Whether it’s regulators warning over the risks entailed with buying, holding or trading virtual currencies, or Bitcoin’s volatility problem, or its alleged use in the trade of illegal drugs, the one aspect that shines through the drama is the power of Bitcoin as a brand.
The virtual or ‘crypto’ currency already has its own PR machinery in place on the Bitcoin wiki, where there is a handy list of dos and don’ts when it comes to writing about it, accompanied by some compelling arguments for the types of terminology that are deemed appropriate, and those that are to be avoided and why.
From a PR perspective, the point that stands out most is this: “…for anyone who isn’t interested in cryptography, the strength of the Bitcoin brand is more important.”
Certainly, this statement serves as a timely reminder to anyone involved in b2b tech PR that no matter how pioneering, technically advanced and downright clever a solution is, it is essential to convey the story (or in this case, the brand) behind it in a clear, compelling and persuasive way.
The wiki itself provides some excellent information on the system underpinning Bitcoin, which has fast established itself as a crypto currency phenomenon. However, with central banks and regulators still getting to grips with the concept and what it means both for conventional forms of currency and the financial markets, it is unsurprising that many ordinary punters can neither make head nor tail of it. [Click here if you still can’t figure out what a Bitcoin is.]
With the discussion over Bitcoin’s legitimacy as a currency set to continue for some time, it has provided plenty of opportunity for Aspectus PR’s clients to mine some PR gold from the virtual currency debate, while the addition of Bitcoin to eToro’s social investment network secured some great coverage.
At the same time, forward-thinking businesses and retailers (and even a PR company in Manchester) are now accepting Bitcoin as payment.
Some frivolous anonymous coders recently got in on the act with the creation of Coinye, a new digital currency that bore an uncanny resemblance to the name and face of a well-known rap artist. The latter was not impressed by such tomfoolery, and his lawyers issued cease-and-desist papers against Coinye’s creators, who subsequently canned the project. Norris Coin was kicked into touch in a similar manner.
However, others such as Devcoin and Peercoin are making progress. Indeed, some industry commentators believe that we are moving into a world whereby the currency we use becomes a ‘statement crypto currency’ – a conscious value statement based on who we are and what we need.
Indeed, it seems we may all now have the opportunity to bank on our own brand.