‘Blockchain’ Doesn’t Have to Mean Cryptocurrency

The year is 2019, and every time I read a whitepaper for some new blockchain platform featuring a glamorous ICO, I think to myself: why?

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Surely not just a cynical cash grab?

Networks built on blockchains are intended to be decentralised and tamper-proof. The most obvious implementation of this tech is in digital currencies, hence the inseparability of ‘blockchain’ and ‘crypto’.

Because DLT networks typically use impervious tokens to perform transactions, it’s a simple matter to just foster a connection between them and Real World Value Tokens (aka money).

But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you set up a homebrew network in your dorm room with a stack of Rasperry Pi’s and a custom blockchain and call it DudeCoin, and proceed to simply send nonsense messages between the nodes whilst dozily mining blocks, you haven’t made a currency per se, despite having technically stockpiled a supply of crypto-tokens.

So in 2019, I’m frustrated because the biggest blockchain gaming dApps are pretty lame. They’re basically veiled currency exchanges. Developers seem to be obsessed with the idea of incorporating granular monetisation into their projects - ‘this game is built on a blockchain and uses this currency to perform every minute action!’.

All too often, as elucidated in the link above, the tech is utilised in the most pointless fashion.

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So where's the value in crypto?

We don't actually know yet. Cryptocurrency markets now behave much in the same way as financial markets with a few caveats.

A major one is the prominence of the 'noob investor', aka. retail investor, who often bring a final last-gasp pump into a coin after smart money is preparing to exit, which leaves new buyers 'holding the bag' for the harsh correction that usually follows.

Something that everyone should be aware of is the highly volatile and unsound nature of cryptocurrency speculation. Normal financial markets are, whilst still unpredictable, founded upon speculation that is at least backed by historic data.

With crypto, we're deep into uncharted waters. What this means is that many people either stand to gain or lose a lot of money in the next few years.

The solution? Trust no one, throw £10 into the ring and forget about it. We shouldn't be encouraging the proliferation of cryptocurrencies for projects that have no real business case for creating one.

And for all the retail investors: people are out there who want your money; whether to fund their startup, fill their bags on a project they have inside information on, or any other number of nefarious causes.

Much, much bigger forces are at play than we can really understand. Let them play while us mere mortals focus on what's important: trying to help blockchain fulfil its potential as a truly decentralised technology.

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