Let’s try and start off simply. What exactly IS cryptocurrency? Anita K. Sharma, an entertainment attorney, has provided a definition in order to make the topic easier to understand.
The simplest explanation of cryptocurrency is that it is digital, encrypted money (as opposed to paper money) secured by cryptography. This means it is nearly impossible to counterfeit and very secure.
Cryptocurrencies work using blockchain, a decentralised technology spread across many computers that manage and record transactions. As a result, a defining feature of cryptocurrencies is that it is not issued by any central authority, i.e. not controlled by any one person or government.
Cryptocurrency can be exchanged online for goods and services, although many people invest in cryptocurrencies as they would in stocks. The first blockchain-based cryptocurrency was Bitcoin.
Why has cryptocurrency blown up on TikTok?
Social media platforms have now become the go-to for news and education in general. This is due in large part to the huge audiences on these platforms – it is where much of Gen Z gets most of their information so it’s not surprising to me that discussion on a topic like cryptocurrency is happening on these platforms, as mainstream news outlets often present topics such as this in a negative light, or in a way that is hard to digest for younger audiences.
There is some great information out there on TikTok shared by crypto enthusiasts, however, there is also inaccurate information and scams, so users have to be very careful about the source.
Using short form video, creators on TikTok are able to translate difficult cryptocurrency concepts in a simple way that is appealing to Gen Z. Enterprising influencers have realised where their audience is, and have capitalised on that.
Creators can utilise cryptocurrency – specifically non fungible tokens
As well as social media platforms such as TikTok presenting as the perfect place for influencers and crypto enthusiasts to share information about the latest crypto trends, due to the nature of the influencer industry being based online, crypto is something that can be utilised by a broad range of creators.
Anita is extremely well informed about ‘non fungible tokens’ (NFT), and is able to provide some insight into how we may begin to see more use of NFT in the creator sphere. NFTs are another form of blockchain-based assets like Bitcoin (BTC). The “non-fungible” part means it cannot be exchanged for something of equal value (unlike BTC, cash is fungible, i.e. I can give you two $5 bills for one $10 bill). Specifically, an NFT is a collectable digital asset that one can create and sell online to third parties. An NFT can be anything: a digital work of art, music file, video clip, gif, or even a tweet.
Anita believes that we can anticipate creators to begin, at a minimum, issuing NFTs as a limited-edition collectible digital ‘merch’ option for fans, collectors, and investors. Creators will be able to determine the quantity of NFTs issued for a given item, creating a market of demand as certain NFTs will be scarce, and not everyone can buy them. Certain fans will love to have a limited copy of an item only they can enjoy.
As the popularity of crypto and the opportunities that it allows continue to grow, we can expect to see more content surfacing on TikTok – helping us to digest it further. At present, the hashtag #cryptocurrency has 1.3 billion views on the app, telling us that there is a real appetite for this type of content.
It would be great to hear from you, our readers, about whether you follow any creators who are great at breaking down the complexities of cryptocurrency, aiming to educate and engage their audiences about the latest trends. Please reach out to Talking Influence journalist, Neve Fear-Smith, on LinkedIn as it would be great to continue this conversation as the industry continues to boom.