The internet industry and finance industry are viewing cryptocurrency in totally different perspectives

This is an anecdote that I have gradually started to embrace the importance to understand the user insights in the finance industry, while feeling a big gap between the internet industry and finance industry.

While I have been a born-and-bred engineer in the internet industry up until the previous job, these days my opportunities to interact with business people in the finance industry have begun to increase since I started to be concerned with the cryptocurrency industry. These two industries are comprised of totally different people, from attires to views on career. In short, “Why do they just give attention to prices and liquidity in front of such a great invention?”

But this discomfort of mine has gradually abated, as I have come to understand that there is a big gap between the two industries in ideas (ideals) toward “what have to be provided to users”, even in observing the same user groups; I now figure that these two user images, while having contradicting parts, can’t be just ignored.

Note that both the “internet industry” and “finance industry” are a gigantic and complex industry, but are respectively bundled as one here.

The internet industry hopes to provide “new user experiences”

The internet industry places a great importance on new user experiences. The history of internet is the repetition itself of new user experiences replacing old ones. New ones are, therefore, full of chances. Without saying, however, to be just new does not suffice, but they have to have values that appeal to users with them. What’s important here is that it is hard to explain what “values” are in this context as they are very intuitive. Broadly defined, they are something that satisfies conveniences or desires, which cannot be evaluated quantitatively.

Therefore, it is very important how quickly you can judge “values” in new user experiences. Cryptocurrency has gathered much of attention as a new continent where new user experiences are hoarded; it should be the internet industry that gives heed to judging its “values”.

The finance industry hopes to provide “new investment objectives”

On the other hand, what the finance industry is to provide are all concerned about money such as “the opportunities to invest or source funds” or “measures to hedge risks”. The finance industry as its name suggest is all about money, where everything is evaluated quantitatively and compared. Thus, as to cryptocurrency, without exception, indicators such as change in prices or liquidity that can be compared with other asset classes will be watched before “values” in new user experiences. “Trading”, merely one of the many user experiences that have shown up for cryptocurrency must have been a very big impact for the industry when interpreted as one more “asset class” added.

Behaviors such as “to invest” or “to hedge risks” are universal and hence won’t change. As the value to pursue profits will remain unchanged, the innovator theory the internet industry is familiar with can’t be applied to the finance industry. It is not that there are ones equivalent to innovators; but it is more correct to say that there are ones who seek after common values under unique criteria of judgement. Bluntly saying, no one pursues new user experiences in the finance industry. This does not mean people in the industry are all money mongers, but that they just capture users on such a principle of act.

Qualitative values vs. quantitative values

I, who have long been in the internet industry, have naturally entertained a thought that “users are longing for qualitative values such as experiences that satisfy conveniences or desires”. So-called qualitative values have “incompatible values” as they cannot be compared to other. As the transfer of values over the internet or issuance of currencies through protocols are very exciting through their totally new user experiences, they cannot be evaluated just with numbers. While you are able to quantitatively evaluate them by setting up KPIs operationally, the very values to be catered are ultimately qualitative and hard to capture.

On the other hand, in the finance industry, to be able to evaluate with “numbers” such as low commissions or high volatility is very important, probably with a strong sense that “users are seeking for what can be quantitatively evaluated”, with a convincing fact that what have quantitative values are nearly equivalent to financial products. If a finance business were just providing what can only be evaluated qualitatively, it would be unreliable at best (the reason why cryptocurrency is yet to be fully trusted may lie in here, I guess). It should be the world view that even when something is new, if it cannot be quantitatively compared, it is not worth existing.

While the internet industry draws blueprints complementing them with imagination, the finance industry which has to provide values that can be shown quantitatively is very realistic and severe; it is like a contrast between liberalism vs. realism.

Both are a right user image

A pastoral user image that finds qualitative “values” in new experiences and a realistic user image that seeks after asset values intuitively have contradicting characteristics. In the internet industry’s view, users with finance perspectives seem to be excessively after profits; in the finance industry’s view, sticking too much to use of cryptocurrency yet under development seems to be after something worthless.

Here, I believe that it has both of characteristics with it. Sticking to just either one of them may fail to capture true user images leading to a debacle at some point.

This is a little similar to an argument that occurred in the world of physics of whether light is wave or particle. The contradicting world views as the particle theory and wave theory have confronted with each other for 200 years to finally give birth to quantum physics, a feat that couldn’t have been attained if they had averted their eyes from inconvenient ideas or non-intuitive world views. Now I think it is important for me to have both what are necessary to myself and world views against myself coexist within myself.

Thus, what are sought after since then for the technologies of cryptocurrency are scalability and fungibility, where what will be needed in the cryptocurrency “industry” might be more or less different, in my opinion. Next time around, if there is demand for such topics!