This is the last time I have written the column “Crypto Long & Short”. After five years at CoinDesk, it’s time to move on to the next stage. From the end of June, he will join Genesis Trading.
In this article, I would like to summarize the lessons I have learned over the last five years and share them with you. It’s a difficult task to put together in an easy-to-read length, and many regret not being included.
I would like to thank you for reading so far. From time to time, I’ll be contributing to CoinDesk.
I hope you will continue to be curious. If you find the last five years interesting, the interest in the future should be incomparable.
What I have learned in the last 5 years
There is a non-joking inner joke that a month in the crypto asset market is equivalent to a year in the ordinary world in terms of change. In terms of the passage of time, it feels like a week. Looking back over the five years, you’ll understand how difficult it is to pick highlights from a world that is hazy in speed.
It is also difficult to distinguish between what was already known and new knowledge. Learning quickly becomes true in areas that include many underlying concepts.
To conclude the last five years, it is too ambitious to summarize what we have learned. So, as I try to write this article, I’d like to humbly share some of the things that come to my mind.
1. Do people understand money
In the early days, the most frequently asked question from people in the traditional financial world was, “What is Bitcoin (BTC) backing?” I always answered: “What is backing the dollar?”
The answers I received ranged from “American GDP” to “military.” Few people were associated with the words “perfect trust and credit” in support of government bonds and the words “In God We Trust” printed on dollar bills.
After asking a few questions, most people realized that “trust” in the United States, GDP, the military, and ultimately the US government, backed the dollar. From there, it’s one step closer to accepting that crypto assets are trusted-backed, which isn’t such a ridiculous idea.
I have always been amazed at the tendency of well-educated people in the economy and investment to resist the idea of trust-backed most. It should have been noticed that firmly believed ideas are the most difficult to let go. This leads to the second point.
2. Questions are more important than answers
Scientific progress is the pursuit of the truth. The need to understand also created trust. It is impossible to use “I don’t know” as a foothold, so if research does not give an answer, the higher beings are given omniscient and control, freeing them from the need to understand.
It is widespread in all aspects of human society, including economics and politics, and most people will accept the wisdom that is passed down and conveyed by textbooks for generations. Traditional education teaches students to remember an answer rather than question it.
Occasionally, tools will emerge that will allow you to explore deeper than ever before. Blockchain technology is one such tool. “What is money?” “What is consensus? Why is it important?” “How much should the government limit our financial freedom?” “Why capital markets limit access to opportunities.” Force them to ask themselves questions such as “Do you want to do it?”
Such questions are just the tip of the iceberg, which consists of many layers, leading to a third point.
3. Cryptocurrency industry needs more philosophers
There are already some philosophers. Craig Warmke and Andrew Bailey have made great contributions. I think there are others, but the more they are, the better. To truly understand the potential for transforming crypto assets, we need to deeply question the principles that we mistakenly believe we understand.
Bitcoin, for example, is a bearer asset. Like a dollar bill, if you have one, you are the owner. Some people don’t understand why this is important, and others get excited. Both reactions are based on assumptions about the rights of private property. In human history, this has not always been given, but now everyone takes it for granted.
What seems out of the ordinary in the next hundred years? What do you lose in what you take for granted now?
We don’t realize it’s a belief in the first place, but we have many assumptions that, if in doubt, open up a vast outlook for innovation. For example, many projects are “trying to manage their identity.”
But what is identity? Who decides? Will society function even if we decide on our own? Or does the centralized authority determine the parameters for the purpose of interoperability and universal acceptance?
Many of the solutions that caught our attention for a moment disappeared just as quickly. It didn’t solve the actual problem, or it didn’t dig deep. Applying philosophical principles helps to focus. And the next point.
4. “Why” is more important than “how”
Certainly, “how” is very important, but if you lose sight of “why”, “how” will deviate from the path of convenience and compromise.
When we are pushed by daily deadlines and trapped in conflicting personal interests and desires to please, we tend to focus on short-term victories. Losing the reason why he started in the first place, he becomes complacent and has a habit of searching for the next one.
A small victory is a good thing. Progress is even better. The best way to measure progress is in the light of big goals. But the bigger the goal, the bigger the obstacle. From there, the next point.
5. Obstacles are constructive
There is an old saying that a human personality can be identified by the personality of his enemy, but so is an innovative project. The scope of ambitious projects is often defined by obstacles in the process.
Anyone who wants to build something new can talk about how frustrating it can be. There are no exceptions. But those who succeed are those who come to see disability as an opportunity.
By working with the person who created the disability, you can try to change the disability. Alternatively, obstacles can be bypassed, but often new obstacles emerge. But new obstacles may be more manageable. Such a process always leads to new discoveries, which strengthen good ideas and transform weak ones.
Ultimately, what matters is the goal. Deep passion is the source of the stamina you need to keep going. What is valuable is not easy.
6. Serious but fun
Dogecoin (DOGE), NFT, rapper and athlete. With interest in cute and flashy things and seeing billionaire tweets drive the market, it’s not hard to understand why many think the crypto industry is immature.
Still, repelling something without substance without looking not only at the top, but underneath it is an easy reflex and misses the chance to get a glimpse of the bigger picture.
Cuteness and flashiness are valuable methods of self-expression for many. Investors of one generation are finding new voices with collective influence, and their distribution standards are inspired by different ones.
And, of course, it’s possible for Tweets to move a narrative-driven market. However, sentiment often shifts in either direction. In itself, it’s part of and the result of a fascinating story in the crypto asset market.
There is always something weird and confused in the crypto asset market. They are often a sign of a bubble, sometimes with suspicious ethics and fraud underway, but not always.
Looking through a lens that captures the big picture, crypto asset technology sheds light on both the inspirational “why” and “how.” It may distract you from the solid structure and in-depth research behind the scenes, but it’s not important. The possibilities of crypto asset technology and blockchain technology are vast, and it is better if various ideas spread in various directions.
Finally, speaking of variety.
7. Cryptocurrency industry succeeds thanks to people
It’s about you.
Participating in Consensus 2021 hosted by CoinDesk would have given us a glimpse into the breadth of talented people from all sectors who bring different perspectives and experiences. It is expanding geographically, in terms of attributes, and in specialized fields.
Entrepreneurs, regulators, artists, analysts, athletes, lawyers, bankers, designers, economists, traders, investors, developers, and writers. It’s just one example of the people who have been involved in the stage, screen, and press of the event so far.
If you don’t fit into any of these categories, or if you’re not working in the crypto industry or related projects, reading this article means that you too are part of the changes we’re working on. That’s it. No matter how you contribute, your presence will be appreciated and your opinion will be welcomed.
Diversity brings resilience in almost every area of life. Diversity brings strength, whether cooperating, discussing, or competing. That should be the reason why we are involved in the crypto asset industry in the first place.
｜ Translation / Editing: Akiko Yamaguchi, Shigeru Sato
｜ Image: Shutterstock
｜ Original: Crypto Long & Short: What I’ve Learned in the Past Five Years