Once in a while, it’s important to pause and think about the mission: what we are all building and why.
If you don’t regularly obsess about socioeconomics, it might be tempting to think crypto and defi is “just” a back-end upgrade to traditional finance. Or that the goal should be wealth accumulation for early adopters seeking to detach from society at large.
Both would be a mistake.
We are building a group of transformative networks that empower end users, not a “citadel” that serves as an escape valve from society and oversight.
A transformative moment
Properly executed and properly regulated, crypto and defi projects could be the best mechanisms yet invented to build the kind of incentive structures we need to drive mass affluence, and real ownership, by regular people, of the means of financial production.
Stock market ownership never penetrated society at the levels it should have (https://federalreserve.gov/publications/2017-September-changes-in-us-family-finances-from-2013-to-2016.htm). You can blame “the system” — 401k fund choices, fees, market hours, lack of access to financial education, volatility, or lack of sufficient savings to meaningfully invest.
In crypto and defi, “the system” will not hold you back. Early interest in a project can earn you a meaningful ownership stake via airdrops, which you can stake (invest/lend) to earn recurring fees. You are directly, personally, capturing the spread that big banks captured in traditional finance.
A shift in ownership and power
We don’t have an analogue for this in traditional finance. We don’t airdrop equities to workers who contribute meaningfully to corporate projects, except through highly structured plans that are typically rife with challenges for employees.
It’s easy to forget the quantitative improvements. Testing incentive structure designs used to take 30+ years. Now it takes a month and the results are auditable on the public blockchain. This is a _big deal_ for socioeconomics.
So in a sense, the early chaos (food coins, protocol wars, hacks) simply reflects a faster pace of progress thanks to a redistribution of economic power from conservative product builders at traditional financial institutions, to anyone handy with Vyper and the Ethereum Virtual Machine.
Leaving the “citadel”
It is cliche to say that crypto will drive the “ownership economy.” But it’s true.
Far from being a simple upgrade to backend systems, crypto changes ownership structures in precisely the way that all competing economic philosophies have been driving towards for 200 years now.
If we want to realize that vision, we must leave the ‘citadel’ meme — crypto as an escape valve from society and regulation — behind. Instead, we must realize that well-functioning crypto networks are a societal upgrade that everyone can benefit from.
Thus, we all bear a responsibility to clearly communicate the potential and risks of this new technology to policymakers. Once crypto is properly understood as a transformative socioeconomic tool, we can agree that regulation is good and necessary, and continue forward progress.
Inevitably, we’ll have multiple networks serving multiple purposes.
Our mission as builders is simple: get ownership of those networks into the hands of as many people as possible. So let’s build well, with history in mind, and the sense of optimism such radical potential deserves.
Leave the “citadel” behind.