Cryptocurrency Bloodbath Does Not Wash Out Blockchain Fantasy

Photo by Andre Francois on Unsplash

It was a bloodbath for cryptocurrencies last week, with total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies plummeted to below USD200B again since last November. The bear trend can be traced back since the start of 2018, when both Bitcoin and Ethereum hit their all time highs, near to USD20,000 and USD1,400 respectively. The worse is, prices of many tokens have fallen by more than 90% from the peak.

Many of us have been desperate, some of the conservativists talked to us that “blockchain has no future”. But where is blockchain now? Has it been vanished and no longer worthed a single penny, or if blockchain has no usage at all? Below are my views as a blockchain project lead in technology and marketing perspectives.

The Technology

Many pioneers have already created a handful of blockchain protocols, from the classic Bitcoin to Ethereum, IOTA, NEO, Hyperledger, NEM, EOS, Wanchain and more. Scalability (faster processing) and interoperability (multi-blockchains communication) have gradually perceived to be actionable items instead of buzzwords and there are numerous project teams working on them.

It is not easy for project teams to find blockchain engineers now because the supply has not been picked up yet to match the explosive demand, but at the same time it is not extremely hard for a software developer to acquire his/her blockchain skillset and transform himself/herself into a full-stack blockchain developer. Most of the blockchain protocols are open-source with detailed documentations, not to mention a lot of online courses, YouTube and other video tutorials for guidance.

When access of information is easy, technical breakthrough is likely to be faster. The past years’ claim of “there is still a long way for blockchain technology to develop” may not be valid anymore.

Call-to-action: If you are a software developer working on mobile apps and websites, I suggest you now opening your web browser, learning about coding for blockchain, otherwise, you will probably be left behind by a lot of new joiners such as this 15-year-old, the current youngest certified blockchain developer.

The Marketing

In a technology adoption curve, there are five types of users, the innovators, the early adopters, the early majority, the late majority and the laggards. For a technological trend (or any other trends) to become popular, the roles of innovators and early adopters are crucial because they are the core groups to spread the message. Look at the Harvard’s Kirkland House dormitory for Facebook or the die hard fanboys for Apple.

Why do innovators and early adopters endorse a particular trend? The answer is actually quite simple — they find this “very cool”. In other words, most of them cannot tell you a logical explanation, because it is all about feelings, as innovators and early adopters are usually people who are exceptional.

For all kind of trends that we have come across, blockchain technology does sounds “very cool” to its innovators and early adopters — a distributed ledger to record the transaction and/or state history, a proof of work (stake) consensus mechanism to reward the miners and validators to immune from authoritarian control, a new trust reliance justified by lines of codes but not law and order, and an open platform for people to ask for support to realize their dreams.

In my opinion, the most important thing for blockchain mass adoption now is to gather all the innovators and early adopters together, create a strong bonding within the community. Early adopters are often super-connectors or key opinion leaders for a trend, either they get along well with many social connections, or they provide a lot of information and recommendations to others.

Only a small amount of people are capable with it, as Malcolm Gladwell stated: “The success of any kind of social epidemic is heavily dependent on the involvement of people with a particular and rare set of social gifts.”. Treasure your chance of being a blockchain early adopter because you have been walking a lot faster than the ordinary majority.

Call-to-action: If you are an early adopter, I suggest you going out more often to meet other people with similar traits and mindsets, not just always stare at your smartphone and refresh for market prices. Sometimes it will be lucky enough to meet a technical partner and you two will build a new blockchain application together.

The Future Is Noisy

None of us are able to predict the future, and you do not know if it is a decline or an overshoot now. There are a lot of noises in the trading market, and little about the fundamentals. To live with a depressed market sentiment, we all have to keep calm and have faith. Focus on the technological applications which is the intrinsic value, but not on the prices. I have high hopes for the future of blockchain, how about you?

Originally published at LinkedIn.

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Co-Founder at Decentralized Machine Learning. Transforming technology into better lives.

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Michael Kwok

Michael Kwok

Co-Founder at Decentralized Machine Learning. Transforming technology into better lives.

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