It’s a simple notion really, and one that from our earliest months of life seems baked into our consciousness as an intrinsic measure of the actions we encounter from those around us. We share this same notion with countless other species in this world, who despite their lack of (at least what we consider in relation to our own) sophisticated thought, demonstrate their awareness of it and become quite agitated when encountering its negative counterpart. I’d like to explore this notion a bit further with you and explain how the lack of it in our market is slowing the forward progress to maturity.
What is this notion I speak of?
In a word: Fairness.
To arrive at a conclusion that something is, or is not, “fair” can be quite tricky in practice. There are often many variables to consider, and one can never allow themselves to dismiss their own personal bias when attempting to apply judgment. Yet when we allow ourselves to step back and survey a given situation for what it truly is, we can often come to a quick determination that would be widely accepted by others.
This is not to say it is a universal agreement, as many will look to add hypotheticals infused with their own bias to confuse or coerce the decision one way or another. Even so, when you boil the rhetoric down and evaluate the base situation honestly, you often are surprised that a large majority does find consensus one way or the other.
The cryptocurrency market was created by and continues to be led by the technological marvel known as Bitcoin. It was absolutely a revolutionary idea that was put into practice by a small group of developers guided by the pseudonymous persona Satoshi Nakamoto. Pieces of blockchain technology had existed previously as a means of making immutable documents and storing them in blocks, but Nakamoto took it a step further by incorporating a method to prevent double spends without the need of a trusted authority. Combined with a globally distributed peer-to-peer nodal network with the ability to decentralize, Bitcoin shook the computing world.
Like all revolutionary discoveries, the resultant effect of enlightenment causes a ripple of further discovery and innovation. While some follow the initial discovery and look to iterate upon it, others take different routes and begin exploring new capabilities or designs with their newfound understanding of what is possible. Proof of this is clearly demonstrated by the world of cryptocurrencies we have today. While all stem in some manner from the original Bitcoin, there are those that are simply clones with some small cosmetic changes, and then there are others that have devised entirely different mechanics and methods in hopes of advancing the revolution even further. Due to this, the market is filled with a wide array of technologies that demonstrate the beginnings of a Cambrian Explosion of blockchain/DLT solutions.
Despite the newfound richness of blockchain/DLT innovation and offerings, we find ourselves stuck with this nagging feeling that something is still wrong. Our market seems - broken. We all know it deep, down inside. We actually feel it in the pit of our stomachs during those days when the market is nothing but red indicators. We try to explain it away in an attempt to console ourselves. Selfishly though there are moments we dismiss it entirely because for once it is actually working in our favor. Overall though, in good times and in bad times, we know this market lacks something …
We know it just isn’t fair.
The lack of fairness I speak of is due to many things, but at its core is the hopelessly flawed notion that all digital assets that came after Bitcoin, despite their myriad of technological innovations and separate use cases, should be “tethered” so to speak to Bitcoin’s value from moment to moment. It’s as if the market makers believe that Bitcoin validates the worth of every other offering. While this may have been the case just a couple years ago, it certainly is not the case today. CNBC, Forbes, Fortune, Coindesk (insert your media outlet of choice) all foment the propagation of this flawed belief with their misguided analysis and shamelessly biased reporting. I use the word “reporting” because to the uneducated or new entrants to crypto – these are authoritative and perceived “reputable” sources. By repeating false narratives over and over, that which lacks truth or fairness, unjustly accrues it – and almost always to the detriment of the greater audience at hand.
Due to this, we find that all other blockchain and DLT offerings suffer when the price of Bitcoin suffers, and to rise in unison when Bitcoin rises. Such behavior violates how a true open market should perform. Winners and losers should be selected by individual merit, not by the drama surrounding a single, unrelated coin. It would make sense that Bitcoin forks such as BCH or Litecoin follow the price action of Bitcoin, but why would XRP, or VEN? These offerings have nothing in common with Bitcoin and should behave in a manner that judges their performance in relation to its technological peers. This is just common sense, and in a word – fair.
We are nearly a decade from the moment Bitcoin brought about the world’s initial blockchain enlightenment. That is 10 years of continuous software development by countless individuals inspired to seek out new uses and new designs. This has resulted in superior architectures and highly targeted use cases. While it is true that Bitcoin has also evolved in that time, at its heart it is the same original design. As such it is forever limited in what it can do to adapt and adopt a decade’s worth of progress made in blockchain and DLT development. It is what it is, and we can no longer dismiss the obvious fact that Bitcoin is simply inadequate for the world as it is, today.
