As a recent convert to Cryptocurrencianism, the first thing that came into my field of view as I started to explore this new universe was, predictably, Bitcoin.
And after receiving some Bitcoin and learning how to handle it safely and properly, I became curious about some of the other cryptocurrencies on offer. I also became curious about the people involved. And it became immediately apparent that, while there was a general camaraderie among crypto enthusiasts of all stripes, there was also fierce competition afoot between the supporters of different coins and platforms. Who would be the Winner?
In a very real sense, this is natural. Anything involving money or, more accurately, value on this planet inevitably becomes an economy and therefore attracts business. And when business-minded people look to recent history they see a very clear trend when it comes to emerging techno-business sectors. Most of the time we quickly see two, possibly three, front-runners emerge, while a slew of also-rans struggle in a pack, miles behind.
Perhaps the most striking example of this can be seen in the cell phone industry. Android and iOS are entrenched in the top slots for mobile platforms. Microsoft tried everything they could to make it a 3-way fight, yet they could not compete well enough to maintain viability. So strong is the duopoly in that sector. We see similar situations in cellular service, internet service, and in non-tech industries, especially those with high bootstrap capital requirements.
When I started looking into all of the different alt-coins that have been created, all of the different ideas and visions people have had for changing or improving the exchange of cryptocurrency, I quickly began to realize what a great shame it would be if that trend was applied to this emerging and exponentially expanding sector, as appears to be happening already. What a horror, to have only one or two stupid coins, when right now there are so many wonderful platforms to choose from! That such diversity is even possible in the field of monetary exchange is one of the precious miracles of cryptocurrency. And here some people are cheering its demise.
When we look at a thing, it is important to look ahead as well as behind us. It is harder to do this, because looking forward all we can perceive is potentials, variables and possibilities that cannot yet be proven or accepted. However, logic demands that the closer we come, in any given instance, to understanding and accepting all of the possible outcomes, the better prepared we will find ourselves and we will find more doors open to us, due to our perception of them in advance. We can also develop preferences.
When I consider a future in which one to three cryptocurrencies have so eclipsed the rest as to make them not viable, I see little to celebrate. In that configuration, I see looming shadows of my lifelong nemesis: Control. Control always prefers a fistful of giants to a large, diverse healthy ecosystem, for obvious reasons. Anyone that values the other precious miracles of cryptocurrency, like privacy, autonomy or decentralization should prefer the latter. Because we stand to lose all of them if these people are unfortunate enough to have their wish for platform domination granted.