Being Too Early is the Same as Being Wrong
Fred Wilson is one of my favourite writers. He takes complex ideas and makes them so simple. Yesterday he wrote:
Virtual and augmented reality has been an interesting and investable technology for the last six or seven years. But it hasn’t gone mainstream yet because the packaging of the technology remains problematic. At some point, some company will figure out how to package it up correctly and it will go mainstream. Until that happens, it is a difficult place to make money, even though a few entrepreneurs and investors have been able to do that.
Blockchain and crypto is in a similar state. Today, other than buying and selling crypto tokens, blockchain applications are clunky and hard to use. Centralized applications are way better than their decentralized cousins. When entrepreneurs figure out how to package up blockchain applications so that they are fun and easy to use, I think we will see them take off. My guess is that it will happen first in gaming and collectibles.
My point is that it is one thing to develop a technology that is superior to the current offerings, but entirely another thing to make it usable by most people. The first part is, in some ways, the more important thing (like Satoshi’s white paper) but the second thing is often where the investment leverage happens.
This is so accurate. Just think about all the startup ideas in the 90's that failed that are thriving today.
- Food Delivery: Webvan (90's), Google and Amazon (today)
- Vertical eCommerce: etoys.com (90's), Bonobos and Warby Parker (today)
- Internet Television: WebTV (90's), Netflix (today)
For blockchain and cryptocurrency, the biggest use case so far has been speculation on token prices. We have yet to see any widescale adoption that the internet saw in the 90's such as email or visiting websites. I would wager that many people who own Ethereum, for example, probably don't know what cryptokitties are, let alone, used it. Many people who own Bitcoin, probably haven't bought anything with it. I don't think these are criticisms of the currencies themselves, but rather that the user experience and applications built around it are lacking.
I think many mainstream consumers don't understand why we need blockchain? Most people have used centralized services for the entirety of their lives. They trust banks with their money, Facebook with their personal data, and Amazon with their shopping. Every service we use has a middleman. Imagine using Facebook where the revenue went to us instead of Facebook. We actually can profit off of our data. This is a paradigm shift for most internet users. There are companies attempting just that.
Ryan Gosling Advising ICOs?
Ryan Gosling AKA Kevin Belanger is advising the Miroskii ICO. Miroskii describes itself as banking the unbanked.
The ICO has a list of 6 other advisors with fake pictures, names and bios as well. It apparently has worked because they have already raised over $800,000. The number could be fake, but nonetheless, this is an example of a serious problem in the community. People are just creating websites to raise money for unlicensed securities that will probably never see the light of day. Maybe Tom Cruise will launch an ICO next.
Some Other Things I Read Today
- Welcome Emilie Choi, Coinbase Vice President of Corporate and Business Development
- PayPal Is Seeking Faster Crypto Payments Tech
- The Blockchain Pipe Dream
- Crypto Innovation Spotlight 3: MAST
If you enjoyed what I wrote, you should also follow me on Twitter @amlewis4.
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