Good morning, everyone!
Over the past few months I have been going down the rabbit hole, by watching countless podcasts (mostly about Bitcoin), reading a bunch of articles and following the cryptocurrency space in general... I'm even reading a book about Bitcoin, The Bitcoin Standard, by Saifedean Ammous. 😊
The main thing I learned is that "Decentralised" is being used as a generic catchword by many people and many projects in order to sell their "fish" and get rich fast... thus deceiving a lot of people in the process. Or maybe not, since most people actually don't seem to care about that at all, they only care about making money. Centralised, censurable, dirt, FIAT money, that's all they care about.
Let's face it... the majority of folks in the cryptosphere are only here for Exchange Rate Speculation.
This is a huge problem in this space, as the hype around the markets get so high and so extreme that a lot of people without any integrity (or interest in Crypto at all) pop up and start taking advantage of it. One might think that more users and more projects means that Cryptocurrency adoption is rising... but no, that ain't true at all. Sadly, it only means that a lot of scammers are using Crypto in order to make a living.
But not all is bad. Cryptocurrency adoption is, indeed, growing. Just not as much as it appears.
We have to filter through all the garbage and noise to understand that a lot of good people are working and focusing on what matters: taking the power back from the bankers, multinational mega-corporations and politicians... and empowering the individuals.
We can find some of these good people in projects like Hive, for example... or Avalanche, Polkadot, Origin Trail or Tezos... but, to say the truth, these are a small group of people in the space. Most of the honest guys are working for Bitcoin.
But let's go back to the point of this post. What I wanted to talk about is decentralisation. Real decentralisation, not just for show.
Here's a good example:
In this case, a scammer was able to trick the owner of a collection of NFTs published in OpenSea to share his private keys, thus allowing himself to be robbed.
Now, if the OpenSea project was really decentralised, as it claims to be... the NFTs which had been bought by users wouldn't have been affected at all, they would remain in the buyer's wallets and the drama would have been kept to a minimum. However, as you can realise by reading the comments in that thread, a lot of buyers got their NFTs stolen in the process, which proves that OpenSea is... a Centralised Exchange, after all.
More, the owner of the collection was able to convince the OpenSea support to Freeze all the stolen NFTs.
Wait... say what? Freeze funds... that are supposed to be in a decentralised blockchain? 🤔 Is this a joke? No. No joke. Just a centralised project (OpenSea) in a semi-centralised blockchain (Ethereum...)
They might seem decentralised but these sort of constant shenanigans prove they are not. At least, not enough.
I know that it's no fun to be robbed and see our possessions disappear. But that's one of the downsides of Cryptocurrency and we should all be very careful to prevent that from happening.
If we go around screaming, shouting and freezing people's assets every time there's a problem, we don't need a decentralised blockchain at all. We would be much better served by a traditional centralised platform.
Yes, I went there: Ethereum is full of problems... and not as decentralised as it claims.
However, there are worse platforms out there. Solana have been making the news lately, much because of a pump (most likely) organised by the Venture Capital Fund which owns it, Alameda Research. With a little help from their friends at the FTX exchange, they can pump SOL price pretty much when they want.
Even compared to Ethereum, this project is a big pile of dong. If you want to verify if Solana is indeed a Blockchain, you would download some software to run a full node. Well, well, well... guess what? You can't run a full node. You can only run a partial node and you must trust the "4 Trusted Validator Nodes" run by Solana itself in order to synchronise with the blockchain.
So, how can we even be sure it's a blockchain? Short answer: we can't. It might well be a MariaDB database which is running the whole thing in the background.
These guys are selling NFTs, convincing people that they are the next big thing... and what will happen if they, one day, decide to turn of their "4 Trusted Validator Nodes"? I tell you what: all those SOL tokens and NFTs disappear into the ether and investors/gamblers will get burned.
This is a single example in a sea of scammers, hoaxes and marketing stunts.
In fact, the problem has become so rampant that a new term was forged:
- DINO: Decentralised In Name Only
This is why it's so important for people to stop trusting and start verifying. Stop blindly following all the youtubers with open mouth disease (you can identify them easily as most of their YouTube videos have a thumbnail with a guy with a shocked face and open mouth.)
Instead, start really investigating the projects by yourself.
Start by digging through their page, check out the software. Is it open source? See if it's possible to run a full node by yourself. If the requirements are too high and too expensive for a regular person or, if you cannot run a full node at all, these are huge red flags and you're likely dealing with a DINO.
Also, check out when the project was started. Most of the honest projects have been developing all the way through the bear market. If a project only appeared after the Bitcoin price started to go up a lot, you can be sure that either these guys are just following the money train... or worse, they are mere scammers.
I bet that most projects will simply disappear without an explanation when the prices start to fall. This happened in 2018 and it it happen once more. It's inevitable. Scammers are only around... while there's money to be made.
Meanwhile, all the credible projects and honest teams will carry on as if the falling prices didn't affect them at all. This is a sign of honesty and integrity... and this is what you will find among the best communities, specially in the Bitcoin community. Those people have been working through rain and sun and they will do it again, and again, and again.
These are the kind of people you can trust. These are the people who are fighting for a better world, not just for themselves but for all of us, including you and me.
I'd like to end this post with a quote from Lina Seiche. You probably have seen her cartoons about Bitcoin already, even if you don't recognise her name.
"If you are stressed about the price, you have too much exposure in relation to your conviction.
You can have all your money on Bitcoin and not be stressed but you need a lot of conviction for that.
So... if you're stressed you should either:
- Learn more about Bitcoin... or...
- Reduce your exposure."
I believe this is a great quote and simply perfect. Short, simple and true.
Well, that's all for now... Sorry about the rant but I start to get tired to see so many bad actors in this space. I know they will be weeded out during the next bear market, as always. But I wish we didn't had to go through all this... bulshit.