I love the crypto world but “she” is really letting me down right now

In the recent period of time, I have been struggling with certain setbacks in my own encrypted world and the continued accumulation of “doubts” about the future of cryptocurrencies. The battle between the two voices in my head has become more and more intense, even It made me feel a little helpless and began to doubt some things I once trusted so much. The reason why I wrote this article is that I hope to find a place to talk to, and I hope that I can use words to reorganize my thoughts and find answers to these questions that have troubled me for a long time.

Before starting this article, I would like to state a few points:

First of all, this is a fairly subjective article, and as always, these are my opinions and only mine. I also hesitated to post this article, but in the end I decided to do so, because I think the discussion around these issues that bothered me would be of considerable help in promoting the healthy development of the entire encryption ecosystem, and This is very valuable.

Secondly, I must not write this article from a pessimistic or “blame” perspective, but just to look at or describe the current stage we are in as objectively as possible, and to look forward to how far the field of encryption is. development prospects. To be honest, I’m still very optimistic about the future of Crypto, but it must be cautiously optimistic. I hope my words don’t get read as “cynic,” because I don’t think so. What I hope to do is to be honest enough to express my thoughts. I know that the encryption industry is still in the early stage, and construction in all aspects is difficult and it does take time (there will inevitably be problems). But I want to make it clear that I’m not criticizing for criticism’s sake, and I don’t want to disparage in any way all the attempts made by the developers who are working hard in this space.

I understand the value and meaning of cryptocurrencies, and I think I understand the philosophical thinking that drives me into this field, including but not limited to trusted neutrality, ownership, interoperability, verifiability , permissionless, coordinated, immutable, incentivized, censorship resistant, and more. But I don’t think we should lower the bar because of these values.

Of course, the questions raised in this article must not apply to all aspects of the entire encryption ecosystem, and these questions do not necessarily exist in every product or every protocol. I am just asking broad questions.

Next, get down to business.

When I go to cryptocurrency conferences, I like to ask the people I meet a question, with the current state of cryptocurrency or blockchain, what applications do you think are solving real-world problems? And if you took the cryptocurrency part of these apps out of the way, would people still be happy to use it? (Because people don’t use a cryptocurrency product just because it’s “decentralized”, they want convenience, they want to optimize the experience, and they certainly won’t settle for something that doesn’t really solve the problem at all), and in this question , I think games and entertainment also solve some problems, because these applications bring fun to people.

This sounds like a silly question considering the amount of money and products in this space, but seriously, please try to answer it if you’re reading this.

To be honest, I rarely get positive answers from other people. Usually, I get answers like “probably not at all” or “I don’t know”, many of which even come from veterans who have been in crypto for 6+ years.

I like to ask this question because personally I find very few applications in cryptocurrencies that really have product-market fit from a product perspective. In other words, there are very few applications in the crypto world that can really solve problems and have a relatively stable user group that does not just want to use it for speculation or gambling.

Yes, I know it’s early days, and yes, these things will take more time, and yes, the infrastructure is not fully ready, but why should we treat applications in the crypto space differently than one that works What about the standard of hundreds of thousands of traditional start-ups? Why should we put aside the root causes (to glorify them) that the cryptocurrency market still lacks users and lacks real-world demand, instead of acknowledging that cryptocurrencies really haven’t solved real-world problems for more people (and try to change them) or work for it)?

Cryptocurrencies and Startups

Now we have quite a lot of mature experience and proven methods on how to build startups. In the so-called Web2 world, we all know how to build products, how startups work, and we also know how to communicate more with users, because these people use products because they think the product can help them Solve some problems and help the team make the product better together. But when we turn our eyes back to the crypto world, all of these mature experiences seem to be forgotten.

A large number of applications focus on spending a lot of thought on the single dimension of “money”, only hoping to provide a better-looking yield to attract more people’s attention, and leave other aspects of the product behind. It is true that when there is money to be made, it will attract more users and funds, but you have to be clear that these people who are only here to make money will not care about the other designs of your products, and will only regard this as a temporary Once there are other “playgrounds” with better money-making effects, they will leave without hesitation, and they will not give you any advice on optimizing products.

Of course, applications in the cryptocurrency space will always have a certain degree of speculative nature, which is inevitable, and I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, but we must be clear, if our ultimate goal is to make encryption applications mainstream If so, these are far from enough. Apps must solve real problems, not be complacent about creating more complicated virtual casinos. If the crypto world is forever just a bunch of smart people and dumb people who have made a lot of money or lost a lot of money, I think this is a huge failure.

In a nutshell, the crux of my question is how to fill the huge gap between the narrative that cryptocurrencies can achieve in theory and the status quo in practice today. We all know that the latter is basically equivalent to speculation and gambling. Maybe you think this judgment is unfair, but if you can take a moment to analyze the most common patterns in the various circuits of the crypto industry, you will find that I am not exaggerating the problem. . Next, let’s start with some subdivided tracks.

