Something strange is in place in the world of cryptocurrency. For the first time since Satoshi dropped Bitcoin on us as a benevolent bomb, this painfully new, very bizarre field has become … well … boring. True believers will tell you that great progress is being made and that the mainstream breakthrough is just around the corner, but they have said so long that it seems reasonable to begin to wonder if these wolves were ever real.  I know, I know, it seems particularly strange to say this at a time when China's president and CEO of Facebook have both become blockchain advocates. But China's cryptocurrency, if that happens, will be a panopticoin, a tool for centralizing monetary control even more firmly in the hands of the Communist Party, nothing that the decentralized censorship-resistant programmable money is about the crypto society theoretically; and Facebook's, while making technological advances, continue to lose partners and win enemies.
The cryptocurrency is currently all about "DeFi" for decentralized financing, a movement that basically expands cryptocurrencies from "censorship-resistant money" to "censorship-resistant financial instruments," such as collateral loans and interest-bearing investments, along with "staking" (not really DeFi, but often treated like it.) In the crypto world, this seems like a revolution that will one day replace Wall Street. Outside the crypto world it seems … a bit like monks discussing how many angels can dance at the end of a pin , one that nobody actually uses and no one outside the monastery cares about.
It's easy to get the impression the cryptocurrency world has sacrificed technical technology in favor of financial technology. It's easy to see those who have surrendered " ", The alleged initial noble goal for many," to offer sophisticated financial instruments to the non-bank ade ", long before any of the famous unbanked have actually been, you know, beaten. And I'm sorry to report that you wouldn't be completely wrong.
But there are real technical advances. It's just that they are mostly slow and behind the scenes, and meanwhile, the community's "MOPs and sociopaths" have taken hold of DeFi.
There are some visible advances. ZCash makes clear breakthroughs in important basic cryptographic research. Tezos continues to successfully upgrade its control algorithms ̵
On the application layer, I am interested in Vault12, which uses "friends and family to protect crypto assets" – basically instead of entrusting secret keys that control your cryptocurrencies to a third party as an exchange, which is no different than traditional bank, you protect them from the people you trust, so a number of them can work with you to recover your keys if they are lost, using a cryptographic protocol called Shamir's secret sharing. Luminaires such as Vitalik Buterin and Christopher Allen have argued for "social key recovery" for some time, and it is interesting to see what is offered by a new, new Valley start.
But much of what happens is more basic, in search of the ability to support many more transactions than today's blockchains. The whole foundation for today's second-leading cryptocurrency, Ethereum, is being torn apart and replaced at wholesale level, in search of "Ethereum 2.0." Bitcoin remains much more stable and conservative, but a whole new story is added to its foundation, Lightning Network. Both worry me. A basic rewrite is always worrying. The flash may scale, but it is if something even more user-friendly than Bitcoin, basically a cryptocurrency equivalent to a hard to use prepaid credit card. Still, the permissible equivalent of prepaid credit cards would be good for the unbanked ones who are all obviously worried about, right?
I am also worried because almost all blockchain scaling solutions – flashes, cutting, plasma, optimistic rollup, etc. – transform basic blockchain security from something relatively passive (check the hashes and use the chain with the most computational power) to something active (" watchtower, "" fraud proof. ") It seems to me to increase the surface of the security attack a lot .
All these problems can still be solved. Sure. But at the same time, it feels like dissonance between the attitude inside the crypto bubble and that of everyday may have never been greater. At the same time, the dark specter of Tether hangs throughout the industry. OK, circumstantial evidence is inadmissible for good reasons … but there is certainly a lot of it.
I have argued before that "ongoing associations with a cloud of crazy scandals and sellers of snake oils – all of which would be disastrous signs of, say, a traditional new start – may actually be indicators of the strength, not the weakness" of cryptocurrency- movement …
… but at some point, your religion – or "brain virus", which Naval Ravikant once called cryptocurrency – must begin to appeal to people who do not actually live on your association, otherwise you will remain a cool and disappear. When will it happen? Will it happen? The answer is still not clearer than five years ago.