The crypto revolution has been thwarted by the old guards for now. But more importantly, its progress has been impeded by focusing on the esoteric ideals and constant bickering amongst its leaders, too much energy has been wasted on the attempts to storm the Bastille and overthrow the old order instead of building bridges. However, the race is not always to the swift, there is still time to make amends.
The Hare was soon far out of sight
The adoption of blockchain technology has been advancing by the two (at times distinct, at times, overlapping) communities: crypto community and corporate community. In the beginning, it was all about the crypto revolution, as the creators of this technology and its early proselytes came from this sphere. It took the corporate world a while to notice this new technology and to understand its potential benefits, as well as its power to disrupt their existing business models. However, once it did, the race was on; and as of the first half of 2018, the crypto community was in the lead.
In late 2017 – early 2018 it appeared that the world was on track to embrace the “crypto revolution”. In the anticipation of the introduction of the bitcoin futures on the CME, the price of bitcoin jumped from $6,000 to almost $20,000 in just over a month. Ether “mooned” a month later, all the way to $1,500. And money was being thrown at ICOs like tomatoes at La Tomatina.
The stars were aligning for a major upheaval, the two stars in particular – adoption by traditional institutions (CME Futures, Institutional Investments, BaaS) and creation of the alternative crypto universe (ICOs). The latter were going to decentralize and tokenize every existing business model – Amazon, Uber, Airbnb, eBay, Netflix, marijuana, medicine (there is even a special coin for the dentistry – Dentacoin, whose market cap at some point exceeded $2 billion), banks, e-sports, gambling, flying machines – in addition to numerous blockchain protocols designed to target every industry.
And although looking back, much of it may seem naive and even comical; in reality, there are only two ways for the crypto to grow: top-down or bottom-up. I.e., traditional corporate world adopting crypto or crypto startups creating an alternative crypto universe where bitcoin is the official currency and “political money” is frowned upon.
No man is an island
However, in practice, both must happen. A crypto universe without any ties to the real world may be a very distant dream.
No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
From time to time, even a “bitcoin maximalist” needs fiat. To illustrate a point, we have a very simple example below.
Alice, Bob, and Claudia.
This is as basic as it gets and yet there is no way for these three individuals to complete the full transactional cycle without such traditional institutions as banks being in the middle. And although there have been a plethora of projects promising to establish a crypto bank, any bank, whatever the prefix, as long as it holds fiat money on its books will by necessity be rooted in the traditional world as it will fall under numerous financial regulations. And those regulations are formulated and enforced by governments, i.e. – central authority. Perhaps, the only entity that elicits more animus in the heart of a true crypto enthusiast than the banks… or maybe not. And yet, without a peaceful coexistence with the banks, regulators, and governments, the crypto revolution will flounder.
A Hare was making fun of the Tortoise one day for being so slow
Meanwhile, the corporate world has been persistently plugging away and more importantly building. There is no lack of external or internal investing in blockchain technology. Moreover, while the crypto community often seems to be populated by adults who forgot to grow up, who constantly engage in immature feuds and even resort to outright cannibalistic fratricide; the corporate world has been building bridges and industry-wide consensus, applying blockchain technology to real-life cases.
Such giants as Microsoft, IBM and Amazon have been at the forefront of the corporate adoption of this technology. While IBM is only offering various flavors of Hyperledger BaaS, Microsoft, in addition to Hyperledger, is offering Ethereum and Corda. Amazon will be adding Ethererum to its offering, and such tech giants as Oracle and Cisco have already entered the space too. Recently, IBM in partnership with Columbia University has established a Columbia-IBM Center for Blockchain and Data Transparency which will run two accelerators focused on the blockchain startups founded by Columbia University students and students from other New York City universities. The greater engagement of academia will become an integral part of the advancement of this technology.
The revolution has failed, at least for now. It’s time to gather stones and embrace the evolutionary path. Short-term, most of the ICOs will not deliver, not necessarily because they were a scam (it’s quite amusing how the opposites converge here – in the eyes of both bitcoin maximalists and many mainstreamers, the ICOs are a scam by definition), and not because the funds they had raised have depreciated, but because their success was contingent on the creation of this alternative crypto universe. It’s a domino effect. Out of hundreds of the ICO’s that were launched over the last 18 months, the only niche that has a good chance of surviving and thriving is various blockchain protocols. As their success doesn’t fully depend on the dawn of the crypto revolution.
The race is not always to the swift
While there is no way to sugar coat the ongoing collapse of the crypto market where almost $700 billion of value has been lost, hopefully, it can serve as a cathartic cleansing which will purge the speculators and let those who are left standing to go back to the basics, with a focus on building DApps that solve real-world problems and attract users, instead of just focusing on niche products that have no utility.
This evolutionary path will require the formation of a healthy ecosystem which will include many divergent players who would have to learn to play together. This will be a challenge for the crypto revolution which is permeated with the belligerent attitude. Whereas the corporate world is fully capable of advancing this technology without any collaboration from the crypto sphere, the latter without this change, will remain a sociopolitical niche addicted to self-righteousness and imbued with bitterness towards the outside world, resorted to an autarchy.
Crypto/Blockchain Value Chain.