The Collapse of FTX and The Unlikely Boon of Crypto Currencies
“That’s what happens when you free people from the restraints of time. They make their own rigid schedule.”
― Keigo Higashino, The Devotion of Suspect X
There Was a Dream
The promise of Bitcoin was the ability of the blockchain to enable money to flow freely without a centralized entity (database or government) around the world at a fraction of the cost.
Bitcoin spawned countless crypto currencies such as Ethereum, Solana, Doge Coin and on and on. As per coinmarketcap, there are 21,723 crypto tokens with a total market capitalization of $848.83 billion as of today.
Crypto currencies spawned a new universe composed of Non Fungible Tokens, Decentralized Autonomous Organizations and Stablecoins. This world was proclaimed as a utopia and an answer to the evils of traditional finance.
However, what happens when creators are allowed to develop technologies without any restraints (i.e. without regulation) ? They create technologies end up harming the common man — the very same common man they intended to rescue. It is not their fault. That is how the cookie crumbles. Growth and innovation come at a steep price.
The Inevitability of Regulation and Coopetition
I have been watching the rise of Bitcoin, the rise of Decentralized Finance (DeFi) and the rise of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFT’s) with amazement and wonder. It is as if everything that Nick Szabo predicted (which was, at the time he wrote about it, the stuff of science fiction). Nick predicted the rise of smart contracts (code which would primarily be composed of nested ‘if and then’ statements designed to mimic legal contracts) on the blockchain. Nick envisioned a world where money could be transmitted seamlessly over a decentralized network i.e. the blockchain. The world of Decentralized Finance did come true but it stopped short of being the utopia its creators and fans alike dreamt of. There is always one essential flaw of the wild, wild west i.e. there is no one to protect the little man without the gun.