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A Cypherpunk’s Take on the Blockchain Industry

December 17, 2018



Time and time again, it has seemed as if the bulk of the blockchain industry’s news updates this year have focused on roadblocks and generally negative events. With is in mind, it is easy to see how much of an influence the yearly news cycle can have on the pricing of a financial market, especially one that is so new.


As we are still in this cycle as well, most of our updates have naturally come in the same vein. Despite this, certain benefits can be realized from a quick analysis of even the most negative pieces.


Recently, CoinDesk has been continuously publishing a series of articles with expert opinions on the most important takeaways from 2018. Until today, all these posts appear to have been from venture capitalists and fund managers, as well as other similarly experienced professionals. While these people are experienced with cryptocurrency trading and analysis, they are typically missing one key element in their background that could lead to a more well-rounded stance on the industry.

In short, most of these posts were heavily influenced by these people’s need for the market to rebound. For this reason, as well, today’s is different.


According to CoinDesk, back in October, they published an opinion piece by Timothy May, a famous cryptographer and cypherpunk, on just how for Bitcoin has come from its’ inception to now. What they ended up with was May’s 30-page critique on everything that has gone wrong since Satoshi’s original white paper was released. What was supposed to be a sort of celebratory piece for Bitcoin’s 10-year anniversary, ended up being quite the opposite.


Today’s post is a unique re-formatting of May’s effective paper into the form of an interview that never happened to bring his conclusions to light. It is also important to note that this stands as a tribute to his legacy since he just passed away this month.


Overall, after a detailed look at the piece, four points rise to the forefront. First, May believes Bitcoin is taking the path it was meant to take. To this, he suggests that it represents the only successfully implemented use case of a cryptocurrency so far since it works for all sorts of payments.


 Second, on the other side of things, May appears to add that most other projects are too far ahead of their time or completely misguided in what they are working on. Inside of this, he mentions the idea of reputation tokens, which could relate directly to a project like Augur that rewards those who submit predictions that turn out to be accurate in this fashion.


Next, he spends a considerable amount of time talking about the media cycle that has surrounded the rise of the blockchain space, particularly from 2017-2018. What is most interesting here is what May concludes about all of it, including blockchain conferences and ICOs. According to him, white paper releases, conferences, and general news updates inundate us with constant industry updates to the point that no one can reliably keep up with these developments. In other words, the mental tax is just too great, and something needs to change in this regard.


Finally, over the course of the piece, one theme seems to be constant. If you fall into May’s camp, then you fall into the camp that will continue to fight against banks and governments being involved in crypto at all. Time and time again, he makes it clear that we need to stand firm against their involvement as well as even powerful industry involvement to an extent.


Once this is known, the cries of the need for all blockchain professionals, including investors, to come together for the industry to succeed seem even more difficult to answer. Perhaps, to achieve this, we need to move away from our hype machine and back towards an emphasis on the technology that makes the space so special.

In honor of Timothy May and his contribution to everything that surrounds the crypto space, check out his seminal work here.



By: BGN Editorial Staff

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