In their “Stellar 2018 Roadmap” (see Thoughts on “Stellar 2018 Roadmap”) Stellar jokingly (at least I hope so) shared the critical indicator for a decentralized protocol” (original emphasis), namely randos per week (r.p.w or rpw; number of random people talking about crypto) and promised equally moonish growth. Although meant as a joke there is some truth in those numbers. The number of average — „non-crypto“ — people talking about it has — at least in my perception — increased in the last couple of weeks and months. More importantly, such popularity metrics are important for the diffusion of cryptoassets; the more people know about it, the greater the likelihood of acceptance. Nevertheless, the recently increased popularity of crypto is not without its caveats. Prevalence of common misconceptions hindering diffusion: Firstly, a lot of the attention is still on getting rich, Crypto being a bubble and people confusing all alts with Bitcoin. As long as these misconceptions prevail, crypto won’t reach mass market adoption. Creation of overhyped interest leading to bursting bubble: On the one side Blockchain and Co. are overhyped to be the next big thing and if possible right now. On the other side, adoption is either low or not perceived because it is happening under the hood. For instance, Stellar’s partnership with Tempo
It seems to me that most crypto projects follow one of three strategies in their reporting of relationships: Avoiding: Being quiet about partnerships Reporting: Being deliberate about partnerships Shilling: Using partnerships for shilling and pumping the price I have added shilling for the sake of completeness but its senseless practice and I won’t discuss it any further here. Avoiding and reporting stand in contrast to each other; on the one side avoiding ensures an over-focus on price but lowers trust and transparency. Reporting, on the other side, although not intended, can lead to unexplainable price increases but helps the project to gain momentum. Although – as so often – the truth lies somewhere between avoiding and reporting I believe that we will see more granularity in the future (different news will be handled differently) and most importantly I take the view that in the long-run the crypto world will adopt best practices from the non-crypto industry.
I see diffusion of cryptoassets as a two-step process where we move from one mental model to the other. These models are: Acceptance of cryptoassets in general: Initially, people must accept the concept of cryptoassets per se. Acceptance of one particular cryptoasset. Secondly, once people understand cryptoassets and believe they are better than whatever they replace, people must accept that one particular coin for that one particular use case. Currently, we are at step one. Today’s cryptos are thus confronted with two tasks; convince people that their general idea makes sense and convince people that their particular implementation (i.e. their crypto) makes sense. For both, especially the first, a lot of resilience is required and many won’t have that. More importantly, however, is that once we have crossed step one newcomers could come in with their new implementation and successfully process step two based on the work of the previous generation.
Asset news: Stellar This week (February 5) Stellar published their 2018 January Roundup (check out here what Stellar is). The roundup contained: reference to Stellar and the State of Cryptocurrency reference to 2018 Stellar Technical Roadmap recap on Financial Institutions & Partners overview of upcoming events Stellar and the State of Cryptocurrency and Stellar’s 2018 Technical Roadmap I have covered Stellar and the State of Cryptocurrency here and Stellar’s Technical Roadmap here. Recap on Financial Institutions & Partners Termio, an „advertising blockchain” will run their ICO on Stellar. Scheduled for April. LaLa World will implement Stellar for international remittance Tontine Trust is creating a social security and pension system based on Stellar MOIN and TowerChain were announced as two Stellar Anchors (an Anchor within the Stellar-network is somebody who holds and issues assets). OpenGarden announced to run their tokens on Stellar (no ICO). OpenGarden has been around since 2011 and is backed by a couple of investors (total funding around $13). OpenGarden has created FireChat, a chat app that works without an Internet connection. Furthermore — and this is their primary goal — they are working on establishing a network of decentralized ISP (Internet service providers) allowing anybody to share their Wi-Fi to other OpenGarden users.
