Is Bitcoin the Next Status Symbol?
Much can be said about the current state of bitcoin. It is being accepted more and more as a valuable investment vehicle and as a medium of exchange for goods and services. Much of this can be created to a combination of increased support from mainstream institutions as well as its current price trajectory. The public narrative around bitcoin is also changing as this price trajectory unfolds.
In the next decade, cryptocurrencies are poised to become a major player on the global financial stage, but what does that mean for bitcoin? More specifically, can its public persona morph from a nerd-adjacent concept to a bonafide status symbol?
Bitcoin’s Changing Public Image
Over the years, bitcoin has seen an interesting shift in its public perception. In the early years of bitcoin, it was seen mostly as an odd internet concept that only hardcore supporters would have anything to do with. This was mostly a true perception as at one point in time, websites were literally giving away bitcoin for free each day to get more attention to it.
After the first major bull run in the early 2010s, some of these initial investors made huge profits from their bitcoin stock and this led to more media attention around bitcoin. Still, at the time, the public did not really understand bitcoin and the general narrative was that it was still an odd internet concept but one that some people could make money from.
By the end of the 2010s, the crypto market had seen several ups and downs and enjoyed its highest level of public visibility and grew in terms of crypto holders. The current narrative around cryptocurrency is split; a lot of the general public doesn’t quite ‘get’ cryptocurrency, but they are aware that there is money to be made in holding it and selling at a later date.
While bitcoin can be both an investment vehicle and a medium of exchange, a lot of the emphasis in the market seems to be on the former.
Can Bitcoin Become a Status Symbol?
With bitcoin’s current public image, can it become a status symbol? Simply put, yes. Status symbols, by definition, exist to signify the high social and economic standing of their owners and at almost $50,000 apiece, bitcoin is an expensive item for anyone to own. However, while bitcoin can indeed be a status symbol, how this status is displayed is a bit tricky.
The most common status symbols are typically material items that can be displayed to others. Things like exotic cars, designer clothes, expensive gadgets, jewelry, and so on. Social media, in particular, is littered with pictures showing off various status symbols. Bitcoin is undoubtedly an expensive asset in the same way stock in a Fortune 500 company is an expensive asset or even a high bank balance.
These types of assets are not typically or as easily shown off as material goods. After all, you can show off a designer handbag at a party but you aren’t likely going to open your crypto wallet app and show anyone your bitcoin balance or carry around your certificate of stock in Amazon.
These sorts of assets tend to be more silent and subtle markers of wealth that are not publicly shown off as much but are important nevertheless. Given that cryptocurrency has a very strong online community behind it, we might very well see bitcoin become a status symbol in certain spaces and bragged about in the same way Birkin bags and Ferraris are a marker of wealth and ostentation.
Bitcoin’s potential emergence as a status symbol will also be interesting to watch given that bitcoin is trying to become an investment vehicle and a medium of exchange at the same time, which is somewhat paradoxical. It is impressive, regardless, how far bitcoin has come, from being backed by a small community on the internet to potentially becoming the next big status symbol.
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