Updated: Jan 13
Bitcoin, Ethereum, Blockchain. These words are on everyone’s lips lately and they represent one of the hottest topics at the moment.
Seen through the eyes of the masses, how much understanding is there about the phenomenon, its utility and adoption?
From Decentralized Finance and Artificial Intelligence to anonymous, blazing fast money transfers worldwide its a technology that will usher humanity into the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
A source of unexpected wealth for some and a way to lose money for others, Blockchain is so much more than a way to make fast cash. With applications in nearly all possible fields, its a revolutionary technology that will change our lives profoundly in the not so distant future.
Yet so few really understand what Blockchain is, mostly because the topic is hard to tackle given its complicated and, for some, intimidating technological nature.
A wise man once said Blockchain is everything you don't understand about technology combined with everything you don't understand about money. But is it really?
What is Blockchain?
The blockchain is an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way. It is decentralized and anonymous by nature and considered secure by design.
Even with the advent of Quantum Computing, it is unanimously accepted that Blockchain will still remain fast and secure.
As such, it's understandable why so many companies are migrating towards Blockchain-powered solutions.
2017 ICO craze:
Before 2017 Blockchain was mostly synonymous with Bitcoin as BTC gathered the most media attention through its price volatility. Apart from a limited community, not many understood what BTC was and the advantages of its underlying technology.
However, looming on the horizon, rival project Ethereum (ETH) came with a big bang in 2017 after 4 years of obscurity. Bringing the novelty of Smart Contracts and enabling immutable agreements without the need for a middleman it quickly gathered a massive following in the institutional sector.
In the footsteps of Ethereum, came its cohort of Initial Coin Offerings. ICOs in short, these were projects developed on the Ethereum technology using Smart Contracts and all the technical capabilities of the platform.
In order to gather funding, these projects created their own Ethereum ERC-20 based tokens and offered them via an Initial Coin Offering where any user could buy these specific tokens in exchange for ETH(Ethereum).
These projects covered a wide area of fields of activity and in 2017s unregulated market a lot of them turned out to be scams.
The ones that weren’t though were subjected to huge price volatility and nearly everyone who was investing was doing so expecting huge near term gains and causing massive pumps and dumps which were detrimental to the project.
While some were gaining fortunes, many people lost a lot of money doing poor, uninformed, investment decisions, and following Bitcoin’s dump in price at the beginning of 2018 many of these ICOs failed to deliver on their promises and shutdown. Others were forcibly shutdown by the lawmakers for being unable to comply with emerging regulations in their respective countries.
Although the market was in decline, some ICO projects survived while their teams worked hard to deliver results.
2020 and present re-emergence:
During 2020, with the resurgence of Bitcoin's price volatility and mass media coverage, a lot of 2017’s ICOs that remained under the radar are now taking the spotlight.
While Bitcoin continues to topple down charts with its impressive price gains, a lot of people are beginning to invest again with little to no knowledge about the topic, and while this isn’t 2017 anymore, a considerable number of projects fail to provide their investors with the most basic channels of interaction.
Following 3 years of low prices and troubled funding many, of these companies can't afford dedicated marketing departments and digital teams.
Most communications are done in a disorganized way, by the community, via Telegram channels, Discord, Slack or Twitter.
Messages are bombastic in nature and provide little to no context about the project. Websites are built with functionality in mind and not the user, ending up in a cumbersome consumer journey for anyone who isn’t tech savvy and wants to learn more.
With no communication strategy and no clear direction in terms of promotion and awareness, many of the 2017’s surviving ICOs are bound to repeat their past mistakes and shutdown entirely, especially in the context of upcoming regulations.
As we move into 2021 there is an impending need for clear and transparent communication, as well as a user oriented approach to digital properties like websites, social media channels and platforms.
What makes your Blockchain solution better than the rest? Is it speed? Is it security? Is it an underlying feat of technological advancement so ahead of the competition that will leave everyone behind? How do you expect to drive adoption both in the developer community but also in the user community?
All these questions remain still unanswered and with more and more projects competing for mass adoption the winner will be decided by the end user and the ease with which he interacts with the platform.