In January Christian from Stellar published “Stellar and the State of Cryptocurrency“ (check out here what Stellar is). The report came out in January, at a time where the general market was going downward after doing quite the opposite in the months before or. The team shared the following updates: Transactions per second high but still below industry standard Stellar showed that they are aware of a need for marketing 2017 marked two years of Stellar being battle-tested In 2017 smart-contract functionality was added Bifrost was released Stellar merged several Go repositories into monorepo and there were 128 merged pull requests in 2017 XLM support added to Ledger Nano S See below for details. Relatively high transactions per second, low transaction fees, and marketing-consciousness They reported on their transactions per second (TPS) and transaction fees (tf). TPS, although relatively high, are still below current industry standard (e.g. Visa with around 2k). Also, according to them, they have the lowest average transaction fees compared to selected other cryptos. Crypto Platform Performance and Stellar specs (Source: Stellar) As I believe that the whole industry will convergence towards the same fees over time (the same applies to other technical specifications as well) I believe
In January Christian from Stellar published “2018 Stellar Roadmap“ (check out here what Stellar is). In the roadmap they focused on two things: their growth in randos per week (r.p.w or rpw) their strategic goals for 2018 Growth in randos per week Jokingly (at least I hope so) Christian shared a 12kk increase in “the critical indicator for a decentralized protocol” (original emphasis), namely randos per week (r.p.w or rpw; number of random people talking about crypto) and promised equally moonish growth. Stellar’s Randos per week (Source: Stellar) I have shared my thoughts on Stellar’s randos per week in “Thoughts on Stellar’s Randos Per Week in the context of increased crypto awareness”. The main points are: Although rpw was meant as a joke, crypto has become more talked about More attention around crypto is important because crypto diffusion — a two-step process (see Two mental steps towards cryptoasset diffusion) takes time. The more people know about it, the faster it will diffuse. Nevertheless, crypto attention has its downsides: a) misconceptions are prevalent, b) several (not only financial) bubbles will burst, c) “overpresence” of pro-crypto people doesn’t represent overall adoption and leads to dangerous conclusions Besides that, they shared their goals for 2018, namely SDEX (Stellar
Disclaimer: I own several cryptoassets. My views might be biased. TL;DR Because Bitcoin and Blockchain are inseparably linked arguing that Bitcoin is a bubble that will burst but its underlying technology – Blockchain – will prevail is difficult without context (i. e. which Blockchain and – see second – what constitutes a Bitcoin bubble) Basing Bitcoin’s value on USA’s money supply and global gold supply a value for Bitcoin can be estimated that refutes any bubble-related claims Altcoins are better defined as cryptoassets. Cryptoassets can be divided into cryptocurrencies and cryptotokens. Cryptotokens enable a semi-publicization of centralized customer data and through that shift data governance to the data’s rightful creators Cryptotokens can be used to incentivize early adopters and kickstart networks Cryptotokens could create more financially conscious people and lead to positive social impacts by allowing more people to invest in companies Blockchain and Co. can be seen as an all-encompassing socio-technical system that could lead to unexpected second-order consequences in industry and society as it was the case with touchscreens, the Internet, and smartphones (I should make a TL;DR for the TL;DR) In the last couple of days, there has been quite some medial attention regarding Bitcoin. Some part of that activity centered around Bitcoin
Today, mobile payments. Actually, digital wallets. This annotation is important because the analysis’ centers around VR Bank HessenLand und Volksbank Mittelhessen introducing their pilot for smartphone-based mobile payment. Due to a payment-commoditization (payment goes from product to feature, see also PayPal and Raisin: payment-commoditization and FinTech-platforms), there is general agreement that mobile payment is to be integrated into another product. Candidates are banking apps, shopping apps, payment apps, and digital wallet. I am pro-digital wallets as they are inherently useful (they are better than analog wallets which are already – very effectively – used for mobile payment), combine the other products’ features and can create better solutions than those (e. g. contain new “things” such as virtual keys or to purchase new things such as parking tickets). Also, I argued that banks’ mobile payment solutions (exclusive for their payment methods) might make sense to them (by shutting out other payment providers they are prioritizing theirs) but not to the customer. As they give customers only a narrow choice of payment methods they turn customers’ payment behavior from paying with a wallet (with multiple payment methods) into paying with payment cards from one specific bank. Additionally, what speaks against such closed
Recently PayPal announced a „strategic investment“ into Germany-based Raisin. Raisin is a savings deposit marketplace for savings interest rates. Whereas PayPal is known to be „the button“ for online payments, it has gone beyond being just a payment provider. In fact, when looking at their goals one could even go so far and question whether they are still a payment provider or rather a FinTech platform focusing on personal finance management. For instance, PayPal’s vision is: to democratize financial services, as we believe that managing and moving money is a right for all people, not just the affluent. Our goal is to increase our relevance for consumers and merchants to manage and move their money anywhere in the world, anytime, on any platform and using any device.  In regards to Acorns, the micro-investing service they have integrated into their app, they communicate their goal as: help consumers take better control of their financial lives. Part of this mission is to ensure we’re also helping people build financial wellness. And whereas one could shrug that off as marketing talk their product line-up suggests otherwise, namely that PayPal is indeed becoming a FinTech platform for personal finance management applications beyond payments: Online
byte heroes, HydroMiner, Wysker, and cointed (see here for the first three ) were one of the first DACH-based Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). Now, with the recent ICOs (or announcements) of The NAGA Group and savedroid, we have a few more. Whereas there is no official definition of an ICO, most would agree that it is a way to raise money. However, it is important that a company should only ICO if there is clear demand for the token. Lack thereof will add unnecessary complexity to the business (with little to no upside benefit), threaten the token’s value and consequently lead to angry users and possible legal issues. Unnecessary complexity due to technical issues, lack of historical data, incompatibility and macroeconomic considerations Cryptotokens are still very early in several regards. Besides technical issues (e. g. scalability) lack of historical data (e. g. risk concerns, best practices, existences of bubbles) they are incompatible with users’ “past experiences” and there are macroeconomic considerations. Cryptotokens’ incompatible with past experiences Compatibility is defined as “the degree to which an innovation is perceived as consistent with the existing values, past experiences, and needs of potential adopters“ . Studies have shown that cultures who considered hot