I love having smart, brave friends like Gina Bianchini. We get together every few months to support and challenge each other, in equal measures. Gina keeps me honest, and expands my thinking.
Yesterday, we talked about crypto, blockchain, and the advantages of decentralized peer-to-peer systems. Gina explained that the core principles are similar to a co-op: everybody collectively agrees to cooperate and share resources, and they all reap the benefits. She recommended this illuminating video by Alex Rampell of Andreesen-Horowitz, which tickles my geeky heart.
Now I understand why so many people are excited about crypto — it’s a land rush, a shared belief that these networks WILL take off and the winners will be the ones who get there first. And like all transformative technology shifts, there’s a tremendous amount of hype and crap sloshing around in the system.
Removing the middleman and leveraging secure, distributed compute power has tremendous value— especially when you’ve moving money or goods across borders. But adistributed ledger and financial incentive system DOES NOT magically make any application make sense. Many of the ideas I’ve been pitched lately are skating over their lack of core customer value by throwing blockchain into the mix. It’s the Magic Pixie Dust of 2018.
Protocols are powerful — but protocols alone don’t solve messy, human, customer-facing problems. I’m bullish on distributed systems — and keeping my eyes open as the hype recedes and the core blockchain-based platforms emerge.