Generation C was born out of the 2008-9 financial crisis, when Satoshi Nakamoto used a January 3, 2009 headline in The Times, “Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks,” in the Genesis block of Bitcoin.
The emergence of shared economies
“Traditional financial and government institutions suddenly seemed incompetent and illegitimate,” says Lana Swartz, an assistant professor of media studies at the University of Virginia, about the impact of the financial collapse. Alternative economic efforts such as the “shared economy” have emerged, bringing in companies like Airbnb in 2008 and Uber in 2009 and boosting the concert economy. In addition, the first iPhone was released in 2007, along with the M-Pesa mobile payment system. All this paved the way for bitcoins and digital currencies.
Bitcoins and basic blockchain technologies have spurred countless innovations, from altcoins to central bank digital currencies and decentralized communities providing grants to developers around the world. But the new technology has also brought speculators who want to capitalize on this new blockchain technology – not to mention companies from large banks to Walmart, which now run private blockchains to facilitate payments and monitor the supply chain.
Two groups of investors
As the number of people involved in blockchain and cryptocurrencies grew, those who pursued what they considered Satoshi’s original vision remained on the sidelines, still influenced by cyber punk and cryptonanarchist thinking that helped shape Bitcoin and his white paper. Two groups appeared among the people involved in the crypto-universe, says Swartz. On the one hand, people who see bitcoins mainly as preserve of value “unlike fallen government institutions” – libertarian preppers – who are waiting for another collapse. And on the other hand, those who have primarily adopted a decentralized blockchain infrastructure that is evolving freely with somewhat utopian dreams of the future of technology.
People who carry Satoshi’s legacy seem to have something in common. They think and act differently from the masses, take institutionalized systems as faulty, and sometimes function completely outside of traditional financial systems. They see the world differently, they travel often and their colleagues are all over the world. According to a 2018 survey by the Global Web Index, cryptocurrency holders share key characteristics: They are “ambitious consumers, accepting increased risk and having a strong sense of personal agenda.” Krista Steele, a recruiter who works for blockchain companies, says of blockchain professionals: “They are flexible and innovative – willing to work from anywhere.”
Ready for a pandemic
Due to their approach and social structures, many members of Generation C were prepared for a pandemic. In a world that does not have a cash-borne disease, many have long been fighting for contactless payment systems. When the Fed prints money, digital currency holders can feel safe with their savings.