“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
Closing Time, Semisonic
This image has been going around twitter, and it’s…wow!
2021 was quite a year for funding blockchain start-ups. And 2022 appears to be even bigger. One such start-up, Consensys, recently raised $450m from Microsoft, Softbank and some other (https://www.cnbc.com/2022/03/15/consensys-doubles-valuation-to-7-billion-with-microsoft-backing.html).
Where is all this money going? Well, I think of it as the end of the beginning. Web3 and crypto came from truly nothing, which is highly unusual. Most other technologies, come from something else and builds on top of it, but Web3 did not exist prior to 2009 and Satoshi Nakomoto’s seminal paper on bitcoin. (worth a read, even if you’re not technical — much like reading the US Constitution, even if you’re not a lawyer/government type).
The beginning was what we thought would happen with new technologies. It basically works and we can do some somewhat interesting, but mostly rudimentary things with it. It was hard to use and suffered from all sorts of other problems when compared with alternatives: slow, expensive, inflexible, difficult to develop on. But, there were bits that excited people, and showed promise. And now, we’re starting to see many of the uses come mainstream.
Surprisingly, to me at least, NFTs have become one of the newer mainstream components. While bitcoin has been around for a while, and there are lots of ads shilling bitcoin, this is done mostly as an investment — not so different from trying to persuade people to buy a certain mutual fund or gold. But, NFTs promise other things. They let any promoter come up with something which can be bought/sold which allows the promoter to pump it. This is generally a new concept. Historically, you could buy a small set of things, but they had to be easily physically possessed, and usually had a short lifetime (like tickets to a football game). NFTs take this to a new concept. Anyone can make an NFT, or series of NFTs, and then promote their use. This could be in the metaverse or somewhere in the real universe.
Other interesting uses are starting to emerge, mostly in DeFi. If you have cash sitting around, the yields are much higher on crypto lending for USDC than anywhere near cash. While it can be more complicated, and there are other risks, DeFi effectively allows people with capital access to (mostly) loan out there money and make much more than low yielding treasuries.
We view Concert as one of the more interesting use cases. We have set up a user interface that abstracts much of the complexity of key management and gas fees, and added enterprise controls. You can mint NFTs and manage them, without having to know about the underlying technologies. Check it out and let us know what you think!