I was asked a while ago how I would explain Ethereum to a person who knows nothing about it and that question kept resonating with me for days.
Having a first hand experience in different financial systems from developing countries made me consider our ecosystem from a different perspective when trying to empathize with people.
To my Ukrainian friends I would explain how no financial service companies from first world countries could geo block them because they live in a "risky" country. How they can have working payment rails in their websites, similar to services like Paypal which is currently blocked and needs additional intermediaries to be used.
To my Indian friends I would explain how their families saving gold is similar to holding this new kind of bearer money. How if this technology existed during the partition of their country in 1947, their financial possessions would have fitted in a piece of paper and not been completely destroyed.
To my Argentinian and Venezuelan friends I would explain how nobody could take from them their right to save in a hard currency and how they could access world class financial services. Also, how there are safer alternatives than keeping their savings under their mattresses.
To my American friends I would explain that even though they have Venmo, their fintech companies are built on top of really old infrastructure and their innovation is not truly global but limited to the scope and pace of American legislation. How only in America a local wire transfer costs $20 and can take 3 days.
To my German friends I would explain the privacy tools currently available on Ethereum and how they could prevent the surveillance they experienced in the past, protecting them from possible bad actors.
When addressing my Chinese and Korean friends I would emphasize the speculative nature of the price of ether and how it is the best performing asset worldwide during its first 5 years of existence. If they get lucky, their gamble could easily buy the house they dream.
To my Filipino friends I would explain the possibilities of digital identity on Ethereum and how the passport strength could be an obsolete concept in the financial world. How remittance service abuses could also end and make international transfers look like a cash in hand operation.
To my friends from countries with weak rule of law I would introduce them to DAOs where they could create or join profit oriented communities with pre-established rules to collaborate with strangers on the internet.
To my finance savvy friends I would explain how one person made a couple of months ago a decentralized protocol that could replace whole multinational financial companies and allowed the fairest distribution of ownership in any cryptocurrency network. And yes, that's more than a 100X improvement from the legacy system.
The list can go on but my lesson learned is that we process this new technology very differently across countries and at a really different pace. No explanation fits all. We will need many years of boom and bust cycles to finally get people to understand how they will benefit from the neutral, secure, permissionless and decentralized financial system we are building.
A good explanation of Ethereum really depends on a person's background and needs to appeal to their experience, culture and values.