care.

Disclosure I don’t own a Bitcoin but what are the different generations between my mother using a currency that she doesn’t understand and me adopting this which I don’t think I’d be incapable in installing a wallet and that sort of thing.

What would make me use that the way she goes to the store and buys milk?

Tai Zen:  Okay so your question is how to get your mom to be able to use something like Bitcoin?

Chris:  More like the generational differences, she does transactions and doesn’t know how it works. I would be using Bitcoin, or alt coin, or whatever and I wouldn’t necessarily need to know how it works…

Tai Zen:  You don’t have to explain to them why you just have to show it to them.  That’s the easiest way. The easiest way to get anybody that’s no technically savvy is to just show it to them.

Whip up a phone, look you see this, you just scan it and it’s done.         Make it fun for them.

Chris:  Right, why would they do that?

Tai Zen:  Because she trusts you. Because you told her this is better, she doesn’t need to know. She trusts you and when she trusts you she will follow along with what you are saying.

If you tell your mom this is better look at this.

This has more value, we’re going to use this from now on because it increases in value we’re not going to use the value in every year that goes by.  She doesn’t have to know, if she trust you.

You just got to get her to trust you.  That’s the main thing.  Any other questions guys?

Emcee:  One thing I’ve had success with is kind of just looking at their every day routine and kind of the things that they do and are involved in and look at how Bitcoin can make that more efficient.

Kind of look at her routine and I’ve had a lot of success this person how can they benefit from this, how can this improve the way they do things?

Tai Zen:  What’s the question?

Audience Member #2:  I was just kind of giving feedback on that.  Have you explored any other wallets for example like Electrum where you didn’t have to do things like downloading the entire block chain?

Tai Zen:  From a non-technical perspective the question was have I tried Electrum or other Bitcoin wallets right? The confusion that I run into from a non-technical perspective is that I don’t know which ones to use.

The reason why I chose Bitcoin QT was because that was the original one supposedly that Satoshi Nakamoto created and that’s what the development team has created. I’m thinking I’ll go with this one, so there’s no instructions on there that say or at least it’s not clear as why I should use the other one.

When you mention about Electrum I have not tried it.

I have not tried Armory because I don’t know what they’re for and I don’t want to risk losing thousands of dollars of Bitcoins that I know is secure inside Bitcoin QT rather then take the risk of using another client that was not developed by the original creator.

I’m just giving you a user’s perspective, whether it’s right or wrong that’s what you got to fit. Sometimes you as a developer I heard Gavin Andressen on YouTube say that every day he’s looking to make the code more efficient.

It’s true and I’m glad that he’s doing that.

Sometimes you have to balance the efficiency of the code with the user experience on this side.

If you’re a good coder and you’re able to make very efficient code but it’s a pain in the butt for the user to adopt it and use it, that efficient code is not useful.

If you can make the code secure and it does it’s job well it may take a few more lines of code but the user experience is frictionless and there’s no friction that way.

That I believe is much more useful.

So does that help answer your question about why I’m not using Electrum or tried it?

Audience Member #2:  Right it does.

Tai Zen:  Okay.

Tai Zen At 2014 Texas Bitcoin Conference3

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