Dave Elder-Vass, a Reader in Sociology at Loughborough University (UK) has taken to The Conversation to discuss the history of Bitcoin, through the lens of the five different investors, or subcultures who have bought into Bitcoin, as both a viable currency and as an investment.
The five categories discussed by Elder-Vass are;
- The Idealists
- The Libertarians
- The Savvy Young
- The Investors
- The Portfolio Balancers
Which category best fits you?
Well, in order to work that out, we need to see exactly what these categories mean. Starting off with The Idealists, the group that originally set out to create Bitcoin and Blockchain Technology through cryptography. The idealists are the early cryptographers, those who came up with the technology and those who are mostly anonymous to the day. Satoshi Nakamoto being the prime example of this.
The Libertarians, attracted by Bitcoins anonymous and anti-political nature. These are the investors who bought in because of Nakamoto’s promise of Bitcoin as an anti-establishment product, one that will be used in the future to empower citizens. If you purchased Bitcoin to rebel, then this is you.
The Savvy Young, those who bought Bitcoin around 2010, just before the whole industry started to take off and hit the mainstream. According to Elder-Vass:
“Many bought small quantities at a low price and were somewhat bemused to find themselves sitting on significant investments when the price multiplied. They became used to huge fluctuations in the price and frequently advocated “hodling” Bitcoin (a mis-spelling of “hold”, first used in a now iconic message posted by an inebriated user determined to resist constant “sell” messages from day traders).”
Does your T-Shirt say ‘HODL’? You’re probably a part of the savvy young. Note that this is not age specific either.
The Investors, the traditional Bitcoin investors and those who saw an investment opportunity in Bitcoin, both through day trading and those who wish to exploit price bubbles. The bulls and the bears and the group that surely makes up the vast majority of Bitcoin investors.
The Portfolio Balancers, according to Elder-Vass, these are the newest investors, those who are now starting to buy in as a result of threats from wider economics. According to Elder-Vass:
“According to modern portfolio theory, investors can reduce the riskiness of their portfolios overall by buying some Bitcoin because its peaks and troughs don’t line up with those of other assets, providing some insurance against stock market crashes. This is an emerging group, but one that could significantly raise Bitcoin’s acceptability among mainstream investors.”
And now you know. The majority of investors indeed are going to exist within The Investors group, even so though it’s interesting to see how Elder-Vass has split Bitcoin investors up in this way. As subcultures, each group has its own specific motivation for buying Bitcoin and indeed, not all of these motivations are entirely financial, proving just how versatile Bitcoin is, not just as an asset, but as a cultural icon and as a mode for social mobility too.