The Great Hunger ☠️
Over a century after the Black Death devastated Europe, its population stagnated below pre-plague levels. Frequent famine was a major culprit.
Europe’s poor were desperate for a dependable source of calories they could afford.
When Spanish ships returned from the Andes with silver, they brought with them the humble potato (presumably as food for the journey).
Due to their odd appearance, rumours quickly spread that potatoes caused leprosy. Some countries even banned human consumption in the name of public safety. Besides, no self-respecting person would eat something that grew in the dirt!
It would ultimately take the clever tactics of a French agronomist named Parmentier, who had survived on potatoes as a POW in Prussia, to alleviate concerns and sway public opinion.
Parmentier concocted a series of publicity stunts which included convincing French royalty (Louis XVI🤴 and Marie Antoinette👸) to wear the potato flower and serving potato dishes to a visiting Benjamin Franklin🇺🇸.
Social acceptance by the masses eventually followed, supported by a new and growing field of nutritional science.
“By feeding rapidly growing populations, [the potato] permitted a handful of European nations to assert dominion over most of the world between 1750 and 1950.”
The Imitation Game
Bitcoin may currently be experiencing its Marie Antoinette moment, as social proof has been consistently building over the past few years.
From Jack Dorsey and Reid Hoffman to Cathie Wood and Paul Tudor Jones, titans of industry are endorsing Bitcoin as a technology key to a prosperous future.
When The Tide Turns 🌊
In the context of Bitcoin, social proof performs the valuable task of efficiently dispelling fear, uncertainty & doubt at scale.
"Since 95 percent of the people are imitators and only 5 percent initiators, people are persuaded more by the actions of others than by any proof we can offer." -
Radically new things will always be met with skepticism and caution by the general public. It's only when opportunity cost becomes too great that behaviour flips.
Capital allocators face career risk for betting on new technologies too early in their adoption curves. Endorsements from respected individuals with domain-expertise can signal the legitimacy of an opportunity.
"Paul Tudor Jones validates it for other hedge fund managers, hedge fund managers validate it for sovereign-wealth funds, sovereign-wealth funds will validate it for central banks." - Naval Ravikant