Bitcoin turned 10 a few days ago – roughly ten years ago, Satoshi Nakamoto, the father of Bitcoin and modern day Blockchain published an 8 or 9 paged (depending on the font you are looking at) whitepaper that governs the Bitcoin protocol.
In these ten years, Bitcoin and the Blockchain ecosystem as a whole has seen tremendous improvements and works so much so that we currently have thousands of alternative digital currencies and a market cap of over 200 billion dollars.
In fact, many other Blockchain networks and protocols have been developed and being used, some of which are being touted as more advanced and efficient in comparison to the Bitcoin Blockchain. From an obscure space of just a few geeks being involved to a wider segment of mostly mavericks and now getting the attention of mainstream media, the Blockchain industry has made some really remarkable strides. However, in spite of these, there have been the negative sides as well. Incorrigible persons have sought to fleece ignorant, uninformed and sometimes greedy people of their funds and digital assets mostly in the guise of helping them invest and get acquainted with Blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
The advent of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) which was developed on the Blockchain to revolutionize how tech start-ups got funded has been given a less-than-stellar repute by some fraudulent persons. The concept of ICO was made popular by the Ethereum project when it raised 3,700 BTC in 2014. The first recorded ICO on Blockchain however dates back to July 2013 when Mastercoin held its Initial Coin Offering. Today, Ethereum currently has a market capitalization of over 22 billion dollars and many more ICOs have been launched subsequently.
The year 2017 can be described as the year of ICOs as thousands of projects launched and raised substantial amounts through token sales. Many of these projects have been genuine so have a number of them been fraudulent leading people to lose monies. There is always this popular saying in the Blockchain space, ‘Do Your Own Research’ DYOR. Most people who have lost monies to ICO and crypto scams in general have been as a result of lack of due diligence and research. Many have simply refused to read and only bought into the news of windfall profits with ICO tokens… well in truth, some ICO tokens have indeed given contributors more than substantial rewards, however this does not negate the fact that many have also lost monies to fraudulent schemes.
That notwithstanding, there have also been genuine projects that simply tanked as a result of improper management and execution and a plethora of other factors but not necessarily because they were frauds. In fact, in general markets, most start-ups do not survive beyond their first two to three years and this does not exempt Blockchain projects – Blockchain is not equivalent to a magic wand.
Also, some folks and naysayers are just plain impatient. They are more or less expecting companies to perform wonders between two to three months after token sale. Bear in mind that most companies that even pitched their token sale hardly had a prototype and as such will need time to build and bring out remarkable products. The best performing ICO tokens currently by way of RoI are tokens of projects that were launched 2 to 4 years ago, examples are Stratis currently with an RoI of 21,000% was launched in 2016, Neo with an RoI of 10,000% was also launched in 2016 and Ark with an RoI of 7,000% was also launched in the same year 2016. These clearly goes to validate the saying that cryptocurrencies just like other similar financial products are not a ‘get-rich-quick-scheme.’
In as much as the crypto space has been plagued with a number of frauds and fund losses, this number pales in comparison with the good being done on the Blockchain, but the negative news seem to get more publicity and gets more widespread. The preposterous aspect of this is that majority of these negative publicity are catalyzed by players within our own community. It is alright to be pessimistic and cautious in order to prevent loss of funds and also get others to be alert, but it is a greater disservice to the entire industry when people go overboard with this and begin to make mountains out of mole hills and trying to appear all self-righteous and pious.
At the recent World Blockchain Summit (WBS) in Dubai, I was highly appalled and flabbergasted by the utterances of the VP for Kraken, Austin Alexander, when he took a general swipe at ICOs implying that the entirety of the space was fraudulent. The irony here is that on the Kraken crypto-exchange, we have Ether featuring prominently. Ethereum ran an ICO that practically launched the entire ICO industry, yet he bastardizes and entire industry sect just to look all self-righteous when a good number of the assets being traded on the Kraken platform were birth from the process of ICOs. It is fine to be cautious and warn people, but to want to discredit an entire industry without some reflection is just not right. The saying “you do not throw the baby away with the bath water” was wisely coined for a reason. The video to this WBS panel section can be viewed in the link below;
— icowatchlist (@icowatchlist) October 25, 2018
Such darkness is further amplified within crypto chats rooms. Recently, a number of projects like Initiative Q have come under several attacks even though this project isn’t asking anyone for money. Some people claim it is a long game whiles some others assume that they will end up selling user-data to third parties. I personally do not have a stand or say on initiative Q, even though I have previously voluntarily written a piece about the project and only because I find the concept fascinating – I was not paid to write it.
Antagonists of the Initiative Q project and some other cool projects in the space only do so because it is the going trend and not because their postulations are backed by any substantial facts.
With initiative Q for instance, they either ask for an email address or social media profile. You can choose to create a new one and register so you remain anonymous. And for me, as far as they are not asking for money or coins like Bitconnect did, I do not see anything wrong. Moreover, we could as well call Facebook, Twitter and likes scams since they actually ask for more info than Initiative Q is asking people for, but here we are.
I have come to observe that the crypto community is its own enemy. We keep going on and on bastardizing products and projects within the ecosystem and labeling them as ‘scams’ only out of gut feelings… we just want to follow the popular trend but do not see how this is affecting the space in the eyes of the mainstream population. This negative talks from within our own selves have been injurious to the wider adoption of crypto yet we do not see this, we keep blaming mainstream media BUT we are the ones supplying mainstream media with the arsenal.
In the quest to be cautious, we are becoming ‘toxically’ pessimistic and highly negative and this has been one of the factors that has fueled the bear market of 2018.
The majority of us are just too fastidious!