When we talk about crypto, we frequently talk about solving the world's most pressing problems. We speak of banking the un-banked, establishing a more equitable financial system, and decentralizing traditional power structures. All of that is important, and many people, like myself, were drawn to the cryptocurrency world because of the promise that it offers for a better future. At the same time, I am sure that many of you may have heard the saying that you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar, and sometimes one of the best ways of onboarding new users is to present crypto in a less serious manner. Banano is a fun-focused meme-coin that provides a lighthearted, interesting way to introduce crypto to people who might not otherwise have tried it. It is fast, fun, and free, so why not check it out?
One look at Banano's website makes it clear that this crypto is all about fun and providing an easy intro to crypto. The flying bananas and "potassium-rich" nature of the crypto makes it clear that the project is designed to be all about fun.
Is This a Joke?
To be honest, when I was first introduced to Banano, I didn't see the point. To me, it seemed like a bit of a joke. How could a crypto that constantly pokes fun at itself and has a machine wielding banana in its whitepaper (actually they call it a yellow paper as homage to the "Banano" name) ever hope to compete with coins like ETH or BTC that have serious goals, devoted developers, and a strong history of results?
Although I didn't believe that Banano had the potential of unseating BTC as the reigning king of crypto, I still followed the project for the simple fact that they host lots of giveaways and the wacky nature of the project makes for some good laughs from time to time. And then one day it dawned on me, Banano isn't meant to compete with serious cryptos for market share or even to be a high-earning investment; it's designed to be a fun, free way to get people interested in crypto. Now that I have realized the true purpose of Banano, I have come to see the project in a different light and actually appreciate the somewhat childish nature of the project as an incredible marketing strategy.
But Now I'm A Believer
Recognizing that Banano is designed to promote adoption, as opposed to seriously competing for market share, I'd like to highlight a few key features of the project and why they are successful in their own way. In my opinion, there are three key features which make Banano an ideal crypto for onboarding new users. Banano is free, fun, and fast.
For many potential users, cost is a major barrier that prevents them from getting started in crypto. Let's suppose that after a long, lengthy discussion, you convince one of your friends that Bitcoin is the money of the future. That's great, but where does your friend go from there? They would have to spend some of their own hard earned money to purchase Bitcoin. Well, even before they spend their own money, they would have to fork over all of their personal information to an exchange like Coinbase or Kraken. A free crypto is the ideal way to introduce newbies because it means they don't have to spend their own money, and just as important, they don't have to give up their sensitive info to a company in order to purchase their first coins.
Free transactions are also important because Banano is designed as a tipping currency. Having low transaction fees encourages users to share Banano and increases its circulation. With Banano, users can send a small micro-tip without incurring fees, but, at the time of writing, even sending a few cents worth of an ERC-20 based token would cost about 13 cents. That's not a huge amount, but it doesn't really make sense to spend 13 cents to send a micro-tip that is worth less than a fraction of a cent. The fee-less nature of Banano encourages users to tip each other and spread the crypto which is exactly what you want in a crypto designed for newbies. You want them to get lots of practice sending and receiving transactions and seeing that the crypto transaction system works.
At some point, I think every crypto newbie will "lose" some of their coins. Despite all the crypto veterans that told me to back up my seed phrases, I lost about $20 worth of BAT when my phone got soaked in an unexpected thunderstorm. Of course, many like Peter Schiff, will forget their passwords and lose their crypto. Still others will unfortunately leave their funds on an exchange and be a victim of some hack. Losing crypto that you had to buy with your own money can be a huge setback, and may even convince people to give up on crypto all together. It seems that the Banano team recognizes that losing some crypto is almost a rite of passage within the community and specifically mentions the fact that loosing a free "meme-coin" is much better than loosing a crypto that a newbie had to actually pay for.
Although Banano is primarily designed as a meme-coin, it still has some impressive technology backing it. Whereas Bitcoin has an average block time of 10 minutes, uses immense energy, and has high fees, sending Banano is fee-less, near instantaneous, and uses very little electricity. It is able to achieve this impressive feat by making use of DAG Technology. DAG stands for Directed Acyclic Graph and is a fascinating development that dramatically increases the speed of crypto transactions. It is an interesting alternative to traditional blockchains and an impressive accomplishment in its own right, but I don't want to get too far off topic. The takeaway is that DAG is fast.
In my opinion, fast, fee-less transactions are incredibly helpful for on boarding new users. Fast transactions mean that two friends can instantly send Banano to each other and see the resulting balance changes in their wallets. It also means that users can instantly see that money earned from a Banano faucet has actually been deposited into their account. I know when I first started in crypto, I would wait for several minutes for a transaction to process, all the while wondering whether or not I had actually done everything correctly. Fast transfer speeds allow newbies to stop worrying and instantly see that the technology behind sending crypto actually works.
What is more likely to grab your attention: a detailed, mathematical, explanation of how Bitcoin mining works and how rewards are distributed or a bunch of Banano Paratroopers jumping in to save the world and provide free rewards to meme posters?
The underlying mathematics behind crypto are incredibly important, and some people will be drawn to cyrpo specifically for the sake of its intricate mathematical and cryptological underpinnings. At the same time, the vast majority of us understand the world at a highly abstracted level. I think it is cool that my motorcycle goes fast, but I could care less what the compression ratio of the engine is. I like having a computer to play games on, but I hardly ever worry about what architecture my CPU is. Seeing cartoon monkeys passing bananas back and forth instead of simply staring at digits of a public and private key makes it seem like users are part of a cartoon or a game. Fun sells. That's why candy comes in brightly colored packages. There are a lot of great cryptos with solid use cases, but I think Banano presents a much-needed way of increasing adoption by making crypto interesting and exciting.
Banano isn't going to wrest the reigns of financial power from the big banks, and it isn't going to fuel the decentralized financial revolution. But that's not what it is designed to do. Its purpose is to be a fun, wacky way to get people involved in crypto. I think that Banano is an ideal crypto for that purpose because it is free, fun, and fast.
Note: Banano also has a more serious side, and users can "mine" Banano by providing computing power and helping medical researches run protein folding simulations on Folding@home. This distributed computing platform application assigns users a small chunk of the overall computing power and even allows users to choose which diseases they would like to focus on. I think its a great way to make use of idle computer resources, help the medical community, and you even get a little bit of Banano for your efforts.