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When cryptocurrency first came out in the form of Bitcoin, no one had any clue that it'd become as big as it has. As Bitcoin and other forms of blockchain technology started to become more apparent in regular society, people started to talk more about it.
Though people are still talking up a storm, cryptocurrency investments remain rather fringe. I'd call it a cult following, and I certainly wouldn't be wrong if I said that blockchain technology has a culture behind it.
If you are new to blockchain technology, mining Bitcoin, investing in crypto, using virtual currency, or anything similar, joining in on the discussion can be difficult. Allow me to school you in facts to know about cryptocurrency culture before you jump in.
Don't expect a lot of diversity here.
If you were hoping to see diversity, this is not the place to go. Sorry, but it's true. Cryptocurrency culture is overwhelmingly male, white, and college-educated.
It's literally a boys' club. Around 90 percent of all cryptocurrency users are male. Around half of them are married. It also just so happens that 40 percent of all crypto users are employed full time.
That said, you shouldn't be too shy. Most cryptocurrency forums are very welcoming of women—and it's not like there aren't women in crypto, you know. In all actuality, some of the celebrities who love Bitcoin might just surprise you.
A lot of forums can be hard to find.
Newbies should know that cryptocurrency culture is pretty difficult to fully immerse yourself in. You may need to poke around a bit to find decent forums.
If you aren't sure where to go to dive into crypto, it may be a good idea to check out Twitter or other social media platforms. Cryptocurrency influencers often post about forums, news, and other updates.
You should try to develop a STEM background if you can.
Considering that early adopters of Bitcoin were mostly hackers and criminals, it's not surprising that this culture is very STEM-oriented. A lot of the people on these forums hold a job in IT, CompSci, or Software Engineering.
It's often a good idea to lurk on forums, learn how to mine Bitcoin using a rig, and maybe take a blockchain course on Udemy before you start posting. People in these forums have very little patience with most newbies.
Chances are that you'll link up with entrepreneurs and visionaries.
Cryptocurrency culture rightfully earned a reputation for attracting tech visionaries, businessmen, investors, and curious onlookers. ICOs alone have raised over $500 million for new companies and concepts.
New uses for blockchain digital ledgers are being created every day. If you're lucky, you might meet the one who helps bring blockchain to the limelight on a forum.
Chances are higher that you'll end up meeting scammers, though.
This is the most difficult thing about the culture to deal with—and it's also a dangerous issue. Scammers are always ready to help you part with your coins, steal your identity, or simply make your life a living hell.
Unfortunately, Bitcoin and cryptocurrency all started off as a criminal currency for illicit trades. That element of crypto hasn't fully gone away, which is why it's a good idea to learn some Netsec before you hit forums. It could help prevent you from falling for a scam.
Expect to hear new lingo.
Are you HODLing for dear life? What's the hash rate like on Bitcoin right now? Pooling stuff? If this sounds like Latin to you, it's best you brace yourself.
Cryptocurrency investing and blockchain both have full arrays of slang associated with them. It's a good idea to look up words you don't understand or books to learn about blockchain technology before you hit the ground running. It may save you a lot of embarrassment in the future.
You're also going to see a lot more art than you'd expect.
Believe it or not, cryptocurrency culture is not just about numbers! There are now online movements to make artwork with blockchain codes, as well as artsy games that allow you to manipulate blockchain to create new creatures.
Games like Cryptokitties have a lot of artistic elements to them. Art exhibitions have already started to get influenced by crypto, too. Who knows? This might be the next pixel art movement!
Anonymity is highly prized in cryptocurrency cultures.
TOR Project and Bitcoin were once two peas in a pod. You couldn't talk about one without discussing your war stories on the other. This still sometimes happens on forums, and some might even tell you to use TOR as a regular browser.
A lot of people who work with cryptocurrency want to avoid being tracked for one reason or another—even if they're active on social media. It's part of hacker culture.
There are cultures within cultures.
You never just see one whole crypto culture. It's a lot like the tables in a high school lunch room.
There's the "bro-ish" culture of investors who want to see crypto on Wall Street and are looking for cryptocurrency investing tips that will help them trade in a moment's notice. There are criminals who use Bitcoin as a payment service. There are hackers who just like to hack, high schoolers dabbling in STEM, dapp-loving gamers... The list goes on.
If at first you feel like you don't fit in, keep looking for something more your speed. You will eventually find your tribe.
What you make of it is up to you.
Just like any other culture, there are good sides and bad sides to cryptocurrency culture. How you work around it is up to you. Happy forum-going, and happy mining!