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Cryptocurrency is starting to reach more investors and consumers through traditional forms of finance, such as the regulated Gemini exchange and VC funding of the coming Bakkt platform, but this risks compromising core cryptocurrency ideology.
Gemini is a rising cryptocurrency exchange that recently launched a new campaign highlighting their differentiating factor of being a regulated entity within the cryptocurrency sector. Their campaign is drawing controversy because of ideological differences, but nonetheless highlights the entry of and encouragement of new entrants that hold a different philosophy than what traditional cypherpunks have held.
The @Gemini ad in the @nytimes is just virtue signaling. They're not aiming at on-boarding Bitcoiners, they're aiming at institutional investors reading the NYT. So while I completely disagree with the ad, it actually makes perfect sense for them.https://t.co/qSZN9NdNMR— WhalePanda (@WhalePanda) January 8, 2019
This trend is reiterated by the growing interest in Bakkt, a cryptocurrency exchange platform backed by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), which also owns the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). They recently completed their Series A fundraising round of $180 million USD, which included funds from the 23rd richest man in the world, Li Ka-shing. Ka-shing is familiar with the crypto landscape since he previously invested in Blockstream in 2016 and BitPay in 2013.
Rising popularity at cost of ideology
Cryptocurrency has been seeking wide-scale adoption for years so more individuals can benefit from financial and monetary freedom. Many of the early cryptocurrency adopters trying to achieve mass adoption share a similar perception of classical liberalism/libertarianism/anarco-capitalism/cypherpunks as motivation to use cryptocurrencies. However, in order to achieve mass adoption, many of those views are tempered to regulated exchanges that want to see laws and restrictions around cryptocurrencies in one way or another. Currently, a lot of regulation talk is centered around cryptocurrency exchanges, like Gemini and Bakkt, but more officials are starting to ask for broader cryptocurrency regulations or favor coins like XRP that are very centralized.
This creates a predicament for many of the cryptocurrency fundamentalists that have developed the technology to where it is today. More mainstream investors are getting behind the technology, but not always because of the core philosophy. This can be seen as a positive in that more individuals are exposed to economic theories that they previously were unaware of and are learning more about how to create prosperity and wealth. However, it can also be seen as a negative since the divergence of interest in the core philosophy that created cryptocurrency risks creating a new cryptocurrency ecosystem that is more regulated and centralized.
Dash maintains core values to achieve mass adoption
Dash is rapidly growing with over 4,700 merchants around the globe thanks to its unique and innovative structure, which also enables crypto enthusiasts to stay close to the original goals of cryptocurrency. Dash’s Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) gives Dash a self-governance and self-funding mechanism by community Masternodes. This allows cryptocurrency to have some structure, while also staying decentralized. Additionally, it gives Dash an argument that it is self-regulating when compared to other coins and thus has a better argument against regulations from government entities.
Dash has been able to leverage its innovative structure to spread cryptocurrency in countries like Venezuela to help individuals that need economic liberty and freedom, which was one of the original goals of cryptocurrency. Dash has been able to find the goldilocks zone of keeping the original philosophical ideals of cryptocurrency while also finding ways to achieve wide-spread adoption.