Don’t Trust the Growth You’ve Seen In Blockchain – Aaron Ahmadi
We’re seeing massive growth across most aspects of blockchain.
Crypto investors are expanding like cells in mitosis. It seems like a new token project launches every week. Legacy businesses are adopting public, private, and permissioned blockchains across industries. Governments are squabbling (albeit slowly) over how to regulate blockchain and cryptocurrency.
It seems like blockchain is taking the world by storm.
But is it?
Whether you’ve seen Christopher Nolan’s Inception or not, you’ve probably seen the never-ending staircase illusion. It’s usually a closed staircase which appears to infinitely go up, when in reality, it’s either not actually connected (as depicted in the above photo) or one side travels down while from an arial view appears to be going up.
The growth we’re experiencing in blockchain is a bit like this. The industry appears to be growing, and in fact is growing, but in an insular way. More “experts” arise, more investors get interested, more businesses try to understand how to apply it to their infrastructure.
But there are a few reasons why this isn’t a reliable indication of the success of the industry:
- The growth is inward. The industry isn’t expanding, but filling up.
- More projects doesn’t mean more reliable projects. There is an unsettling amount of destructive players joining the game.
- In our fervor and activity, we’ve left out the most important group of people in blockchain. If we don’t correct this soon, it could mean the end of blockchain for a very long time.
These are big claims, so let’s break them down one at a time.
1. Inward Growth
What exactly do I mean by inward growth?
I mean that the spaces within the industry are filling up. The roles and spaces for people within blockchain such as entrepreneurs, developers, marketers, startups, investors, lawyers, and everything in between are being filled with interested professionals.
This is a good thing. As people fill the roles needed to move the industry forward and new roles are created as new needs are discovered, blockchain becomes a more viable, self-sufficient, and profitable business ecosystem.
Where it starts to go awry is when the inward growth isn’t matched by outward expansion. Every industry needs a viable market to interact with. But so far, the money in blockchain and crypto comes from the inside. Crypto investors fund blockchain projects, which fund the industry professionals working those projects. The projects then pay for marketing to have a successful fundraising campaign, and the cycle continues. Events and conferences are hosted, articles are written, casual investors get involved when YouTube crypto authorities get excited about a project.
Money circulates really well within the industry, but that’s not enough. Without proper flow in and out of the industry, it will stagnate, and money will be lost. Think of it like a river: There is a source, a destination, and recycle process of evaporation, rain, and snowfall. Blockchain does not yet have this. It is a muddy pond.
Why? Because we have neglected the most important part of blockchain, which I will explain in point 3.
2. Destructive Players
First, though, let’s finish exploring the problems within the industry before we consider it’s outward flow.
There is a poison in blockchain.
Bad projects are everywhere. I don’t just mean scams, though those are a large portion of them. A bad project can be a scam, where the leaders begin with intent to defraud and take advantage of people, it can be a project led by people who don’t understand blockchain, it can be a project with poor organization and management, or any number of substandard operations.
It’s present in any industry, but its risks decrease drastically as the industry matures. This has yet to happen in blockchain, for multiple reasons.
First, as I reference in this article, bravado, “false expertise”, and a failure to admit what we don’t know leaves us unable to, as a communiyt, intuitively and intimately understand blockchain at the level that is necessary to avoid bad projects. If the majority of people participating in this industry better understood the technology, bad projects would be less of a threat.
And it’s our fault that our community is uninformed. Many of us don’t know how to explain the technology beyond the talking points we’ve memorized. In addition, when we don’t admit what we don’t know, we further propagate misinformation.
For every bad project out there, we all have to accept some responsibility for causing it. Then, we have to educate ourselves and be honest about our skillset. It’s not easy. It makes less money and growth comes slower, but it stops us from being sleazy and allows us to be pioneers in the slow work that is laying the foundation for a real, solid blockchain industry.
Not one of us has clean hands when it comes to allowing bullshit to flood our industry. Even the most intelligent and influential people in blockchain that I have met, people I respect very deeply, are guilty of either lacking openness or failing to explain blockchain in a way outsiders and insiders will care about and benefit from.
This brings us to the third point, and what is the most important point that you will hear about improving this industry.
3. Key People in Blockchain
We have neglected the most important people to blockchain.
I’ll say it again.
We have neglected the most important people.
That’s right. The people, the end-user, the general public, whatever you want to call them. We’ve left them out.
Maybe you haven’t forgotten about them entirely. We theorize, we strategize, and we plan for them. We think about how blockchain and cryptocurrency will revolutionize their lives, we come up with projects and Dapps to solve their problems, and we tell our investors how many people we’re going to save with our platform.
But we have failed miserably at actually including them.
That river analogy I used earlier? They’re the source. They’re the destination. They’re everything. I don’t care how much funding you have, or how good your project is. I don’t even care if you’re planning to solve world hunger and are donating 100% of your profit.
You will fail if they are not included, and included now.
Trust in cryptocurrency and blockchain is still low outside the blockchain community. That’s because understanding is still low.
We have to prioritize, above everything, explaining and helping the public understand blockchain in a way that interests them.
If we don’t have the people on board from the beginning, who will we deliver our product to when we’re ready to launch? We can’t really on an insular community of blockchain enthusiasts to propagate our product.
In addition to that, when was the last time you worried about the regulation of the technology? If you’re paying attention, then it was probably about five minutes ago, because this is a huge issue that will determine the future of blockchain and cryptocurrency. If governments decide to strictly regulate or even ban cryptocurrencies, ICOs, and other aspects of blockchain, that could set the industry and the technology back decades.
But there’s a simple way to ensure favorable regulation:
Get the people on board.
Governments yield to the will of the people. Even totalitarian ones, with enough pressure. The grassroots appeal is more important than anything else in blockchain right now.
Don’t trust the insular growth we’ve seen.
Educate yourselves. Educate the people. Interest the people. Then we’ll experience real growth in this industry.
Thanks for reading. I really appreciate you. We can do this, but only if we focus on what actually matters. If you agree, disagree, or have thoughts or questions, comment! I’d love to hear your feedback, whether it’s positive or negative.
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Published at Sun, 10 Nov 2019 10:20:13 +0000