Babbitt column | People may be wrong in the search for blockchain 3.0

After the emergence of Bitcoin, known as Blockchain 1.0, and Ethereum 2.0, many people who are looking forward to the next enthusiasm are looking for a seed project that can be called "blockchain 3.0." The degree of perseverance is no less than the enthusiasm of Europeans looking for "Third Rome." From the IOTA, which focuses on "tangling" technology, to the IPFS, which focuses on distributed storage, and the ATOM and COSMOS, which are the main cross-chain concepts, it has become the focus of attention, and the most prestigious EOS is based on last year. The $4.2 billion in financing during the year shocked the entire technology sector. However, as time went by, people began to discover that the performance of these so-called blockchain 3.0 candidates was not satisfactory, IOTA progressed slowly, IPFS did not move, COSMOS main online line failed, not to mention EOS. … The negative news that followed one after another has continuously impacted people's confidence. Countless disappointed investors and practitioners are asking: Where is the real blockchain 3.0? Are these former blockchain 3.0 projects, which were once highly anticipated, likely to set off storms like Bitcoin in 2013 and Ethereum in 2017?

To understand this problem, we must first understand why Bitcoin and Ethereum are called 1.0 and 2.0 respectively. Considering that the so-called blockchain x.0 is a less formal statement, strictly speaking, what we want to discuss is actually: why the last two projects were so successful, and what projects can replicate their success. experience.

For many people, the success of Bitcoin and Ethereum is mainly due to the fact that these two projects focus on the two technical concepts of “blockchain electronic money” and “smart contract”. If you can come up with a technical concept that makes people shine, it is very likely that they will replicate the success of previous projects and become the so-called blockchain 3.0 or 4.0. So we can see that in recent years, as long as the project side that can bring out the unclear technical concept will be awarded the title of blockchain 3.0 by the industry.

However, as mentioned at the beginning of the article, none of the projects that were once artificially pushed to the altar did not achieve the earlier expectations. Where is the reason? After a period of observation and research, the author found that in the question of the timing of the prediction of the blockchain 3.0 project, people may have entered a major misunderstanding: that is, overestimating the technology in the blockchain project The role of ignoring another important factor – ecology.

What is ecology? Popularly speaking, it is a trading system of goods and services. In this system, you only have to hold a certain digital currency to get the corresponding goods and services. Only under the support of such real trading targets can the price of digital currency be reflected. Why are Bitcoin and Ethereum the two most successful digital currencies so far? It is because they have built their own ecology to varying degrees, that is, a specific commodity service circulation system.

Let's look at Bitcoin first. Many readers may now read a lot of idealistic articles. They really think that people who use Bitcoin in their early years have hidden a soul that yearns for freedom. In fact, this is not the case. In the first few years after birth, Bitcoin made people most impressed by two characteristics: one is anonymity, the transferer is not easy to track, and the other is global circulation, independent of traditional financial gateways. Control. Therefore, its greatest use at the time was to buy a wide variety of grey goods and services from the dark online, while avoiding being tracked. In other words, the bitcoin price that supported the bitcoin price in the early years is the vast underground network and economic ecology of the world, and the holders of bitcoin can get the secret purchase rights of these global gray products.

The same is true of Ethereum. Many people now often feel that the biggest highlight of this project is the "smart contract". This is actually only half right. You must know that before the emergence of Ethereum, smart contracts that can automatically execute transactions and negotiations are in people's lives. It has been widely used. For example, offline vending machines and online automatic deduction systems, if you simply speculate on the concept of "smart contract", Ethereum certainly will not have today's results. So what is the price that supports it? The answer is a well-known, highly active decentralized financing system. Since the digital currency is a field of lack of supervision, the project team as an asset side can pull the disk in the case of high control, which has led to the crazy pursuit of the retail investors. Because of the intelligent contract, which is the automatic transfer system on the chain, Ethereum was the only public chain that was able to carry out the zero threshold financing at that time. Therefore, it received strong support from the Chinese and the project parties in this financing system. In short, Ethereum holders have the right to participate in potentially high-return projects with zero threshold. Of course, with the silence of this kind of financing model, and the “chain tour” ecology that has been taken over is very fading, Ethereum can no longer be used to exchange for a certain kind of unique goods and services, and its industry status has gradually declined, but That is another story.

It is not difficult to see from the above reorganization that the huge digital economic ecology is the main reason why Bitcoin and Ethereum can become the most successful two digital currencies. As for the factors such as technology and team, the correlation with the success of the project is relatively weak. Technical factors need not be said, the number of cases in which the technical concept is dazzling and the project operation is poor in the past two years is numerous. The above has already listed a bunch, and it is no longer open here. As for the team, there are precedents to follow. For example, the current BitShares community often feels that “if the BM was retained, the project will not be so dying now.” I don’t know that in a sense, there are now several runs on the chain. DEX's EOS can already be counted as an avatar of bit stocks, and what about EOS now? The situation is obvious. From the situation of other DEXs later, the reason why the bit stocks did not become the king of the second generation coins, and there is not much contact with the BM staying in the community, but because people have no special decentralized spot transactions. Strongly just needed, so it is difficult to form a prosperous economic system on this track, and the project is naturally difficult to succeed. The same situation has also appeared in various fantasy projects in the team that have been stuffed with a "Turing Prize Winner". On the contrary, there is no bitcoin in Nakamoto. It was originally sung by people for this reason, and the result has become the universal currency of the vast underground network of the world. Indirectly, the success of the technical route and team composition and project is not as strong as people think.

At the end of the article, say a few more words. The current blockchain industry has entered a misunderstanding: from investors to practitioners, all eyes are on the "coin", and no one cares about what kind of goods and services circulation system should correspond to digital currency. . Although many practitioners believe that investors only know about the price of coins, their vision is not much wider than investors, although they sometimes talk about the so-called "chain", such as cross-chain, side chain. The topic of lightning network, but these technologies are used to support the smooth flow of digital currency infrastructure, and can not produce an economic ecosystem that can support the currency price. Considering that financial credentials such as coins will still be the only application of blockchain technology within the expected time, what they are concerned with is actually the "coin" itself. If this kind of behavior is projected into traditional financial research, it is such a situation. The economic researchers in a country are not pondering about the country’s industrial structure and trade deficiencies, but how the printing technology is Good-looking, wire transfer speed is not fast enough… I don’t know if you have done the best of the above features, and you can’t get the value of your financial credentials to be recognized by people.

From this point of view, the key to the development of blockchain and digital currency is not the technology itself. What is the key? It consists of high-speed information channels built by 4G networks, 5G networks, high-speed optical fibers, and smart phones. It is the distribution of various goods and services including small video, Vlog, and e-commerce anchors, and it is a new technology that is changing with each passing day. New business model… Only when these economic ecosystems are established, digital currency can find entry points in the economic society, and its development will have a way out. The reason why the current currency circle is so cool, in the final analysis, is because people can't answer the minimum question of the outside world: What kind of use can you use to exchange digital goods? What kind of goods and services can you exchange? And this question, if you just stare at the digital currency itself, you definitely don't understand it, you have to go to the digital economy on the other side to find the answer. It's like you can't open the door with your hand and the anti-theft lock. You have to pick up the key from the back pocket.