How and why on earth did cryptocurrency become what is is today and should we seriously do something aboout it?
My first thought is - rather fittingly - the genesis block of BTC. Specifically the message: The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks Today, over 10 years later, this kind of message might as well read: Coindesk(dot)com xx/xx/2019 Crypto whales and miners on the brink of a second bailout for cryptocurrency exchanges Bitfinex being perhaps the most iconic example. Losing 850 million USD just like that thanks to transnational government agencies, they faced a similar fate as banks in the housing crisis. Total wipe-out. Just like banks, these monolithic exchanges are too big to fail. Failure would mean a global financial crisis in crypto, much like mt.gox. Not that different from the banks that got bailed out by institutions, Bitfinex received the same treatment, except from whales, investment funds, rich corporate entities and such. They covered for the whole loss basically, allowing things to keep operational at least. There wasn't really any demand for another tether, so without it, it could have been an economic meltdown in crypto. Hearing about similar offers made by other rich entities operating in the crypto scene to Binance after their hack, I'm starting to think this has become an even bigger, more common thing with crypto exchanges than it has been with banks. It's rich people in positions of power protecting their own interests, except that in the proper spirit of crypto, it's quite secretive, likely (pseudo)anonymous and way less transparent than what the central banks did. Due to the nature of this technology, it can be hard to grasp what the actions taken by Bitfinex mean. To my understanding, they minted a new coin, LEO (witty name for a token under these circumstances..) and basically just decided it's market cap is 1 billion, then in a private sale, managed to somehow pull off the biggest ever ICO in the history of crypto, 1 billion of funding in just 10 days for what appears to me as basically printing money in order to cover for accounting, as this exclusive club taking part in the sale of LEO committed into buying said tokens using the money Bitfinex previously printed in order to manipulate the markets and profit, USDT that is. Can't remember any ICO in the past where the minimum barrier for an individual to participate was 1 million dollars and for companies, groups, or funds 100+ million. We traded the tyranny of the banking system for a system that eventually reached centralization of power to a much greater degree, accompanied with lack of regulation and oversight which we all welcomed. I have observed and participated in the scene for at least 9 years, so almost from the very beginning, seeing the rise of first altcoins for example and all the crazy phenomena which emerged and how the community dealt with them, evolving in the process. There has been a distinct pattern that can be traced back to these early days, where some group of people would figure out how to use this new technology in all kinds of creative ways which under normal circumstances would have been considered fraud, collusion... all kind of things we did NOT want. So when the majority aka victims became aware, we always protested accordingly. Pre-mined cloned coins that were hyped over social media only so the creators would profit? We decided they were worthless. So these people, having a very lucrative way of essentially scamming people dreaming of moons came up with a solution: there will be no pre-mine, but coins were launched under the radar and only people with power (many BTC) were informed. In case you aren't familiar, when a new minable coin is released and there's only a handful of miners, a significant portion of the tokens in circulation are mined in an insanely fast manner, first 10% of total supply generated in a matter of hours perhaps, giving everyone who managed to mine on the day of launch a major advantage. We decided the secrecy was equally bad and they openly announced these coins, directing masses to use mining pools, only for them to be be under DDOS during the launch. That pattern eventually evolved to ICO's and everything else we see today. Ripping people off in sophisticated enough ways that we put up with it. After all, we could always get lucky from the 'generous' pump & dump groups they were organizing and offering to us. The system may have changed, but the philosophy is the same: people with the most money either as individuals or a group exploiting 'lesser' people and groups, concentrating power (BTC) in the process much akin to 'rich get richer while poor get poorer'. 10 years onwards, thanks to the financial side (trading), the whole crypto economy is still not only using but dependent on market manipulation and all kinds of deceiving schemes. This has been a major obstacle to wide-scale adoption, despite powerful people trying to convince us that manipulating prices to the level of a bubble will lead to people thinking this technology is great and start using it. In reality, many among the general population either had or started having doubts about these bitcoins. Imagine if they tried to sell internet and all of it's possibilities solely through nigerian prince scam spam. Then there's the miners, one of if not the most powerful entity in cryptoscene as a whole. Naturally their power and influence only grew, significant investments were made. I remember conversations with some chinese guy mining LTC back in 2014, he was always like "Yay, the newest shipment of 300 AMD GPU's came straight out the factory". Must have had thousands. Asics had begun dominating BTC mining and they weren't cheap either. Not to mention all that electricity too. Where I'm leading you with this, is the current situation where we have established mining companies with ASICs dedicated solely to BTC mining for efficiency, probably pretty much useless for anything else. Valuations of 100's of millions if not billions at their peak. Then we realized how stupid it is to waste electricity like that when we could do it in a better way, Proof-of-Stake. Instant conflict of interest hindering further innovation due to competition instead of the opposite. The mining giants refuse to go out quietly and many have been mining BTC at a loss (electricity) for a long time now, effectively needing a pump to dump those mined BTC just to cover their operating costs in the past as they naturally didn't want to sell them at a loss. Side-note: I think the current pump is due to a lot of BTC miners quitting and cashing out of BTC in a way that doesn't bankrupt them. To make matters force, they can effectively coerce both whales and crypto exchanges to co-operate in order to pump the prices because if the miners go out of business, everyone utilizing BTC for profit is in big trouble. So if they say they need a pump to dump, they get one. Bail-outs for miners too for christ sake. Luckily, we have alternatives being heavily developed, but I fear for a financial meltdown for crypto before they reach a mature stage. Not a very popular subject to my knowledge, because in the near future, somebody has to pay the bill and this time it ain't covered by taxes collected. This awesome technology has been primarily abused and exploited, with people innovating in the are of 'get-rich-quick' schemes more than the technology itself. Ethereum was supposed to be a paradigm shift, but it became another instrument of the same scheme, even though it helped push tech forward some. Remember that this is a time of decentralization. It's up to us, the collective, to do something about this if we want (or even can for that matter). Ironically, we stuck with the old mindset of 'just wait it out and The Man will fix it for us eventually' which was supposedly a thing of the past. So I ask you: What are your opinions about the current state of affairs in crypto, especially the financial side? Do you feel it's all good and if so, why? Any and all input is welcome. Let's make the scene a better place and show good example to the pagans who doubt us due to our dubious practices in the past and even today, furthering acceptance and adoption instead of laser-point focus on profit to the point the system collapses.
“Bitcoin enables certain uses that are very unique. I think it offers possibilities that no other currency allows. For example the ability to spend a coin that only occurs when two separate parties agree to spend the coin; with a third party that couldn’t run away with the coin itself.” – Pieter Wui (66 points, 14 comments)
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