The crypto world is experiencing (yet another) interesting clash between the creators of two of the most visible projects in this space at the moment: Cardano and EOS.
It started with @dan peer-reviewing reviewing the Oroboros protocol of Cardano in this post, then Charles Hoskinson answered here. An interesting contribution to the debate was made by @ned in this comment.
As you already know, I'm not interested in fighting fights that I don't belong to, nor in joining sides of invisible wars and I have a consistent repulsion towards what I ended up calling "Steemit drama". So if you came here to join another virulent word party, you may safely leave now, I'm not going to attack anyone, and I'm not writing this to pretend that I'm right or wrong.
But I do feel the need to share some thoughts related to the point at which we are - or I think we are - right now, in the evolution of the crypto world, form social, technological and financial points of view.
Social: Who Is Using It?
Blockchains are now mainstream. It took less than 9 years since the inception of Bitcoin to reach this point. The technology is now mature, stable and usable, but its "fitness for a particular purpose" (to quote from the MIT license) has yet to be proven. Probably the best example here is the amount of research and work that went into the Turing complete virtual machine of Ethereum, and the explosion of CryptoKitties.
It's like we're using computers monitors to crack coconuts. There is a huge gap between the technological advancement and the actual social penetration. There is this natural inertia that stops any innovation until a critical mass is reached and we can't really overcome this. It's not enough to have a fabulous technology, if nobody uses it. Or, even worse, if people are misusing it.
Accelerating social proof is probably the single most important point of failure of any new blockchain project developed now. Because it's not about how good the technology is, but about what type of problem solves and in what way (i.e. better than other technologies or not?).
Financial: How Fast Can We Agree On Value?
As you probably know, I do believe that all value is made out of thin air. In other words, there is no intrinsic quality of value, and it appears only in interactions between people, based on agreement. So, the fundamental value of anything doesn't come from the processes evaluated, but by the initial agreement of the parties involved.
The speed at which new technologies are launched poses a significant threat here: how much time do we have now to agree on value? Two years ago, Steemit was launched and, in a 2 years time frame, it barely had time to prove a social usability model. We're barely realizing how do we agree on the underlying value of the STEEM token, on a very clear and consistent use case (a social network) and we start to see this in the perceived value of the token, which validates the model.
But it took 2 years to get there. Now we're trying to fast forward our expectations and force ourselves to find value in EOS, or Cardano, even before the social proof.
While there's nothing intrinsically wrong with this, we must understand that if we're doing this, we're on the riskier end of the agreement, which is a bet. If it's not proven and if it doesn't have a consistent social proof, the risk of the value agreement is sky-rocketing.
Technology: Planning For Obsolescence
In top 50 crypto currencies, @dan, @ned and Charles from Cardano have together 4 projects. This is an astonishing result in and on itself. I'm talking obviously about Bitshares (@dan), Steem (@dan and @ned), EOS (@dan) and Cardano (Charles). These 3 people crossed their paths in various ways during the last 3 years and out of these interactions fabulous projects resulted.
But. There is a "but"...
These technologies have a very short timespan. Innovations that were revolutionary 2 years ago are now common sense, or, worse, somehow obsolete. Things like DPoS, for instance, are now common lingo among blockchain aficionados and even among power users.
So the question is: how long until these things that are common sense now will become obsolete? And what do you do when they will?
In my humble opinion, the more social validation a technology has, the longer its path to obsolescence.
For instance, BitShares, as a general payment solutions, may see faster degradation times than Steem, which is a very niched implementation. Also, Steem steered in the right direction, niching the product even more, with the addition of Smart Media Tokens. They aren't a blockchain innovation, but rather a user generated product on top of a working blockchain.
Also, the lower the financial pressure (less money and expectations from investors) the higher the potential output. Because money tend to amplify, like a loupe, any wrong steps that you do.
Steem experimented below $1 for almost a year, on a $300-$400 marketcap. EOS is already above $10, with $7 billion in marketcap, while Cardano, although trading below $1, is seeing an astonishing $18 billion marketcap. These is serious money in these two potential products and every perceived flaw will ripple (pun intended) further and further.
I think we're at an inflection point, somehow similar with the moments between web mass adoption at the end of the nineties. Very few people remember the fight between browsers at that time, when players were Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer.
Because at the end of the day, it was the user's pressure which dictated the market leader, despite IE being backed by huge money from Microsoft.
Blockchain-wise, I think we're going to see the first massive social validation for some of the most advanced (albeit potentially unusable) technological products in the making.
And the winner will be picked by end users, and this time they will pick it with their own money, not with mere usage.
I'm a serial entrepreneur, blogger and ultrarunner. You can find me mainly on my blog at Dragos Roua where I write about productivity, business, relationships and running. Here on Steemit you may stay updated by following me @dragosroua.
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