Welcome to crypto, here are the only 10 things worth working on

Posted on September 17, 2018. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Lately I’ve been thinking about a subtle but apparent change in the blockchain world that kind of bums me out. Go back 2 or 3 years, the amount of technical talent that was learning and building in the space was small, but the breadth of systems and projects they were exploring was vast. Because nobody “knew” anything, and the market of thought leaders and investors hadn’t anointed any particular class of project as viable are particularly of merit, there was an intoxicating creativity in system design as people explored newfound primitives afforded by the underlying technology, and dreamt up networks or platforms that they could, for the first time, design with them. I absolutely loved this phase. Not everything people were building made sense, but the aperture was wide on what was worth trying.

Fast forward to today, the amount of technical talent pouring into the space is amazing and deeply encouraging, but I fear the diversity and creativity of what they are aspiring to build has narrowed and plateaued. More people for sure, but they’re zeroing in and directing their energy to a handful of known classes of project or system, as opposed to experimenting with something brand new.

Loud and influential thought leaders and investors have declared that “somebody will build the winning stablecoin” and somebody will build the “winning money coin”, and the “winning privacy coin,” and the “winning smart contract platform” and the winning “decentralized exchange”, and “decentralized derivatives platform”, and “prime broker”, and “interoperability platform”, and “security token platform” etc…and that when they do…that thing will be valuable and important. Developers and system designers that are coming up the curve, who are passionate about building something in the space, seem to choose one of these known classes (and by the way vear away from say the dreaded “utility token”) because somebody else has looked into the future for them and told them if they can just build xx, it will matter.

I’m of the opinion that the classes of project or system that will end up being important have largely not been surfaced yet. It’s too early to anoint any crypto use case as “true” or “viable,” and I kind of miss the wider aperture we had when people were just trying to experiment and figure out what was possible. I’m not saying the anointed areas of interest aren’t worth working on…in fact I think most of them are…I just have this sense that there are more primitives to surface and more classes of project to define, and I’d like to talk to the people who are doing that work. The nth more scalable smart contract platform is getting a little boring. If you’re doing novel work or trying something weird that people aren’t yet talking about as worthwhile or interesting, I’d love to learn about it. jordan.cooper@gmail.com

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One Response to “Welcome to crypto, here are the only 10 things worth working on”

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Couldn’t agree more. It feels like the blockchain/ crypto space is going in circles. People forget that much of this has already been tried and attempted by the financial world – albeit in smaller, permissioned settings. Still – it hasn’t really worked out in that arena.

Utility tokens were exciting because the bet was about infrastructure, e.g. who’s going to be the platform on which all these various utilities will be built. However, the thesis around ICOs, and – to a large degree – “fat protocols,” hasn’t yet been borne out. In other words, nothing of worth has been built to make the protocols fat. Seems like all the shitcoins have dampened the excitement a bit.


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    I’m a NYC based investor and entrepreneur. I think there is one metric that can be used to measure the value of a human life and that’s impact. How did you change things? How many people did you touch? How different is the world because you lived in it and how positive was the change that you affected? (p.s. i don’t use spell check…deal with it) You can email me at Jordan.Cooper@gmail.com

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