The Allure of Bitcoin's "Digital Gold" & Why The Strongest Narratives Win
The following article was adapted from a Twitter thread here.
Communities and storytelling are intricately linked. Oral traditions have existed for a very long time, resulting in us becoming very story-driven creatures. And according to the book Story Wars, those with the strongest (brand) narratives "win".
This is why the narrative of "digital gold" is so pervasive when it comes to Bitcoin (BTC). You have a sizable population that is anti-authoritarian, are able to make quick money from doing little, and are incentivized to have others buy so BTC price goes up.
Add to that stories of "overnight millionaires", it gives credence to why lotteries are still so popular.
The Appeal of Lottery Success Stories
By 2026, the global lottery industry is estimated to be worth $353.1b.
When you then start to form a sense of community around this behavior, the rest is history.
Gamers (not Angry Bird types, but gambling types) don't realize that for every $1 they put into a lottery ticket, its worth becomes $0.70. And even if they do know, they may still continue to pour money in for the CHANCE of winning
So goes the adage, "You got to be in it to win it."
"Gambling dates back to the Paleolithic period, before written history. In Mesopotamia the earliest six-sided dice date to about 3000 BC." source
As a result, this behavior is very much engrained into our DNA. So trying to combat that can be a challenging task indeed. But here's the dark side:
"The estimates for increased numbers of pathological and problem gamblers were multiplied by the estimated social cost per such gambler to arrive at total net cost estimates of $3.8 billion, $3.22 billion, and $2.72 billion."
We are geared towards stories of success. Ones that help us aspire to something "greater," which is why you'll hear more about "overnight millionaires" vs "millions bankrupted each night."
Nothing wrong with aspiring.
But you almost have to fight your own inner wiring in order to look under the hood.
The Allure of Bitcoin's "Digital Gold" Narrative
Like most innovations, Bitcoin's beginnings were humble. But somewhere along the line, gambling (essentially) took over the narrative.
Since people saw easy money, the story of a "digital gold" lured in many.
But Bitcoin is a lesson in honesty.
Like Smaug, the dragon from J.R.R. Tolkien's book The Hobbit, Bitcoin protects itself through the lure of its (digital) gold.
The catch, however, is that Bitcoin's gold is traceable. The gold you take will follow you and how you use it.
It is no normal gold.
It is much, much more.
The True Price of Gold & Stories of Untold Riches
So while communities have formed around the BTC narrative for Bitcoin as "digital gold", the catch is that the price is in honesty and integrity.
If you use it for legal means, you will be fine.
If you use it for illegal activities, it will come back to haunt you.
Communities and storytelling are intricately linked. So if you want to protect your community in a Bitcoin future, ensure that it is built on a foundation of truth. If it's not, a whole world of hurt may ensue for both current & future generations.
This is why that, although "get rich" narratives are so strong, they can fall quickly if built upon shaky foundations. There are many cautionary tales that exist throughout history around the the perils of greed.
This is why the "digital gold" narrative for Bitcoin is a double-edged sword.
Let's continue to watch the narrative unfold.