Learning to Love Living in a Well

(and how VR can help)

Step 1: Make friends with the rats…..

Okay so maybe I’m not talking about a REAL well (even though it may seem like one to the lot of us along for the roller-coaster ride cryptos are taking right now)

It’s temptingly easy to get caught up in the hype surrounding the parabolic spikes and devastating crashes that all of us obsessive Coin Cap watchers have come to accept at the state of the crypto union as of late. In this heady environment where unrealistically inflated expectations live parallel to unbridled fear of missing out it is important that the average person understand some fundamental forces driving the development of the Blockchain industry. Taking a longer view will help calm some nerves, steady some hands and allow those who are currently busy at work building the framework for our collective future (some of the most talented designers, engineers and philosophers of our time) to focus on the task at hand rather than being transfixed by the last 60 minutes of alligator teeth the Coinbase ETH dashboard so loves to torment us with.

Gartner is Ruthless…but usually right.

“ **BLANK** technology is going to solve every single one of humanity’s problems right now and forever!!!!” (Feel free to replace BLANK with any old technological development of the past 40 years or so) Seems pretty ridiculous right? Now stick the term Blockchain in there….still seem crazy? Welcome to Gartners Hype Cycle

Blockchain as a technology is just starting to hit it’s stride. The recent downturn in prices may not represent Blockchains ultimate “Well of Disillusionment” (that time when the rubber of expectation finally hits the road of realistic deliverables) but it would serve us all well to get comfortable living and operating down here, because over the long term there’s going to be no avoiding it. There are a million little disappointments heading toward us. Of all the ICO’s that are sure to be “The Next (insert favorite FANG stock here)” most will shrivel up and die. Somebody is going to swindle someone else out of a lot of their cryptos. (cough, sorry CoinDash) Big projects that look rock solid in the morning are going to turn to dust in the evening and leave everybody wondering “where do we go from here?” I’m not saying I’m excited about it, just that it’s gonna happen….might be good to be ready.

Does that mean the technology is fundamentally flawed? No, it just means that people get excited, act a little stupid and then are disappointed when things don’t go their way….tale as old as time.

Knowing this and preparing for the storm makes it easier to take a measured view of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and appreciate the real GIFT that it could be for humanity if we can move beyond and above the nasty Trough of Disillusionment and into the much more agreeable Slope of Enlightenment where we can take a more realistic, productive approach to implementing the solutions Blockchain promises.

They Said They Were Gonna Cash Out

There has been a lot of money made in Initial Coin Offerings (ICO’s) over the past few months. — LIKE A LOT — TEZOZ raised in the area of 232 million USD, BANCOR raised 153 million USD in 3 hours. (These guys both set records, but needless to say, there has been lots of speculative money sloshing around ETH these past few months) Is it any wonder then that, flush with all of this (VERY volatile and VERY valuable) cash, these overnight millionaires would seek to hedge their newfound fortunes by liquidating a significant portion of the ETH raised to build their teams, develop their products (or run off to the Cayman islands….let’s be honest, its only a matter of time before SOMEBODY figures that one out)

EOS has taken heat recently for doing just that “Startup Darling EOS Cashes In Millions Of ETH As ICO Scorn Continues” My question is “What did we expect them to do?” (arguments about the underlying legitimacy of any of these projects is beyond the scope of this piece. I’m simply saying that it makes sense to diversify and hedge against a rainy day)

Understanding recent volatility in this context doesn’t make it easier to stomach, but maybe it makes it just a bit easier to swallow. (And since we’re all living in a well we don’t have the luxury of being picky about where our meals come from)

Long term growth Growth vs. Short Term Volatility

An important challenge posed by the hope / fear cycle to new companies getting ready to dive into uncharted (but potentially lucrative) ICO waters is how to develop and grow a successful business in such a volatile environment. As is most often the case, the greatest bulwark against uncertainty and the madness of crowds is a rock-solid idea coupled with a competent and inspired team wielding a robust and viable MVP and a strong community of supporters. The team behind Decentraland, a virtual world where participants are able to own and develop their land, boasts all of these attributes. With one of the most experienced teams in crypto and a host of solid blockchain partnerships to boast of, Decentraland is well positioned to grow into a leader in the VR space.

Additionally, the team behind the project have taken a unique approach to community engagement by introducing the Decentraland Community Vision Program. Participants can contribute

“clear proposals for Decentraland content (cinemas, games, museums, etc.), content creation, feedback, thoughtful discussion, and other contributions made to the Decentraland project.”

By encouraging people to participate actively in the creation of Decentraland as it develops, team admins ensure a rich and vibrant community of support coalesces around the project. Ideas are encouraged and debated and one can slowly witness the soul and spirit of this as yet unrealized world take shape in the various slack channels and discussion boards it’s champions inhabit.

Giving as many people as possible a viable stake in a project such as this is a fundamental to its success. Decentraland is as much a philosophical project as a technical one. By giving a voice to all, this virtual world promises to be an exciting endeavour that is well positioned to succeed in such a new, volatile and uncertain environment.