If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.
I have been pondering about this quote and trying to apply it to almost anything I claim to understand. Trying to explain things simply is a very hard task. Attempting to explain things to a six-year-old may be even more challenging as, in their quest to understand, they will ask the simplest, but hardest questions to answer simply and concisely. Challenging yourself to explain what you think you understand in simple terms and iterating to make it simpler and simpler every iteration its a great exercise for your mind and will question your understanding.
A few months ago, i published Bit-Que? Bit-What? The first bi-lingual Children’s Bitcoin Book. I currently have two small children and one night while reading to them, i realized that; well, I could write a book similar to the ones we read nightly, but about Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. I embarked on this task, only to realize that it was a very hard job. I must have written over 50 sentences to try to explain in simple terms what is Bitcoin, how is this crypto created, stored, used and so on. Then, i went back and try to make it simpler and simpler until I was satisfied. The task took several weeks and I was never fully satisfied. But hey, sometimes you just have to let it go and show it to the world.
Today, as cryptocurrencies and all the new technologies surrounding blockchain become more cumbersome, I wonder how can we explain them to our little kids so they can start grasping the foundation of what these technologies are and will mean for their future. As more blockchain protocols are being launched and utilized, i wonder certain things such as: how long will these technologies be relevant? How long is the cycle of relevancy in this space? Where will they be in 10, 20, 30 years? Is it even possible to know? is it even worth thinking about it?
At the end of the day, money as we know it, is just a way for us to keep track of debits and credits in an efficient way. Blockchain has very simply and efficiently, so far, been able to keep track of transactions in a digital ledger that is immutable, democratic, and elastic. We cant help but wonder when will there be a new and improved way to keep track of pluses and minuses. Every second there seems to be a new iteration that makes a small improvement in the right direction, and that also serves a more specific tracking goal and sometimes for more specific industries. As these technologies become moving targets with new limbs being formed everyday, if we want to be able to explain them in simple terms, I believe we need to find the true fundamentals that are worthy of explaining, because from there more variables will continue to arise and create unimaginable technologies and monetary (tracking) systems.
A good analogy is Music. Music notation is the system used to visually represent aurally perceived music played with instruments or sung by the human voice through the use of written, printed, or otherwise-produced symbols, including notation for durations of absence of sound such as rests. Anyone who understands music notation, will be able to master any instrument a lot easier than those who do not. Those who can understand the foundation of cryptocurrencies and blockchain and able to explain it in lame terms, will be fit to understand any technology that originates from it. And this may become crucial in this new brave digital interconnected world. Not an easy job, but perhaps a necessary one. Crypto education may become one of the fastest growing industries in the world.
My next goal will be to create a children’s book about Blockchain, another one about NFT’s, DeFi, yield farming, Ethereum and so on… But I think I should attempt to continue bringing a weekly newsletter that may help you understand this technology better.