(16/16) Non-fungible by nature
(16/16) The following post is part 16 of a 16-part story about how I came around to crypto. Part 15 can be found here.
And this is going to be somewhat of a cheat post. I don’t totally know where to close it out, so I think this is as good a spot as any.
So much has happened in the past ~9 months since I jumped in that I haven’t fully had time to process it or even contextualize it. I’ll revisit it soon. But the whole point of this series was to show you my mindset in entering this space…But everything that has happened over the past 9 months has been real and feels almost exactly how I had hoped it would feel. I have been *waiting* for this. I have been *waiting* for people to catch up and it feels like we have reached a tipping point where it’s no longer just for weirdos and neckbeards. It’s somewhat mainstream. I don’t doubt that we are going to see more crypto winters ahead, but I don’t know if any of them will be as bad (to me) as that last one from 2018-2021.
One thing I’ve noticed over the past few months - there seems to be a lot of people who *hate* crypto and *hate* NFTs and they’re all very vocal about it. ‘It’s for money laundering’, ‘it’s a ponzi’, ‘crypto bros’. And what I’ve found - almost *none* of them understand what it is that they hate. And IMO, these people are either incentivized to hate it or are missing the point entirely.
The main thing I’d like to point out here…most people who hate on crypto tend to think that the existing financial markets are somehow ‘legit’. They don’t understand what goes on in these markets and they certainly don’t understand the amounts of money that these lawmakers are making by dishonestly trading on insider information in a supposed ‘free’ market. Just look at Nancy Pelosi.
Now this is a VERY simplified example with all kinds of nuance, but consider the below graphs from this article. It’s comparing financials between Tesla and Toyota. The first line graph shows how much money each company ‘made’. The second line graph shows how much they pocketed (made - expenses). The third line graph shows how much the stock market actually values each company. According to this chart - Toyota pocketed $22bn while Tesla pocketed $1bn, yet the stock market somehow values Tesla more than TWICE as much as Toyota. How is that for ‘fundamentals’?
So any time anyone argues against crypto and uses the existing markets as something we should all look towards for guidance - I know that they have no idea what they’re even arguing against. The financial markets have become a shell of what they were meant to represent, and most ‘regular people’ have no business being in them, myself included. The whole point of (good) crypto is more ‘power to the people’ - the idea that the markets will level themselves without corporate or government intervention. Just because corporations and governments have suddenly taken an interest doesn’t mean that they can control it. It was built so that NO ONE can control it.
That is the point of decentralization. That is the definition of decentralization. Corps are gonna corp. Govs are gonna gov. But these corps nor govs have any *real control over the best of these crypto instruments because the best of these instruments are decentralized. And they are decentralized because they were built with the intention of giving EVERYONE access and NO ONE control. Read the Bitcoin whitepaper (it’s only 9 pages - shorter than this series!). Decentralization is an ideal and in this case, it is a reality - Bitcoin is decentralized. Corps and govs can invest in it and they can buy into it because it is accessible to *EVERYONE* - from the poorest of poor to the richest of the rich - ANYONE can buy into it if they so choose (the lowest denomination of a Bitcoin, called a Satoshi, is easily purchasable by anyone with internet access for around $0.0004267 USD as I type this sentence). Sure, they can influence the price, but NO ONE can control it. Remember that.
So…the name…I thought about a lot of different names for this series and I ended up on ‘Non-fungible by Nature'. I told you in the beginning, I hate the words ‘Non-fungible’, but I had to use them. Non-fungible means ‘one of a kind’ or ‘unique’ and I would say that anything I type on this blog is one of a kind or unique. It’s my experience and it’s mine alone. It’s my Non-fungible experience. And hopefully, it makes sense to you as to why I wrote it. I think if you started this series wondering why anyone would get into crypto and earnestly tried to understand, my experience might help you understand.
In any case - THIS IS NOT FINANCIAL ADVICE!!!
(And now…back to sneakers).
Decentralization works! But people (corporations, governments) are forever power-hungry and control-seeking. I read recently that one reason Ukrainians who are stuck in Ukraine can still communicate with the outside world is that Ukraine has an unusally high number of Internet service providers - decentralization! Compare that to China where the government has strict control over the internet. This also shows that even though the internet was designed with decentralization in mind (completely flat organization, multiple networks, and path-finding that works sort-of automatically, even when parts of the network are disconnected), it still got dominated by governments who want to control it.
By the way, there are still points of centralization in the internet - technology such as DNS and organizations such as IANA. Crytocurrency has points of centralization such as exchanges. Watch out for who controls these points!