“The past is gone, but something might be found to take its place.”
– Hey Jealousy, The Gin Blossoms
I was talking with a friend about mine all about the crypto, and he asked, “Do you think it’s real? Or, has the bubble popped, and it’s all gone now?”
When I looked at crypto 10 years ago, all I saw was bitcoin, which is essentially a meme coin in that it doesn’t ‘do’ anything. It exists just to exist. The entire crypto-world was trying to figure out what to do with it – without a ton of success. If you look in the way back machine, you can find people looking for things like the first instance of stable Coins, or notions of registries taking the space of other registries, like rand registries or stock registries, but this was all very vague, and tended not to go anywhere.
Then, Ethereum launched and had a moment in 2017 during a major bull run-up. I remember looking at many of the ICOs (not often with different names) and thinking, “this doesn’t make sense.” I would read whitepapers and think – either I don’t understand this whitepaper, or the author doesn’t understand it, or both. As time would tell, it was both.
Yet, we saw more and more that did make sense. Ethereum allowed for many innovations in DeFi and NFTs. I remember when first explaining NFTs that I would bring up crypto-kitties (which I still own). Crpyto-kitties seemed crazy at the time, but with the emergence of the meta-verse, it now seems amazingly prescient for how we would own and trade items in it. In addition, the DeFi ideas seemed crazy, until uniswap came out with something that made sense. And now, the DEXs and lending and other DeFi prjojects are coming into their own.
In addition, problems start to be solved. For example, the cost of using Ethereum has always been significant, but in the last year has become crazy, as many of us experienced. To this, new L1s like Solana, and L2s are emerging to solve this problem, while others now argue that the cost of Ethereum is a feature, not a bug – because so much of the value of L1 is realized by its token holders, with the appreciation of their tokens.
As we move forward in crypto, we can see some great use cases emerging to redo finance at the moment, and many strong teams focused on newer use cases. In addition, we see emergence of crypto solutions to crypto problems (like Solana for the cost of Ethereum). All this is incredibly good for the ecosystem. In addition, there are tens of billions of dollars pouring in to finance and invest in all of this.
But, there are still major questions outstanding, many of which I’m excited to see the answer for:
- Who accrues the value for the L1? Is it the token holders? Someone else? How much should be accrued?
- When is a major site truly a DAO, and not just promising or hoping to be a DAO? How do DAOs work in actual practice vs. theoretically in a whitepaper?
- When will NFTs actually be used for the use cases that they promise? Can they ever be replacements for tickets to soccer match, or portable characters across the metaverse? Or, will they remain characters in awful video games?
- When will strong crypto-use cases emerge beyond DeFi? What is next?
So, with all of this, I say stay tuned. We’re still much closer to the beginning than the middle, and much of the past will be replaced.