Before I begin, I'd like to ask you a question. Why are so many of the most established people in crypto among the most closed-minded when it comes to talking about new ideas? Why is the crypto space more concerned with what a clown from Australia is lying about or petty figurehead drama than the hard work and effort of the good and lesser-known among them?
Let's talk about altcoins for a minute. It'd be a very tough job to count every single alt that's come in on a hypetrain and died in obscurity. If I were to guess that 95% of them failed, I wouldn't be surprised to hear that it was a conservative estimate and that the number is even higher. Indeed, it would be much easier to count the exceptions to the rule. To name a few - ETH, LTC, XMR, and (quite amusingly) DOGE.
Should the stubbornly high failure rate of alts justify writing them all off as garbage? Businesses have an incredibly high failure rate too. It would be foolish - outright silly, even - to say that the grocery store is a fraud and a scam because the aqua-saxophone jazzercise laundromat failed to live up to it's expectations. Maybe not, because this is exactly the way the crypto space is right now.
That line of thinking is the de facto standard in the cryptocurrency space right now - "guilty (of being a shitcoin) until proven innocent (by some central authority figure or big exchange who can validate it for us so we don't have to do it ourselves)". To be fair, there was an aggressive torrent of these "goofy laundromats" in 2017 and people are either hungover or shell-shocked from all the broken pipedreams and costly fiction. You'd think that the titans of this industry, particularly those who care more about the cypherpunk essence of Bitcoin than how rich they can get off of it, would be more receptive to the legitimate projects that are working in obscurity to harden the crypto space and it's infrastructure. Unfortunately, that does not seem to be the case. All too many seem to think that everything that needed to be built has already been built.
Considering that all the Bitcoin titans are somewhat newly-minted, the irony is remarkable. No one used to take Bitcoin seriously. The further back in time you go, the more it took lonely effort and independent research to truly grasp its ideas. This is still the case today. Most have heard of it but have no idea what it is or why it's important. Many who are fervently in PMs or traditional investments like stocks and bonds continue to deride it, even though it will go down as the best performing asset of the 2010s by far. Others are a little more aggressive and, despite a lack of knowledge, call it anything from a scam to "rat poison squared". Like anything else, it's foolish to make bold claims atop little to no education.
You'd think that treatment would make Bitcoin maximalists do some reflecting. Instead, a sizable number of them decided to emulate the ones who beat up on Bitcoin when it was small and irrelevant. "All you need is Bitcoin. Everything else is trash. I know what I'm talking about because I bought the top of the 2013 bubble and I'm probably immune to future dumps for life".
Now let's talk about where cryptocurrency infrastructure falls short. Bitcoin still retains the same cypherpunk essence that it's always had. The same can be said for Bitcoin wallets. They're secure. They allow for anonymous transactions. They run on an immutable blockchain. There is no central authority between a key-holder and their funds. Enter the exchanges. In a way, they were a necessary evil. Without them, adoption would be severely throttled. With them, Bitcoin is compromised.
For many, the privacy and anonymity that BTC is supposed to offers has been tossed out. It was the only way it could be retrofitted into a tightly-controlled system that demands KYC. While this has helped to spread adoption, Bitcoin has become more and more traceable. Quite ironically, many of these same exchanges that adopted KYC policies to "ensure accountability from their customers" had no trouble exit scamming.
They come and go. The old one gets hacked, or it exit scams, or proves itself to be corrupt and suspicious. A new one comes. This time it will be different. Then the cycle repeats itself. Mt. Gox. Bitfinex. Polo. Bittrex. Binance. They all had their time in the Sun.
These exchanges are in many ways the antithesis of the cypherpunk manifesto - vulnerable honeypots directly controlled by a centralized figurehead. Unsurprisingly, they cause a lot of unneeded trouble and give Bitcoin a ton of bad publicity. Example:
Me: "What do you think of Bitcoin?"
Co-worker: "Didn't that thing get hacked last week?"
Me: "Bitcoin didn't, but a place where it was exchanged was."
Co-worker: "I don't trust it. It's only a matter of time til they find out how to type in some numbers to make more show up on a screen blah blah blah."
You've all likely met someone like this and brushed them off as closed-mined, but they're exactly the type of person this industry needs to convince to further adoption. It will be next to impossible to do so with the way things are right now.
In order for Bitcoin to survive, it needs exchanges that are built to the same code that it was. The solution, therefore, is to "port" the cypherpunk essence of Bitcoin to the exchanges. Immutability. Anonymity. Privacy. No central authority of figurehead.
With all that said, let's talk about DEXs. I started a thread on here a few months back when Binance announced that they were giving Americans the boot. I got a ton of answers.
It shows that, among the hardcore at least, there is a desire to go in a new direction. Loopring, IDEX, and Bisq were among the more popular choices.
It's a step in the right direction. However, these DEXs are still rather inaccessible - especially to outsiders. Performance wise, they're on the slower side of things. Due to these setbacks, they suffer from low volume. This is where some recent developments in multicurrency wallets with embedded DEXs from lesser-known projects will come out of obscurity and catch everyone by surprise.
Among them - I'd like to mention Stakenet Wallet and KMD's Atomic DEX. Both of them, now seemingly weeks away from launch, will allow for atomic swaps between a wide variety of coins directly from a private wallet. Stakenet goes a step further by offering atomic swaps running atop Lightning Network.
Why does this matter? These two platforms will be to exchanges what the inception of Bitcoin was to currency. Finally, after almost 9 years, Bitcoin not only has an exchange that truly honors its essence, but it's starting to see healthy competition between them.
To elaborate further on why this is very important.. No KYC. No accounts. No sending Bitcoin to an exchange and waiting around for it to show up. No downloading multiple wallets. No exchange figureheads. No withdrawal freezes. In Stakenet's case, the decentralized MN network that runs it's DEX will also act as a massive LN payment processor (routing, watchtowers) that provides a ton of liquidity for it while allowing Bitcoin to scale. "Lightning swaps" will provide every LN-based coin the ability to be instantly swapped to purchase anything in BTC. Stakenet will also feature a DEX aggregator that will pool together the orderbooks of numerous DEXs into one easily-accessible spot, boosting traffic to the many DEXs that are harder to reach and furthering their adoption along. Simply download a wallet like you would any other app and you're ready to get started. It's so much easier and more convenient. I don't see how or why CEXs and all their ilk (figurehead drama, geoblocking, exchange hacks, wash trading, currency manipulation, exit scams, etc) could remain relevant in the environment to come.
Regulation will not save us. Decentralization will. As long as one person learned something from this, it was all worth it. I welcome the opinions of everyone in this space.
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