May 13, 2019

Blockchain needs to grow up

If blockchain technology was personified, right now it’d be a rebellious teenager vaping in the bathroom and telling the “grownups” that they’re wrong about everything, and how when they grow up they’ll change the world.

If blockchain technology was personified, right now it’d be a rebellious teenager vaping in the bathroom and telling the “grownups” that they’re wrong about everything, and how when they grow up they’ll change the world.

And like rebellious teenagers everywhere, they’ll be right, and wrong. The simple fact is, that for all its stuffiness and conservatism, the previous generation is rarely all wrong. They once were young fire-eaters, out to change the world, and in their way they did… and then they got entrenched, and self-satisfied, and stopped. That’s normal too. In a few years, the current crop of blockchain revolutionaries will be smug, self-satisfied defenders of the status quo, regardless of what McAfee says.

Finding the future doesn’t require destroying the past

The problem is that while blockchain is an amazing technology with incredible potential, it’s not the be-all and end-all. It won’t fix the ills of the world, introduce a new era of life and prosperity, and don’t even get me started on the Lambo-moon-hodl set. So long as people look at blockchain as a get rich quick scheme, it’ll have about as much credibility as Carlos Matos enthusiastically pushing binary options in an investment business founded by Bernie Madoff. This isn’t a get rich quick scheme, it’s real business, with real money — fiat or otherwise — and no amount of starry-eyed naivete or celebrity endorsement will change that.

But enough criticism. How do we move forward?

Professionalize. It’s not a dirty word. It doesn’t have to mean suit, tie, and excel sheets, but it does mean rigor, accountability, and responsibility. Take money? Be accountable to your investors, and comply with the spirit as well as the letter of the law. Make promises to your investors? Be transparent with them about your capabilities and achievements. It’s not so hard, and it is a great way to avoid being discredited, bankrupted, or jailed.

Facing the future, professionally

Being professional doesn’t mean giving up on the core ideals of blockchain, but it does mean being willing to meet the old world on its own ground. Right now, the terms “blockchain” and “crypto” are synonymous with shady business at worst and unproven tech at best, and refusing to do due diligence and protesting KYC and AML as an infringement on the rights of the individual isn’t helping that image. Decentralization just won’t work if it’s not reached mass adoption, and that means working with banks and business, not against.

It doesn’t mean we have to toe the line, but it does mean we need to come to the table, and be willing to talk, and possibly compromise. There’s space for a better future to evolve through blockchain, but only if it’s allowed to grow. Otherwise, the same-old, same-old will continue, because it works. Maybe not perfectly, maybe not as efficiently as it could do… but it does work.

The business isn’t the only part of the blockchain ecosystem that needs to grow up — the whole marketing and media sector does too. There’s far too much pay-for-play and backscratching going on, and it’s treated far too leniently. If you call yourself a journalist or media outlet, you shouldn’t sell coverage without declaration. Many of us in the cryptospace have been told by “editors” from Tier 1 crypto publications (their term) to speak to sales before they’ll talk about a story.

This is absolutely unacceptable in a mature, professional business sector. How we communicate has a massive knock-on effect — after all, what is a pump and dump other than a dodgy marketing campaign paired with unregulated insider trading? There’s a reason it’s really, really illegal in the stock market, but somehow it became standard in the hot ICO season… and lots of companies made bank promoting them.

At THE RELEVANCE HOUSE we believe we can’t do that, and can’t just handwave the ethical issues with “it’s not illegal (yet)”. We feel strongly that for blockchain and crypto to have a future, both projects and support companies must step up and commit — unilaterally if needs be — to doing things sustainably. We might not be rich tomorrow, but we are ethical and professional today and we plan to still be serving the community in five, ten or more years.

Blockchain can help make the world a better place, if enough of us help it succeed. We’re doing our bit, and we invite you to do the same.

Photo credits:

Photo 1 by Pixabay on Pexels  
Photo 2 by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) Opt-Out IconYour Privacy Choices Notice at Collection