It takes years to design a new banknote, having hundreds of people working on every little detail, all done under the watchful eye of governments and professionals. However today, blockchain technology allows anyone to create and launch their own digital cryptocurrency in less than a minute with only a few clicks. What does this all mean? In this Deep Dive series, we take a closer look at some of these new coins, diving into the technology that underpins them, and explore what this may mean for the future of money.
Economy is ecology We are living in a world of accelerating change: Ecologies are being put to waste while new ones are being formed at any given moment, anywhere in the world. This extreme throughput of ecologies is surely also the case in our financial world. As soon as a new ecology emerges (like the sharing economy), the financial world rushes in to create an economy for it. Such a market is made from trade and conversions between shares, stocks or equities: whatever product is needed to plug it into our complex economic process. But the rules of this process remain unclear. They surely differ from the strict programming rules behind an app or website in the way that, even though we can create these markets, we never know how they will behave or what their value will be in the future. It’s an ecology of itself, something worth studying in order to learn from its behaviour. With the ECO Coin, we are aiming to create an ecological economy: an economy that is directly connected to the global, ecological sphere. To do so, we make use of cryptocurrency- and blockchain technology, and in this story, we will introduce you to the dynamics and systems that continuously feed the development of this ecological economy platform we’re currently building. Cryptocurrencies are constantly 'moving'; either up, down or sideways. And millions of dollars are flying across blockchains, faster than the speed of light. As a result, shares are being dropped for this hot new investment alternative, and money is lost in this process - hitting the people hardest who are struggling to see the cryptocurrency market for what it is: highly speculative. To that end, it is right to assume that a ‘cryptocurrency trader’ is one of the new jobs of the future, perhaps it’s as normal as being a stock trader is today.
Have you seen the latest thing in the cryptocurrency world? No you probably haven’t. CoinMarketCap (an industry-standard listing service for cryptocurrencies) has added 58 new cryptos in the past 28 days. That’s 2 per day! By the time you are reading this, chances are that 10 new ICO’s (Initial Coin Offerings) have been launched and five crypto companies have gone bankrupt. But there are also currencies and platforms that choose a different direction. They function more like incentive structures for ‘good’ behaviour. In these, the token (a word used synonymously with the words cryptocurrency and coin) doesn’t necessarily hold any economic value, but more so signifies certain wanted behaviour, like ecological behavior. When such a platform goes bust, it’s simply a failed iteration on how to digitise socially responsible behaviour. Users and speculators often regard these incentive-based coins as being ‘the new Bitcoin’, and see dollar signs when they start using them. This is something specific to the cryptocurrency market: if there’s liquidity (which in this case directly assumes socially responsible behaviour) then there must surely be something backing that coin, and it’s a solid reason to invest. The gold standard backed our financial system in the past. But we’re long past that now. The crypto avant-garde roaming the web right now is eagerly searching for the next, big asset-backed coin that they can invest into. Whether its backed by something or not.
A token for everything While there are a lot of great use cases out there in crypto-land, it’s hard to see the actual implementation of these in day-to-day life. Cryptographic tokens can resemble voting ballots, discounts or even bought products. But as of yet, there are no tokens yet that are as normal as paying with good ol' paper money. Moving beyond blockchain technology, programmers have recently tried to crack a use case for the IOTA token (a token that will supposedly empower the Internet-of-Things revolution), but didn't succeed to find one. This shows us that a lot of conceptually valuable tokens are not being used for anything yet. At current, the IOTA token is still unusable: a speculative coin that is being bought with the assumption that its value will rise over time. Perhaps it's good that cryptocurrencies have not penetrated everything yet, this gives us some time to reflect upon its cause. The cryptocurrency world is only 10 years young and we shouldn’t just throw away thousands of years of economic history.
A new financial elite Currently there's a pool of young (and rich) programmers that now make up the new financial elite, because this group bought into Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies very early on in the process. You could say that this new financial elite is one of our Next Natures: A new financial elite, or the crypto investors and programmers that make up most of this sector, create autonomous systems as a way of providing sustenance (income) to themselves. Instead of dialing into existing structures, they continually create new ones and find a place within that new framework. An important distinction, of course, being that they are not in control of these systems but merely the architects of them, where in the traditional financial world, the ‘quants’ or architects do have the possibility to significantly control the networks they manage, because they program within the same network. That is why cryptocurrencies are ‘moving’ so fast now.
Crypto markets: What’s the silver lining? Blockchain is still on a level where my grandfather is unable to pay for anything with crypto, and 'day-traders' who are investing in cryptocurrencies are losing money on a daily basis. In fact, only a small percentage of them are able to make a living off of their bets, but are far removed from how the act of trading in stocks and exchanges has developed in the ‘regular’ financial world. In case you are interested in cryptocurrencies after reading this article, but are also confused by the sheer speed of its development, then there’s only a few things that you need to do: invest as little as you can, don’t be afraid of losing it, take it easy, approach markets safely and most important of all: sit back and watch. Crypto will be around long enough for you to pick the fruits of its development. So until then, learn as much as you can, do your own research and talk to as many different people as possible. The technology behind any cryptocurrency (the blockchain) is revolutionary. It can literally connect citizens together as a people, regardless of nationality, social class or political inclination. That is beautiful dream that ECO Coin is happy to keep alive and a dream we will be talking about a lot in the coming months. Perhaps what the world of cryptocurrency needs is to pick up a slower pace. This gives us some time to reflect upon its past 10 years, and think about what's possible in the next 100 years.