For Crypto, measuring progress is bigger than price

For Crypto, measuring progress is bigger than price

Crypto has been booming with the number of new projects that are in active development and a lot of these projects have some very lofty goals for what they can accomplish. This creates a lot of excitement with new investors who feel like they are "in at the ground floor", but ultimately most new projects won't develop any sort of minimum viable product (MVP) to accomplish those goals. Excitement spurs investment, which puts a lot of hot air into the balloon, and then as those excited supporters/investors realize the amount of time and effort that would be required for an MVP the balloon begins to deflate a bit. This is happening within even established cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, each time there is excitement over any expected new feature or change. 

Simply put, crypto projects are giant collaborations for how the revolutionary software pioneered by Bitcoin could be implemented and, so far, the resulting applications are still very primitive. The actual implementation of products for any use case, outside of value storage and transfer, has not been fully realized to the point that a normal user can pick it up and use it easily. Even in the case of value storage and transfer, the software available for users is extremely primitive compared to consumer applications like Venmo or Square. 

A great example of this is Sia which is one of my favorite projects and, full disclosure, I am an investor. Sia is a distributed storage solution that allows users to offer up their unused hard drive space on their computer for rent and allows users to store data securely and easily at prices far less than any traditional cloud storage solution like Amazon S3. This project was conceived at a HackMIT event in 2013 by two graduate students at MIT and is still lead by those two same guys. There is a lot of promise with this type of idea, the structure of the team developing it, and their track record of delivering improvements. They've even had an MVP out for some time now, in the form of a client application that allows you to lease out unused hard drive space and pay to store your own data. The goal of this project is to allow data to be stored outside of centralized servers which are hackable, subpoenable by governments (in particular, the US government), and susceptible to corporate collapse. 

The bad news is that in order to use the software, there is a pretty significant barrier to entry; you need to download the entire blockchain (multiple gigabytes, can take hours or days), store your incredibly important private key yourself (read my post that explains private keys), and be okay with the client sucking up a significant amount of your computer's processing power (experienced significant CPU and RAM draw when running the client on my machine) making it difficult to run the client and use your computer normally. It's basically a clunky, hard to use, and easy to mess up application whose competitors, Dropbox or Drive, make it as easy as drag and drop to store anything you want in seconds. Convenience wins. 

There is so much to look forward to with the Sia network, but at the moment, there's a lot of work to be done to see any adoption of the software outside of the diehard supporters, contributors, and investors. Thankfully, Sia actually has something to offer unlike a host of other projects that have completely collapsed in this recent downturn, because they either have nothing to offer or they are straight up a Ponzi scheme, Bitconnect. 

This is the state of applications and stores of value within the cryptocurrency space -- a few very excellent projects with a great team of developers and some form of a MVP, many more projects with a lot of talk, but no intention of creating anything, and thousands upon thousands of investors of all sizes clamoring for a moonshot. This can feel very frustrating because when prices of Bitcoin, Ether, and even Siacoin go up hundreds of percentage points in a matter of days, it feels like there should be the same factor of gains towards the lofty goals we've set out to accomplish with these projects. The truth is that progress towards the goals set out by the more honorable projects in the cryptocurrency space will be much more gradual. 

Cryptocurrency is a working project and requires skeptics, optimists, revolutionaries, academics, convenience seekers, early adopters, and technophobes alike to participate. Ask questions in the comments and that can help me write more about this in the future!

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