Please click the link below to listen to the 53rd episode of my weekly crypto podcast ‘Two Minute Crypto.’ These are intended to be short, single-topic ramblings on some aspect of the cryptosphere. Comments and critiques welcome.
External Podcast Links
Two Minute Crypto – Can Crypto Fail?
Welcome to Two Minute Crypto. Today’s episode examines the idea of crypto being a failed experiment destined for the ‘ah well’ ideas bin of history. Well, It’s possible, right? Right? No, no not at all.
Of course, in absolute terms anything is possible but setting aside cataclysmic events that wind back the tech clock – crypto is here to stay.
While it’s true that history is indeed littered with good ideas that went nowhere – the ideas phase of crypto is long past. For over a decade now we have seen a blockchain store and transact value without the need for permission from any central authority. This is powerful juju. Bitcoin has survived many trials and tribulations from exchange hacks to hard forks. While elegant design, a fortuitous genesis, and communal efforts have all played their part – it is the proof of concept that has supported BTC through each and every struggle it has faced. By proof of concept, I mean, man for the first time I history now has the means to transfer value across time and space without the need of a permission-giving middleman. There is no harbour master, no caravaneer, no border official, no bank notary. If you will it and you possess Bitcoin – you may now move wealth as you wish. Sure, there’s a fee, a toll if you like and miners which process transactions but this is procedural -automatic – no documents or permission are required.
Now Bitcoin may well fail. Indeed, every iteration of blockchain currently in the market may fail but the genie is most certainly out of the bottle. Believing that crypto will disappear assumes that people will simply abandon permissionless, value transfer and meekly return to the bank and state-dominated fold. Given the fundamental shift in financial autonomy that crypto offers, it is exceedingly unlikely that the tech itself would be abandoned even if the first generations of this tech were all to fail. I mean it’s possible, but when you ponder it, is it likely?
Now what is likely is that crypto will fork into two distinct implementations – one decentralized and empowering, the other state-controlled and dystopian. As with any technological innovation, it is as open to abuse as holistic use. China is already well on its way to rolling out a state-issued cryptocurrency – one which will no doubt aim to further increase its control over its citizens. State crypto will allow the government to track, coerce and punish those who would oppose it. Imagine a future where you post a comment in a chatroom, only to find yourself locked out of your own accounts…and unable to spend your ‘own ‘money all at the push of a button or the whim of some automated surveillance software…that day is nigh.
Concurrently, we will see the further development of decentralized networks for the storing and transacting of value – empowering both the individual and the economies of which they are part. In the coming years, both iterations of crypto will flourish in some cases within the same jurisdictions. As to the victor – decades lie between us and that outcome.
Thanks for listening.