DeFi

DeFi is perhaps the most mature category of applications in the cryptocurrency space, and one that seems most willing to solve practical problems. I will ask myself, how many of the current DeFi applications can really help people solve practical financial problems. Under this thinking, I think there are four products that really show their own value (financial derivatives are not considered for the time being), They are Uniswap (and DEXs like SushiSwap and Curve), Aave, Compound, and MakerDAO.

It needs to be explained first that even the AMMs that are “touted” in the crypto field are much worse than the traditional order book model from the perspective of product experience alone. Liquidity providers will suffer impermanent losses, and traders will also Take the slippage and so on, but let’s put those bad experiences aside for now when discussing the value of DeFi.

Going back to the topic just now, even for these four successful products, how much of the liquidity in their entire business flow is not used for speculation and gambling?

Of course, maybe for some people, the above application does make their capital more productive (for example, becoming an LP), but their capital gains additional productivity only because these services provide a market, and the market Allow more people to participate and speculate. Just look at the usage patterns of cryptocurrencies in these services, DEXs, lending, stablecoins, most of which just provide a way to increase leverage, not at all provide more reliable financial infrastructure for those in low-income countries (but This narrative appears frequently in various Decks). In fact, those about under-collateralized loans and even credit loans may never be realized in a decentralized environment, because without the constraints of arbitration in the real world, the application of these under-collateralized loans is on the “risk-ridden” chain Difficult to operate continuously.

So I started to feel troubled by this, maybe the final appearance of DeFi is not to provide a decentralized platform or medium for ordinary users at all, but to provide more convenience for TradFi category applications, which can provide more convenience for users who want to speculate. Opportunities, but what does DeFi really mean for everyone else? I can’t figure it out.

I’m not saying that DeFi has to be a dead end, or that DeFi is actually closer to pure TradFi than most people think it is (although I do think it makes sense at the moment), I just want to say that almost all of the current The purpose of DeFi applications is speculation and gambling, and the real ordinary retail user is actually not interested in this kind of stuff at all.

NFTs

I think that the most popular NFTs at the moment also stay on the purpose of speculation or gambling. Most of the participants in the market are purely for the purpose of making money. Of course, some users are believers in the community, hoping to hold NFTs to find friends or show their identity or status, but in this case, NFTs just become an ordinary collectible.

If you look at the volume changes in the NFT market, you can see that the volume has now dropped to levels seen before August 2021. How much of the surge in NFT market volume and demand over the past year or so can be attributed to hype and speculation? I don’t think this question is difficult to answer.

I love the crypto world but "she" is really letting me down right now

NFT market size

Now there are more gameplays on the NFT track, such as POAP, SBT or in-game NFT props. These new gameplays also bring some interesting experiments, but compared with NFTs as collectibles, these new experiments bring influence is really very limited.

My take on NFTs is that they are a key element for on-chain applications to be fun and useful, but for the most part NFTs themselves can only be used as digital collectibles, and only when other crypto applications are truly broken After the popularity of NFT, NFT will be greatly popularized because of its elements, and it is difficult to achieve a “leap” simply by relying on NFT itself.

game

I don’t want every category I’ve talked about in this article to be pessimistic, and the game track is one of the most optimistic in my opinion. However, the problem mentioned above still exists, that is, almost all chain games are still in the stage of earning money, which is still another extension of speculation and gambling.

But the reason for being optimistic about the game is that we have been able to see some cases that have matured and avoided attracting users only by making money, such as Dark Forest. People will even pay to play the game just because the game is fun enough, and that’s a great signal because it’s already showing the real appeal of the product to the user.

ZK

To be honest, my knowledge of ZK is very limited, but I still want to talk about this direction, and I would like to divide the use cases of ZK into two categories: scalability and privacy.

For example, ZK rollups can verify a series of state transitions without running each of them, which is a rigid requirement for public chains. In addition, ZK also has considerable value in terms of privacy. Users can achieve their goals without revealing all data. It has considerable imagination in identification scenarios, and may even have nothing to do with blockchain. This means that in the future based on this, we may be able to see some landing applications that were completely impossible to achieve before.

I am very excited about the future of ZK, but I have the same problem that the current application of ZK is still very limited. If we want to solve the problem, I think ZK is very valuable for infrastructure applications in terms of scalability, and This clearly has nothing to do with speculation. Of course, this situation with fewer use cases is also because ZK is still in a fairly early stage, and we may need more time to wait for more mature tools and solutions to emerge.

But it must be admitted that ZK, which is highly sought after by the market, has not yet achieved large-scale landing.

