A lot of people will agree that 2018 was a hell of a long year, in crypto, as well as in general. The best way to reflect back on the year is probably to review the expectations of Financiers as they entered it. For this purpose, you should visit the “95 Crypto Theses” post by a person named Ryan Selkis.
Selkis has been wise enough to veer away from micro-predictions and focused instead on broader and conceptual observations which ring true regardless of where the current prices stand. Most crucially, the thesis of Selkis has been shaped by the core values of most crypto-decentralists: the pursuit of liberation, escape from censorship, as well as bewilderment at the success of centrally issued XRP.
What 2018 brought for more financiers?
As Zach Harvey already outlined in this series, such valued come from the cypherpunk roots of crypto, which are all crucial to keep in focus. Unluckily, the biggest takeaway from 2018 was the following: re-centralist tricks have been in full swing as the year kicked off, and even as chances fled the crashing market, Financier were still surrounded by those that seek to undermine the core principles of their presumed revolution.
For a lot of people, 2018 started with desperate angst at the massive crowds of scammers still HODLing on from the highs of December. Crypto Twitter also got quarter, and those financiers that are still around are resigned to keep building, as well as learning for what might be another long winter. This is actually a perfect chance to reflect on the contemporary lessons around every one of us if we hope to sustain the original dream of decentralizing social power.
Halfway throughout 2018, Vlad Zamfir started to solidly document a conversation that he has instigated for quite some time: how to define, as well as understand the governance of blockchain. A vibrant community discourse actually arose from this, with some specific contributions that came from CleanApp, Dea, Eigenmann, as well as Matthew Prewitt and Steven McKie. The reason why this issue is so significant is that the governance capture of the blockchain, according to Vlad Zamfir, is not merely theoretical, but it already manifests in ecosystem politics and through financiers
Zamfir is also a self-professed immutability cynic, but even ht ones that prize it as the core strength of this technology need to accept the fact that blockchains cannot live on immutability only. In fact, most of the jarring example of attempted corporate capture arose just as 2018 came to its end.
ETC values the concept of immutability
Ethereum Classic or ETC, which is the small but dedicated community that rejected the 2016 hard fork of Ethereum following the DAO hack, is actually known to value the concept of immutability above almost everything else.
ETC has been hit with a blatant attempt at corporate capture of protocol code during December, 2018, when ETHLabs, being under the control of Digital Finance Group, sweet-talked its way into owner access on the main ETC GitHub repo, then swiftly deleted all the other owners to achieve sole control of the main ETC codebase.
Emphasizing that nothing which they did technically violated the terms and conditions of GitHub, they boldly declared that they knew better than the community at large and thus they had no need to ask for the approval.
The community also railed to subvert the takeover successfully, but it is a bitter lesson to close out the year.
Social revolutions usually fall prey to opportunists that convince other people that intermediaries are not merely a necessary evil, but they are also valuable leaders.
Rising funds free of the dirty trappings
When we take a look carefully, these folks actually make money on the back of open source protocols, straining ecosystem infrastructure, as well as taking credit for community-driven intellectual property.
As much as the ICO model is despised, and believed that it is responsible for the swell of get-rich-quick optimism and doom-and-gloom capitulation which defined the markets of last year, it presented one quite beautiful promise: you could raise funds free of the dirty trappings, as well as an oppressive fine print of legacy business practices.
It is going to be quite easy to build a new world which looks more like the old one, but there is enough collective chutzpah, as well as different opinions within the crypto ecosystem which push through the temptation to merely elevate new leaders to rule over us in the old ways.
If last year has shown anything to us, it was that we actually have tireless agitators among our ranks that are going to trade off the roles of leaders, as well as whistleblowers, pen testers and builders, in an endless growth cycle. Real innovation is going to require persistence, vigilance and usually turbulence.