Certainly, madness has overtaken us all if we continue to allow this practice to continue. All participants should ask themselves – just how much does every other digital asset on the market today actually prop-up the value of BTC in this present scheme? If Bitcoin is used to measure the market as a whole, then isn’t it fair to say that the value investors have for alternate digital assets prop up the value attributed to Bitcoin?
Again, we all know down deep, this just isn’t fair.
Surely, as rational human beings we can both pay homage to Bitcoin and the enlightenment it brought, while at the same time recognize the ripple effects of that enlightenment has created alternative implementations that are superior at their given purpose. Isn’t it just - fair – to value those alternatives separately on the merit of their endeavors? We are capable of that aren’t we? The market is capable of that, right?
We need only look at the stock markets to see how a better system of determining values can be enacted. Stocks are evaluated by the underlying purpose and performance of the entity, and further grouped into sectors and indices. If Company A is an oil producer, it is grouped with other oil producers, and then further grouped with other companies that produce other types of energy. Analysts then evaluate the performance of Company A to its immediate competitors in the oil industry, and then make further evaluations of how the overall energy sector is performing. It’s not rocket science – its’s just common sense. Why would it be rational to determine that the value of an oil producer is tied directly to the daily up and down performance of a restaurant chain? That certainly wouldn’t be – fair – would it?
The Reverend touched on this with a tweet on Feb. 25th of this year, calling for cryptocurrency sectors to be created and used for fair analysis of value. An excerpt from that message:
“If the cryptomarket is to flourish it must begin to find meaningful diversity in the distribution of its overall value. The rising or lowering tides of a single digital asset – Bitcoin – can no longer be allowed to be the sole determining factor of valuation for digital assets it does not compare to in function or intended utilization. Instead, the Reverend believes now is the time to construct a commonly-accepted set of cryptomarket “sectors” that place digital assets into groupings that represent their intended use cases.”
The need for this is ever more apparent today than it was those 5 months ago. Every investor in a digital asset or token that isn’t named Bitcoin should be demanding the end of Bitcoin influence over their valuations. Doing so will allow – for the first time ever – fair market principles and pricing to proliferate. Some will see immediate benefit. Some will certainly see precipitous falls. In the end however, everyone wins when the undue influence of Bitcoin no longer obfuscates the true worth of individual digital assets for its own selfishly propped-up valuation.
So what do we do?
The time to strike my friends - is now. The world is collectively murmuring doubt about the 10 year old technology that has strayed so distantly from its original purpose it now meanders in its own ineffectiveness. The desperate and hollow voices of Bitcoin maximalists echo about using the same tired rhetoric that worked so well in times past, but now is demonstrably proven false by simple comparative performance metrics of newer alternatives. It is time to start a messaging campaign that brings to light the problem I have outlined above. We need to put into every investor’s mind that the time has come to apply fair valuations - separate of Bitcoin influence - once and for all.
I cannot force the fairness I seek alone, nor the XRP Community alone. The change we seek will come to pass only when the entirety of the crypto-community unites behind a single message. I am under no illusions that my message will be the one to finally effect this change – but I do believe it is an important start to the greater goal.
To start the messaging campaign off, I plan to use the Twitter hashtag #FairCryptoValues in my future posts. This hashtag and list is open to the public, and I hope will be used by all crypto-communities to display their desire for fair market value of their digital asset of choice. The hashtag’s meaning is simple: Demand individual valuations of digital assets and break the senseless “follow the leader” market dynamic that has dominated for far too long.
It's time to demand progress. It's time for this market to mature. It's time for all crypto-communities to come to consensus and demand without equivocation that the undue infuence of an irrationally-derived Bitcoin valuation no longer keep a more diverse, a more advanced, a more capable, and above all - a more valuable cryptomarket under its thumb.
Let's do what is fair, and let us be judged by the merit of our endeavors.
Until Next Time My Flock –
Worn Hands Photo by Om Prakash Sethia on Unsplash
Lightbulb in Hands Photo by Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash
Balloon Release Photo by Sebastián León Prado on Unsplash
Bitcoin Coin Photo by Andre Francois on Unsplash
Analyst Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
Separate Hands, Common Heart Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash