YesBitcoin: A solution to the bitcoin PR problem?

Tuesday 08 July 2014

A US Senator is hoping to take bitcoin mainstream with a new venture, called YesBitcoin. Branden Petersen, A Minnesota Republican senator along with a small team of volunteers are launching Yesbitcoin as a solution to the problem of large-scale communication for bitcoin.

In an interview with BitScan, Petersen said “As advocates for Bitcoin, we want to do everything that we can to help spread the message and move towards mainstream adoption. The ability of Bitcoin to democratize the financial system and empower billions of people worldwide is transformational. In one's lifetime, you are given a handful of opportunities to be a part of something that can truly change the world for the better. We believe that Bitcoin is one of those things."

Despite his political background Petersen insists, “We will NOT be engaging in lobbying or government affairs.” In fact, Yesbitcoin will be purely a consumer and merchant-facing operation

"One of Bitcoin's greatest assets, its decentralized nature, is also something that presents significant problems

when it comes to addressing global issues.

Without any single proprietor, Bitcoin must rely on the joint effort of the community

to accomplish anything at a large scale."


Petersen hopes Yesbitcoin will fill the communcations void in the bitcoin ecosystem, noting, “We identified it as an obvious area of lacking in bitcoin. We have miners, owners, users, and newbies.” YesBitcoin hope to become the communications machine.

They will endeavour to act as advocates for the cryptocurrency, and Petersen proposes that they will be, “the conduit for the community to communicate to everyday people in a more commercial/mainstream sense than has been done before." Their methods? "TV and targeted internet ad delivery as well as anything else that we feel meets our strategic goals at that time,” Petersen says.

What is the problem?

So what is it about bitcoin that makes such large-scale communication campaigns difficult? Is it the global, decentralised nature of the currency that hinders these efforts? As this article explains, bitcoin has no CEO or single Marketing Director and Petersen believes all of these factors contribute to being “bitcoin’s greatest assets” but also “something that presents significant problems when it comes to addressing global issues.” He adds, “Without any single proprietor, Bitcoin must rely on the joint effort of the community to accomplish anything at a large scale. We would contend that nobody has yet cast a vision for doing the kind of work that we propose. It remains to be seen whether we will be able to sustain our efforts. As with all things bitcoin, it really depends on whether the community will support it.”

Petersen also serves on the Financial Standards Working Group of the Bitcoin Foundation, a body, which actively "standardizes, protects and promotes the use of Bitcoin", but he sees YesBitcoin’s role as complementary to this. “The Bitcoin Foundation is an invaluable organization that cannot be replaced. We are not qualified, nor are we interested in, doing the work that the Bitcoin Fioundation does. Their role as the responsible authority on bitcoin means that they do the hard work, research, and identification of risk within the bitcoin ecosystem. I see their role as much about identifying bitcoin flaws as it is promoting its benefits. This is vital. But they don't, and in my opinion probably shouldn't, engage in large-scale commercial advocacy.”

Selling the concept

The end-goal, as with so many bitcoin enterprises is to help bitcoin gain mainstream adoption and Petersen is a firm believer that such ambitions require strategic marketing. “As the Co-Founder of Coinbase, as well as many others, recently said, "It's all about education." Just because bitcoin is a good idea, doesn't mean that it's benefits are self-evident to the mainstream marketplace. Even great ideas with great value need to be sold,” he says.

Yesbitcoin will soon be announcing how they plan to achieve their ambition as well as setting a date for launch. Petersen says, “In the near term, we are working on our full launch. So we are reaching out and working with the bitcoin community [with those interested] on helping us get off of the ground. Things are going well and we have some momentum, but we need to make more progress.”

Yesbitcoin is a non-profit organisation and will be funded by “bitcoin interests of all kinds” including other bitcoin businesses and advocates.

Louise Goss

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