More trends relevant to crypto

In yesterday’s post I listed five trends related to crypto that I came up with for a brainstorming exercise with the team ahead of our offsite retreat. The rest of the team came with their own awesome lists of trends and I thought I’d share some of them here:

  • Congress’s increasing irrelevance was echoed by others, and yet a big trend over the past year has been the increasing number of voices in DC lobbying on crypto issues. Back in 2011 I was more or less the only person in DC working full-time on the issue. Two years ago there were maybe two or three groups, each with clear agendas. Today there are dozens of interests of varying quality and motivation lobbying for disparate things. This results in increasing confusion in Congress and in the crypto community.
  • Sticking with Congress, we had two related and somewhat conflicting trends spotted. Since Congress started looking at crypto in 2013, it has thankfully been a non-partisan issue, meaning that a member’s party affiliation did not predict whether they were a champion, a skeptic, a critic, or uninterested. That trend continues in a way. For example, congressional action on crypto (bills introduced, letters sent, caucus events) are almost always bipartisan. That said, we definitely detect a growing amount of partisanship on crypto issues reflected, for example, in the recently proposed stablecoin bills, but also in out ongoing dialog with members and staff.
  • The mainstream media is increasingly jaded about crypto. There’s a feeling that the tech’s revolutionary promises, which journalists may have reported on a few years ago, have not been kept. In the interim they have seen retail investors hurt during the ICO boom. At this point we might expect a drought of coverage similar to the drought that started in 2014 after the $1,000 bitcoin bubble popped. Positive and even negative sentiment stories like ransomware and illicit commerce have become noise for the media and will have a hard time breaking through to page A1 unless they are of great significance.
  • Online gatekeeper centralization continues and, despite what the media narrative might suggest, the major platforms are not under serious threat from government. Both Republican and Democratic voters concretely love their Facebook feeds, their iPhones, and certainly their Amazon Prime and only abstractly have concerns about privacy or competition.
  • Preference faking is becoming more prevalent. There is increasingly one conversation happening on Twitter and a different one on Slack and Telegram. The gap between revealed preferences, perhaps especially at the voting booth, and ‘reality’ as conventionally perceived, especially through the media, will continue to grow.

Again, some of these deserve blog posts of their own, so stay tuned.