A primary lesson learned in 2018 is the decentralized nature of blockchain extends beyond the technology itself.
As Coloring Crypto put it, we are in the middle of a great gestation, a period of heads-down development and growth. Absent a central authority or organization to speak for the greater group, outside observers are disoriented, wondering where we are on the greater development roadmap.
Adding to the confusion, it’s clear most meaningful projects (and users) are coming from outside of the Silicon Valley bubble, forcing tech media leaders outside of their comfort zones to cover what’s really going down in blockchain.
From where I sit, there is no bigger contributing factor than this:
Blockchain technology does not solve a problem for most U.S.-based individuals or companies.
The way most blockchain projects speak about trust and transparency, you would think it’s impossible to use the internet without getting scammed. You would think we’ve reached epidemic levels and this just isn’t the case. Vitalik and the ETH camp like to talk about the smart contract as a means of instilling trust between two untrusted parties — an awesome and valuable function, but one that isn’t necessary in the day-to-day lives of most U.S.-based internet users.
And here’s the thing: Silicon Valley is largely incapable of building for problems outside of their scope. Hate to generalize, but it’s mostly true.
It seems Silicon Valley interest in blockchain stems from interest in the fluctuation in cryptocurrency valuations, while the eyes of developers abroad light up with ideas about how to break barriers and truly improve the daily lives of those around them.
It’s about companies like Treon, which promises to fix utility bill issues around the world. Is anyone in Silicon Valley aware there are places where it takes twenty minutes to pay a utility bill each month, in person or on the phone? And this says nothing of the unbanked.
There are companies like Tokky, building a solution for gift cards which helps not only improve on existing systems in places like the United States, but also in places where there is currently no gift card system to speak of. Their system promises to offer companies large and small an equal offering — so gift cards aren’t just for the Walmarts of the world.
The flood of talent, enthusiasm, and meaningful blockchain ideas is here — it’s just not from the usual suspects in technology. Heads up.