DAO

DAOs are largely used as the actual organizational structure for many communities/projects/cryptocurrency products, so they do have some uses, but they are not without their problems. Governance is ultimately concentrated in the hands of a small number of token holders, and we have yet to see more implementations of non-financial governance (although Optimism has conducted some interesting experiments in this direction), and DAOs have so far failed to become capable of The one who is actually legally responsible (this is why people working for DAOs often have to sign labor contracts under an LLC to get some protection, and many DAOs are outside the US).

I suspect that DAO structures will slowly move towards LLC-like structures (as these have been around long enough to survive all the problems that arise from coordination difficulties), but that’s just a hunch.

So in terms of the problems that DAOs are solving, I think they are just an organizational structure in the crypto world, maybe they solve some problems, but if ordinary people are not actively involved in the crypto industry, will they care about DAOs? Or, why should they care about DAOs?

infrastructure

I think infrastructure is important and there are a lot of interesting experiments in consensus, settlement, data availability, state management, programming paradigms that projects take. I think a lot of the accumulation of value will happen at the infrastructure layer, but if there isn’t enough demand for applications built on top of the infrastructure, unfortunately as cool as these ideas might be, the infrastructure itself is hard to attract enough s concern.

In other words, how much time, resources, effort do we invest in the development of the infrastructure (making the blockchain more secure, decentralized, scalable, etc.) ) are unimportant.

So far, I feel that I have almost listed the problems I found in the main tracks. Of course, this must be a very rough summary of views, and it obviously does not cover every corner of the encryption industry. In general, various activities on the chain in the entire encryption ecosystem are basically driven by speculation, while other products that do not belong to the above-mentioned problems, but still have not made actual progress, are still struggling to solve their own problems. Created new problems, or faced some new challenges that I didn’t understand yet.

some thinking

I think that many applications in the field of encryption, perhaps because they are rooted in cyberpunk culture, have been trying to “invent” financial or government structures, etc., which have been verified by human society for hundreds of thousands of years and have summed up quite mature experience. thing. It is true that some of these innovations are valuable in new environments, but in fact most attempts are actually ideas that have been falsified in the real world, but there are still many project parties who are addicted to it (such as pure algorithm stability). Coins, I don’t need to say more about how to believe the results).

These words may make people think that I am pessimistic, but I am not pessimistic for the sake of pessimism, I just want to look at the current state of the cryptocurrency industry as objectively as possible. I’m not saying that we don’t have any cryptographic applications that are valuable now, nor that there won’t be any truly valuable innovations in the future, but if we exclude those attempts that simply don’t solve real problems, the fact is that in the crypto world Valuable applications are indeed very limited.

Maybe it’s because we are still very early, maybe we haven’t figured out how to attract more people to use encrypted applications, maybe cryptocurrency can’t change the status quo of Web2 at all, because it seems that the element of cryptocurrency can’t bring enough Significant improvements and enhancements. But these are also assumptions, and I don’t know what the specific answer is.

But I think the crux of everything boils down to the fact that there’s a pretty big disconnect between the vision of what cryptocurrencies can bring and what’s actually happening today. I don’t think we should attribute everything to the “early stage”, after all Bitcoin has been around for 14 years and smart contract chains have been around for 7 years.

Please don’t get me wrong, I can see some practical use cases for cryptocurrencies, the main use cases are things like trustless, censorship resistant, and more convenient transaction transfers and storage of value, etc. There are also some applications based on this. It has appeared, but I feel that the vast majority of applications in the encryption industry have not been able to solve enough high-frequency problems in life for ordinary people.

All that said, I’m only cautiously optimistic about the future of the crypto industry, and I’m very much looking forward to seeing more valuable applications that we care about and that combine the cool features of blockchain. But the main reason why I wrote this article is to honestly tell you that we are still a long way from this.

People often ask me “how to get the next billion people to join the blockchain”, and I am confused by the question itself, because I think the answer is obvious, that is, when the blockchain application can really solve the problem, Those 1 billion people will naturally join the blockchain.

I sometimes worry that the blockchain value proposition is theoretically too enticing because we often use this as an excuse to lower the bar by which we judge a project to be good or bad. I don’t want to settle for a crypto world of speculation and gambling, and I don’t want to use the ideal narrative as an excuse to avoid acknowledging that current cryptocurrency applications are actually a variant of robbery, scam, and gambling. At the same time, I don’t want to use “still in the early stages” as an excuse to explain why people outside the industry know nothing about the “top projects” that are so sought after by people in the industry.

I hope that someday in the future, applications on the blockchain will become useful, convenient and interesting enough that people will use them because they are an order of magnitude better than the competition without us having to go to great lengths Convince everyone to “let’s try it”.

Posted by:CoinYuppie,Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/i-love-the-crypto-world-but-she-is-really-letting-me-down-right-now/
Coinyuppie is an open information publishing platform, all information provided is not related to the views and positions of coinyuppie, and does not constitute any investment and financial advice. Users are expected to carefully screen and prevent risks.

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