Crypto’s ongoing crisis is an opportunity for realignment


It’s not a great day to be in cryptocurrency. You’ve probably seen an article (or 20) about it. Perhaps you were on Twitter, as our critics gleefully babbled on every headline, each headline more ominous than the next. To be fair, things are going badly. Broken, collapsed, erased, submerged, destroyed, and imploded are the spoken verbs in most coverage, and are not used incorrectly or exaggeratedly. There is no positive trend for the week as his $400 billion worth evaporated. Even for people who are more adamant about buying divers and diamond believers who feed detractors and never say die, it’s terrible out there.

I’m not interested in proving a dip-buying case or holding back forever and going into, say, storing gold bullion in an underground bunker. But I see this massive, angry, frenzied market that we find ourselves in as an opportunity for some much-needed course correction. I’ve argued before that the crypto space in general has lost plot, abandoning the revolutionary frontier potential of decentralized finance to an inescapable horde of dumb-looking monkeys. I’m not the only person in crypto who feels this way, let alone the most notable. Vitalik Buterin made similar points in his widely read profile in the March 2022 issue of Time magazine.

Consequences and consequences come
Twitter is never a great sample of the audience, but given the deplorable state of the public reputation of cryptocurrencies, it is not incomprehensible or even unexpected that this collapse has been met with derision and schadenfreude by people outside the space. From rampant scams to ugly non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to carbon-spewing mining, we’ve given the outside world plenty of reasons not to just be suspicious of cryptocurrencies. Many people still think that we are a bunch of tasteless brothers floundering in the unregulated stock market tradition that paid off. Even before this crash, some writers and publications openly speculated that the bursting of the crypto bubble would push a group of mostly male, newly fractured, deeply disillusioned people toward fascism and away from democratic values, and thus society.

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Whether you agree with this point or not – and I certainly do not – it speaks to the dire state of the overall picture of cryptocurrencies. Something has gone horribly wrong when journalists in well-read political publications, whatever their bias, make compelling arguments remotely for a pipeline from cryptography to fascism.

I’d probably scream into the void here, since lack of regulation is very much the point of coding, and unregulated spaces will always and inevitably generate bad actors. But folks, we should definitely bring it together.

We commit ourselves to a higher standard
Let’s do something interesting with coding. Let’s use cryptocurrencies to make people’s lives better, more enjoyable and easier. Let’s stop spending nefarious amounts of money on NFT projects that only existed and, in most cases, eventually crashed. It is not about civil liability or altruism. When did we become unambitious? When did we become so self-involved, motivated only by profit, and concerned only with solving isolationist problems? When did we become incredibly boring? In the birthplace of cryptocurrency, the mood was a positive utopia. Now, there is nothing but, even among people who were once true believers. Do we really lean so easily?

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Post-crash coding needs to be better, smarter, and more creative. We must invest in projects and currencies that enable a renewable economy, support much-needed natural ecosystems, make our cities smarter and more resilient, promote green energy, streamline supply chains, and fit into the investment portfolios of ordinary people. We must think more. I know suggesting such a thing is a foolish undertaking, but perhaps we should consider cooling it down by chasing yields and dreams of rags to riches without work. We must find ways to separate crypto more meaningfully from the whims of the stock market, which is a big part of how we ended up in this crash disaster. Aren’t we supposed to remove the middlemen who extracted so much value from this little guy? We are not here to build a new Wall Street designed to make rich insiders even richer.



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