For weeks now I have been trying to identify underlying reasons for the under-performance of ether relative to peers such as bitcoin and others. Could it be that Ethereum turned in such superior performance last year gaining over 7,500% that it was only natural to go through a period of under-performance? I’m not buying that argument for a minute.
Of course, that is a possibility but ether’s price behavior just feels like something else is going on. After reading about the Ethereum Community Conference (EthCC) recently held in Paris there is a new perspective to consider.
Reports from the conference tell a tale of conflict among community members. If the leadership of Ethereum is facing uncertainty about their future, how could this make investors comfortable with their holdings?
Decentralization Has Its Drawbacks
In the early days of bitcoin many of us were enamored with the notion of a monetary ecosystem free of government control and political influence. This included freedom from the massive deficits, inflationary policies and political corruption common around the globe.
Rather than surrendering control of our lives to a powerful few, words like decentralized and anonymous offered the hope of a different type of financial system. If you didn’t like the politics or policies of America, it didn’t matter because bitcoin, after all, was a global storehouse immediately transferable into any fiat currency of simply a medium of exchange good at over 10,000 locations.
I must admit to having been a member of this faithful group, never realizing that decentralization has its costs. In the case of cryptocurrencies, decentralization means greater democracy in the development of platforms like bitcoin and Ethereum.
Autocratic rule may be offensive but it is efficient. Democracy may be virtuous but it is painfully slow in affecting change. In an open source world where a certain consensus of developers must be in agreement, this can slow the process. When disagreements occur, they can get blown out of proportion.
Solving the Big Problem
The long term progress of cryptocurrencies will be defined by how well and how fast solutions are developed over speed and security along with lowering the cost and energy consumption of crypto transactions. In reversing the recent price collapse nothing could be more effective than finding a quick fix to any one of these problems.
Over the course of time, other issues will emerge, but these are today’s most pressing. Lately the news coming from the recent Ethereum Conference held in Paris has been more about politics than progress.
Crypto Politics: Bad Timing
Several media reports point to a level of tension within the Ethereum development community that cannot be welcome news to investors. Without some semblance of unanimity or at least a protocol for resolving differences, a cloud is formed over the future. The picture we are getting is that right now Ethereum has neither.
Internal strife is not the only reason for the price of ether underperforming other major currencies, but it certainly hasn’t added anything positive.
In another time, the news from Paris might have been received differently. Attendees at the conference claim the Ethereum is attempting to be more bold in embracing changing codes to avoid stagnation. Members believe this is the risk that bitcoin faces and that they are determined not to let Ethereum become a “sitting duck.” This very cool, but the timing of this information is not so great.
Change Is Basic… However
In the world of technology, it is essential to continuously innovate. The mantra is: if you don’t disrupt yourself, someone else will. In the final analysis, what is going on within the Ethereum community should be greeted with applause. But here is the catch.
Methods to resolve conflicts have yet to be created. Adding to this appearance of organizational weakness is new governance that is just getting organized. Five years from now, none of these petty conflicts are likely to matter. But these days when prices are falling, this sort of news is not helpful. Ether investors would certainly appreciate some clarity.