The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that we’ve started a new Alphaville series today, focused on the astonishing rise of Initial Coin Offerings in the bonkers world of crypto-currencies.
Kadhim got in quick with the ‘Mars-shot’ ‘decentralised blockchain’ Tezos, that aims to be better than all the other blockchains. Izzy has something provisionally titled ‘Wither the law of one price in an ICO world‘ cooking in the AV backend, but you can graze her back catalogue on the matter while you wait for her to publish.
Crypto is arguably the greatest, off-with-the-fairies, call-the-doctor-no-wait-call-the-police financial mania of our times. Do we try and analyse it, or simply slap a DNR label on the matter and wait for those clowns taken in to lose all their money? We’ll try the former and see how it goes.
Bryce has pointed out, in private off-line chat, that mainstream media coverage of the crypto phenomenon has all focused on the similarities with the dotcom mania of the late 90s, which came to a head in the Spring of 2000. The only sympathetic treatment of the subject comes from appurtenant publications like cRYPtoCOinsupDATe, or whatever. “It all has a rather MSM vs Infowars feel to it.”
The Infowars analogy is almost certainly true. The dotcom comparison less so. Maybe.
Most of the people making the comparison with events of 17/18 years ago were still very much at school back then. But Alphaville has at least one Oldie who was there and saw it at first hand. And it was different.
Sure, there was a mania, and stocks went to comical valuations, and thousands and thousands of people thought they had become overnight millionaires, only to discover they weren’t. Yes, it was tech-related and people were making fabulous predictions about how the world was going to change.
But during the dotcom era it was clear that the world was changing, for real. Old skool, analogue businesses like Barnes & Noble were getting Amazon-ed. It was clear that all forms of business were already being revolutionised as the digital aged dawned. The trouble was that greed and a herd-like mentality sent the public markets potty for a time.
The crypto craze is different. It has grown from fringe libertarian philosophy, preaching that any and all government is a bad thing, and that all our current systems where society is organised centrally will soon be replaced by loose ‘non-trusting’ digital networks and protocols that transcend the nation state. It’s the stuff of wingnuts.
State sovereignty is not going to disappear. Democratic government is generally a good way for nations to organise their affairs. Dollars will buy you food and energy for the foreseeable.