Crypto likes to see itself as disruptive, simply as Apple disrupted cellphones (and the digital camera), Tesla disrupted automotive (and likewise sustainable power), Twitter/Fb/WhatsApp disrupted media and communications (and likewise digital neighborhood constructing). At OKCoin, we embrace this trade as a result of we additionally consider that bitcoin and subsequent cryptocurrencies signify a paradigm shift in each our monetary system and social cloth. Whereas it is unclear what this shift will appear to be, or if it would ever be static, there’ll at all times be a necessity for a technical and monetary infrastructure that permits folks to simply and safely purchase, promote and preserve their bitcoin and digital belongings in an open, inclusive and free international market. It’s this perception that led to the creation of OKCoin in 2013 and has saved us in it for the lengthy haul.
As somebody with a earlier life on Wall Road, nonetheless, I’m additionally suspicious of buzzwords like “disruption,” “transformation” and “paradigm shift.” I’ve heard these buzz phrases greater than I care to throughout my more-than-a-decade expertise on the “darkish facet.” Entrepreneurs use them to get funding for their startups or in preparation for taking a enterprise public. However when it’s not more than a buzzword, usually it doesn’t take a very long time for the market to catch up.
The cryptocurrency trade faces the identical problem. In the course of the ICO growth of 2017, giant quantities of capital flooded in for the primary time. I used to be nonetheless dwelling my joyful investor life and had already invested in OKCoin, then the biggest crypto change in China. Naturally, there was an inflow of ICO white papers in my inbox.
That made me anxious. As an investor, you stability two forms of threat. The primary is reputational threat: You don’t need to miss out on a great deal. The second is capital threat: You don’t need to lose cash by placing any of your eggs within the improper basket. It took me a while to filter by way of all of the noise. I went by way of the white papers (which didn’t assist), did extra analysis and consulted engineering gurus (which did assist).
In the end, I’m joyful that I didn’t spend money on any of these tasks. The blockchain expertise was not prepared. And the bubble went bust. (I did spend money on bitcoin and maintain onto it nonetheless, which has since gone by way of a number of value cycles, continued to draw the biggest variety of builders and remained the largest and most dynamic asset inside the crypto trade.)
So key lesson realized: When you don’t have any actual technological breakthrough, you don’t have any actual disruptors.
The Cryptocurrency Ecosystem Wants FOSS Builders to Be Disruptive
The cryptocurrency ecosystem is house to 2 forms of builders. First-layer builders are accountable for the foundational work of bettering the underlying code of various crypto protocols. Second-layer builders construct on these foundations, discovering distinctive options for entrenched real-world issues like funds, power distribution and even measuring local weather change. Each forms of builders are essential innovators who drive developments in our trade.
With out builders, there isn’t a technological breakthrough. And not using a breakthrough, there isn’t a disruption. As such, we just lately created the OKCoin Unbiased Developer Grant that embodies three tenets we consider are essential to supporting crypto builders: give attention to free or open-source software program (FOSS), shield independence and encourage decentralization.
FOSS Development First: Free and open-source improvement is vital to technological breakthroughs in crypto. Going past the truth that FOSS aligns with its the founding ethos — that members want unfettered entry to the system — to create a sweeping change, you want quite a lot of opinions and expertise that aren’t constrained by any company agenda.
Independence and decentralization: Independence and decentralization are the soul of crypto — it’s why crypto has captured the eye, creativeness and assets of so many. OKCoin started as a centralized change, not as a result of we dismissed decentralization, however as a result of it’s what our trade presently wants. The important thing phrase in “centralized crypto change” is “crypto,” not “centralized.” We need to make certain our trade’s genesis spirit is honored and upheld.
This implies two issues for our Unbiased Developer Grant.
- Our help is no-strings connected: Builders work independently towards what they consider is important for the development of crypto.
- We prioritize decentralized protocols, like Bitcoin: Our objective is to offer direct and ongoing contributions to unbiased builders behind main and decentralized crypto tasks. These grants are awarded on benefit with out compromising the liberty of their work — we wish builders to pursue their very own tasks, discovering options to issues we haven’t even imagined but.
Our Social Duty to Assist FOSS Development
As a worldwide cryptocurrency change targeted on offering a straightforward and secure fiat on-ramp and off-ramp to finish customers and buyers, we even have a particular accountability to help FOSS improvement and its builders.
Lengthy-term worth creation. Traders come to our platform to purchase bitcoin and different crypto belongings, however it’s the developer neighborhood that continues to work on the underlying protocols, validate the worth proposition of crypto tasks, and make them extra related, safe and simple to make use of. The standard of their work can determine long-term worth creation for the buyers.
Mainstream consciousness. Because the progenitor of all decentralized cryptocurrencies and the primary to interrupt into the mainstream consciousness, bitcoin has each the clout and the model consciousness to create actual, significant change in our society. When bitcoin first entered the general public consciousness, the narrative was closely oriented towards builders as a result of the sector was so technical. As exchanges emerged to facilitate buying and selling of the bitcoin and different crypto belongings, public consideration naturally centered round value volatility and hypothesis.
As a bridge between cryptocurrencies and conventional finance, we’re well-positioned to function an trade ambassador, additional help analysis improvement, foster dialogue round it and assist promote consciousness for additional adoption within the mainstream.
Trade Basis. We’re additionally among the many heaviest customers of blockchain networks. We’ve run many bitcoin nodes since OKCoin was based. We additionally depend on the soundness of the community to make sure safe and seamless deposit, commerce and withdrawal of bitcoin for our customers. This makes contributing to the technical soundness of the community of even increased significance.
We Are Simply One in every of Many
We hope that initiatives like our Unbiased Developer Grant will proceed to remind all of us that we’re all on this collectively. Now we have began our grant with Bitcoin Core builders as a result of Bitcoin, the biggest crypto asset because it stands immediately, has at all times been a community-driven trigger and can proceed to prosper as such. We’re simply considered one of many on this neighborhood.
The easiest way to allow continued progress and actual disruption is to remain linked with the neighborhood and allow extra software program engineers to work on the open-source protocols independently and in a decentralized method. We can’t do a lot on our personal, however collectively we will hopefully create an thrilling new decade for our trade.
That is an op ed contribution by Hong Fang of OKCoin. Views expressed are her personal and don’t essentially replicate these of Bitcoin Journal or BTCInc.