My thoughts on crypto: 2022

It's 2022. 1 bitcoin is about $35.5k USD. An ethereum is $2.3kUSD. I hold 0.2ETH, which I bought because I really like Gary Vaynerchuk, and I was interested in his NFT project VeeFriends. Ultimately, those NFTs were too expensive for me to feel comfortable participating, primarily around gas fees.

I first heard about bitcoin in late 2010 or early 2011 at hack&&tell. A finance person was telling me about it and it didn't make a lot of sense to me. A BTC was worth about $6, but he wouldn't sell me his.

As I write this, I'm rather frustrated with the crypto phenomenon for a few reasons.

First, it has a significant environmental impact. This article by Everest Pipkin details many of the environmental issues with cryptocurrencies and NFTs. They are significant. Ethereum alone consumes power on the same scale as Ecuador, a nation with 17.6m people. To support this while we're facing the sixth mass extinction, not to mention countless other climate-related issues, feels immoral.

Second, getting into authoring code in the system is a pay-to-play affair. I find the notion of ethereum to be fascinating. It appeals to the programmer in me which really likes rules and logic, especially as it relates to automating contract enforcement. Early in my awareness of the broader crypto scale-up, I favored it over bitcoin because of these properties. Unfortunately, there are real costs to deploying code onto this network. A recent article on medium puts even the simplest deployments at $500USD each and easily into the $10k USD. In an environment where we're only now starting to crack the issues of disadvantaged folks breaking into coding, adding an additional financial hurdle feels cruel.

As a member of the "Oregon trail generation", the internet was both a revelation and significant in my life. Encoded into the technology is an ethos of sharing, building something together to lift up the masses. A lot of that has fallen away in the waves of social media that have come since, but I still believe in that vision. I believe the world that "web3" is building will push us further away from the more socialist ideals of the early internet towards a capitalistic version of financializing everything. Ultimately, that's not where I want the internet to go.

The last thing that's frustrating about all of this is I want to like it. I think there's good money to be made in that area of tech. I think being in the early portions of a career will have similar feelings to what I felt being a programmer in "web2.0". I think that it would be comparatively easier to achieve some form of prestige in that technical area given it's newness. I even like the underpinnings of cryptography and portions of the cypherpunk future that this is ushering in. I just wish I could be more excited about it all. :(

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