Explain Bitcoin to a 9-year old

Every day I get asked the same question: How does Bitcoin work? Usually I give a Mouse TV-style explanation because most people don`t understand tech talk.

Still, Bitcoin is not an easy matter to wrap your mind around. For this very reason I have written a simple narrative.

So if you want to explain Bitcoin technology to a 9-year old, I have a short story for you. But first, kudos to Tony on Quora. His idea about cryptocurrency and the blockchain working like piggy banks prompted me to write ‘Bugs Bunny and the Bitcoin fairy tale’. It goes like this: 

Once upon a time, there was a group of piggy banks living on cloud nine. They were very lovely and people liked to pet them. One day, Bugs Bunny came along, and he was terribly hungry. He needed a little bit of money to buy some food. Now, there was a little girl called Satoshi. She had some savings, and decided to give the key of her piggy bank to the starving bunny. That was not only really nice of Satoshi, but also a very smart move because the key carried a chain saying how much Bugs Bunny was allowed to take out. You see, she wanted to give him some money, but not all of her money.

All of the piggy banks on cloud nine were made out of glass, so they were completely see through. Everyone could see how many coins there were in the piggy banks at all times. If there was a burglar trying to break in to steal the coins, people would easily spot it and catch the thief in the act. The whole village was involved, which is why there was no need for big banks on cloud nine - only piggy banks. Some dwellers who were saving their cash on cloud nine were even able to make a bit of pocket money by looking after the piggy banks.

Bugs Bunny grew excited at the thought of munching on a yummy carrot and leapt for joy. He reached for the key, and as soon as he touched it, magically, his face and ears became invisible. He hopped around on cloud nine, but nobody could see his face or ears! Everyone could still see through the glass walls of the piggy banks though. Satoshi and all the neighbors could see which piggy bank the bunny touched, and which he opened. It was the one with a chain around its neck that looked exactly like the keychain he got from the girl. As the bunny unclipped the chain from the piggy bank’s neck, he found the exact amount of money needed to purchase carrots.

All of the sudden, the piggy bank started to whisper: “Bugs Bunny, I know a secret trick!”, and the astonished bunny asked, “Eh, what’s up, Porky?” The piggy bank patiently explained: “You can leave the coins with me so you don’t have to drag the money around.” The voice of the piggy bank was so wonderful that Bugs Bunny was all ears. After some time twitching his ears in thought, and remembering that everyone was watching, he asked himself: “Should I really leave the coins behind?’’  Our bunny was clever, so he decided to trust the piggy bank and jumped off cloud nine becoming instantly visible again.

Bugs Bunny went straight to the greengrocer and told him the whole story. The merchant was totally amazed, but being a wise man, he asked a few neighbors if the story was true, and once confirmed, he quickly agreed to barter the key for a tasty carrot. In seconds, the greengrocer owned the money in the piggy bank. From that day on, Bugs Bunny told anyone who was willing to listen about his adventure on cloud nine while munching on shiny orange carrots. At the end, he always repeated his mantra: “Of course, you realize this means Bitcoin! That’s all there is to it folks!” and they lived happily ever after.


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