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Coinbase CEO Brain Armstrong had a fireside talk with Ben Horowitz, the co-founder of A16z, a world-renowned venture capital firm. Armstrong shared some of the conversation on Twitter today (the video of the conversation is expected to be posted on the YouTube channel soon). Armstrong believes that Ben speaks well of the similarities between the early Internet and the cryptocurrency industry. Here are some highlights of the conversation:
- One of Silicon Valley's top VCs, a16z, announced a free start! Dedicated to cryptocurrency and blockchain entrepreneurs
- Libra's five board members were freshly released, and a16z said that its initial intentions have not changed.
- Institutional encryption hosting company Anchorage completed $4,000 B round of financing, led by Visa, Blockchain Capital and A16Z
- Notes | About the scrutiny of the verifier 100% Slash, a16z talk about open source movement
In the early Netscape era, they used early Internet protocols. The scalability of these things (dial-up modems) is not very good. Users must have some skills to figure out how to get online, and early websites were very basic (static sites that looked like toys).
Does it sound much like the cryptocurrency industry?
When they tried to create a shopping cart and see if they could create a first-party application, they finally figured it out. There is no way to save state or create a session (for example, making a shopping cart), so they created the concept of cookies.
Then there was the next problem, no one wanted to put a credit card on the Internet, because everything was displayed on http in plain text. So they went on to invent SSL / HTTPS.
When they started running first-party applications in the browser, they invented tools to make web applications mainstream globally, attracting millions of developers and startups.
In any case, the similarities with cryptocurrencies are shocking:
- The slow internet speed / dial-up model reflects early challenges in scaling the blockchain.
- SSL and HTTP are similar to some privacy protection measures of the blockchain.
- Web usability improvements for non-technical people are similar to Dapp usability (this has a long way to go).
For example, http://WalletLink.org (and @coinbasewallet) makes it easier for people to "login" to a Dapp immediately and then get push notifications to approve a payment or operation. This was much more difficult in the past.
For me, the biggest areas I think the blockchain industry needs to develop are:
- Scalability-We need a blockchain that can reach at least thousands of TPS for mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies (similar to broadband Internet is a major unlocking method on the network)
- Privacy-I think we need privacy coins, just like we need HTTPS as the default on the web. In the long run, many use cases require privacy coins. Everyone deserves financial services and financial privacy.
- Decentralized Identity-When you open a "dapp" in your wallet, it should automatically know who you are and how to send you a payment request. For example, this is the main driving force for the growth of applications (mini-programs) in WeChat (no registration or payment method required).
- Decentralized identity also enables users to earn reputation scores (similar to today's FICO or credit scores), as well as proofs or claims about KYC, which I think will unlock a lot of use cases.
- Developer tools-The process for developers to build applications, publish them, and distribute them is simple. These applications need to be “available” to users, so they need to focus more on the user experience (the standardization of decentralized identities above will help with this)
The underlying scripting language of each blockchain is also an important part of developer tools. The development of HTML / CSS is so successful because it is so simple. Compared to low-level or complex binary protocols, it is important for hobbyists to get started.
History will not repeat itself, but it is always strikingly similar.
I think the blockchain to upgrade cryptocurrencies from about 50 million users to 5 billion is still an open question. Blockchains that can successfully implement these scalability, privacy, decentralized identities, and developer tools solutions will make a big difference.
The good news is that many participants are now competing for the ultimate victory, let's see who set sail first! This is the hardest thing for builders and I will give my full support.
The good news is that many teams are now competing for this award. Let's see who shipped! (This is one of the hardest things for builders-I fully support it.)