Why Chris is Fed Up of Blockchain

and why it's time to double down on it

One does not take on Chris Skinner and live to see the future in fintech. Chris is a bigger troublemaker than most crypto anarchists so I can’t say ok boomer to his skepticism. Chris is also the one digital banking proponent who foresaw “banks need branches” as far back as 2012 and here we are in 2020 with digital banks rethinking stores and footfalls right in the middle of Covid19.

Alright let’s do it…

That means I might have something to worry about. Chris says he’s fed up of blockchain just when I am doubling, well, tripling down on crypto. Chris says

“The issue with blockchain is that we may all get excited about it but it is irrelevant. It is completely unusable. It is bottom of my list of things to look at.“

Meanwhile I am absolutely amazed by the relevance of this technology shown by off the charts network statistics in just one of the blockchains i.e. ethereum five years after launch.

  1. 3 THS hash rate (measure of compute power invested)

  2. 1 million monthly active users using Metamask (the most popular ethereum wallet).

  3. Peak daily transaction volume right before layer 2 scalability solutions like zk-rollups and layer 1 changes like ethereum 2.0 phase one drive a 10 to 100x improvement.

  4. Non stop innovation with Polkadot, Avalanche and Filecoin (decentralised storage) going live in 2020.

  5. 10 bn+ of crypto being used for interest and fee generating activities on decentralised applications on ethereum…

  6. Its all on twitter…

The company you keep…

Chris says

“Well, I wrote in 2015  that it would take at least ten years for blockchain or, if you would prefer, distributed ledger technology (DLT) to make a difference. Blockchain and DLT are not the same thing. The bottom-line is that, after over ten years of dialogue, I am yet to see blockchain/DLT do anything useful. It’s had a few breakout moments, like the ASX and AntChain, but overall the technology is a disappointment.”

  1. Bill Gates is a PC guy from the 1970s and 80s. When did Windows 95 come out? Yep … 1995.

  2. Netflix started working on streaming in 1998. When did it really work at scale? Jeez, 2015. So have your dvds shipped to you in the meantime

So that’s a little unfair to us nerds Chris. Honestly, it’s not my fault that you’re hanging out with the wrong crowd and reading glossy reports instead of playing with Dapps on the internet?

You expected Digital Transformation in banking to have gone a lot further down by now - and that’s with technology already mature and perfected by Silicon Valley in 2010. I think we both know how Digital Transformation in banking has gone so far. Compared to that, bitcoin has reached nearly half a billion users after launch from start and none of the billions in bank, corporate or government IT, change or “transformation” budgets were hurt in the process.

  • Over 42 million bitcoin wallets had been set up globally by Dec 2019

  • An estimated five percent of Americans hold bitcoin

  • There are 7.1 million active bitcoin users

  • Leading exchange Coinbase has over 13 million users

  • 34% of the wallets are active according to Chainalysis. Bitcoin is ACTUALLY being used.

  • Emerging markets users, who are often not considered in statistics, are
    likely in the millions

You’re in the wrong bank Chris, let’s go to Africa where humanity started…

How bitcoin met the real world in Africa

Watching the wrong television…

“The issue is, as I highlighted back in 2015, that the problems it solves are not technology problems. They are structural issues. Issues that require agreements between industry, finance, government and citizens. Issues like digital identity and cross-border processing. These are not issues that are solved by one entity. They involve multiple entities across borders and geographies. That is why blockchain has disappointed.”

No no no Chris, you’re making it way too complicated. It’s much simpler.

As Andreas Antonopoulos, one of the foremost educators of blockchain and cryptocurrency technology said: if it isn’t open, it ain’t worth (NSFW).

Chris needs to install Metamask immediately and get on THAT blockchain.

Meanwhile, here’s some must watch television on the history of technology and the internet

Watch Halt and Catch Fire Season 3 | Prime Video

It’s Blockchain Enterprise not Enterprise Blockchain…

Chris is thinking of Enterprise Blockchain. The issue with the term “enterprise blockchain” is it assumes enterprise with blockchain will look the same as enterprise today and all those companies will remain unchanged while they accept blockchain in their lives and sing Hallelujah in unison.

That was my mistake for a very long time. I sold “enterprise blockchain” quite successfully for five years before I realised the word enterprise is not a constant through history. Over time, technology changes entirely what it means to be an enterprise. Blockchain is that kind of technology and it’s changing the meaning of enterprise on the fringes TODAY.

  1. Enterprise used to be 500,000 guys working in blue suits or blue collars. Then came PCs and enterprise became 50000 guys in shorts. IBM, GE and GM ruled this era.

  2. Then came the internet and enterprise became 500 guys in NYC, 500 in Tokyo, 500 in Bangalore wearing casual… Microsoft, IBM and Oracle ruled this era.

  3. Then came cloud computing and enterprise became 5 guys in one garage wearing shorts growing into 500 guys in San Francisco.

  4. Then came blockchain and jeez, now enterprise is one guy in a garage in South Africa writing a decentralised lending protocol with the other guy in Shanghai fixing (or hacking) his or her code.

    I don’t even want to know if he or she is appropriately dressed at all. Here’s a job ad that might “tickle your pickle” …

Think Internet, not Bank…

Enterprise in the open source era is fluid networks of people collaborating on projects that solve a problem. The internet forces open networks upon us. It’s the most efficient configuration of the global economy. This is why the ‘owned by 5 companies’ information superhighway is long dead ( hey Hedera and DLT people, you guys need to get out of that mode while you still can ) and the unruly, risky, unsafe internet of once upon a time is everything.

So honestly, I don’t care if blockchain is irrelevant for the bankers Chris is hanging out with as long as it’s exponentially more meaningful for the weirdos in the fringes that I am hanging out with. Blockchain isn’t looking to be accepted by Blockbuster video. It’s looking to build Netflixes and Amazons of the next generation. Hell it’s looking to disrupt the Netflixes and Amazons of our era entirely because those are the Blockbuster videos of our era. If it’s hard to imagine that possibility, that’s because it’s supposed to be. It was hard to imagine that when I was renting tapes in Edison NJ in 1999.

A Love Letter to the World's Last Blockbuster Video Store

Never mind me, Talk to this guy:

  1. Who’s the one guy who’s NEVER been wrong about the internet? Yeh, he’s doubling down too, and he’s looking right at you.

    Marc Andreessen — Lessons, Predictions, and Recommendations from an Icon  (#163) – The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss