Chris Burniske: 'Spouting Ideologies' Will 'Turn Away' Many Potential Mainstream Crypto Users

Chris Burniske, partner at Placeholder, a “thesis-driven” venture capital firm focused on investing in “decentralized information networks”, has argued that the crypto industry is “not seeing mainstream user traction, but it is seeing mainstream developer traction.”

Burniske, who recently published a detailed analysis on the digital assets and crypto token market, believes blockchain developers are “the precursors to the users.” In his extensive Twitter thread (posted on March 3rd), Burniske noted: 

Dev[elopers] are adopting crypto earlier because the “can’t-be-evil” of cryptonetworks matters more to them than it does to the user. Many mainstream developers have already been burned by building on centralized platforms that cut access for competitive reasons. While some users have experienced such loss of access, they tend to be users that operate more on a societal fringe, not the mainstream.

Crypto To Attract "Excellent" Developers Due To Its Openness

Burniske continued: “Censoring fringe users allows mainstream users to forgive or applaud the centralized platform’s control, and thereby continue using the platform.” According to Burniske, mainstream developers often “lose access” to the platforms they build because the entities managing the centralized projects “realize [that the platform will be] a good monetization opportunity.” 

Burniske, who previously led Stanford University’s Big Data research projects, revealed that developers are “turning to crypto en masse, where access to the underlying network [cannot] be revoked.” He has predicted that the “promise of a cryptonetwork’s openness” will continue to attract “excellent talent” - which in turn will lead to the development of the “best digital services and experiences” in the long-term. Per the author of Cryptoassets

A cryptonetwork’s very functioning relies on all information being shared, open, and free, which dissolves the cut-off anxiety that devs suffer from with centralized platforms.

"Psychological Conversion" By "Spouting Ideologies" Might "Turn Away" Mainstream Users

Burniske further noted that he doesn’t think the crypto sector attracts mainstream users by “spouting ideologies” - in order to “achieve psychological conversion.” While Burniske did not explicitly state which group of crypto industry participants he was referring to, it can be argued that Bitcoin maximalists or other members of the crypto community such as the “XRP army”, who fanatically promote a coin or project while dismissing all others, “will turn away the majority of mainstream users.”

Burniske also thinks: “It’s novel services, or on-par services offered for cheaper than companies can, which will convert mainstream users to crypto.”

Expressing views similar to many other crypto analysts, who believe usability and user-friendly interfaces will promote mainstream adoption, Burniske explained:

In many cases, mainstream users won’t even know that part of the service they’re using relies on a cryptonetwork (or cryptonetworks). They’ll just know they’re using a great or cheap service, or maybe even a service that earns them money for using it.

The Coronavirus Outbreak Is Delaying China’s Digital Currency Research

China’s research into the launch of its own digital currency has reportedly been delayed over the coronavirus outbreak, which according to recent data has infected over 81,000 people worldwide and claimed the lives of 2,765.

According to the Global Times, an anonymous source close to the matter has detailed that the outbreak forced several government institutions to slow down. The source was quoted as saying:

The coronavirus outbreak has led to postponed work resumption in government institutions, including the People's Bank of China (PBC). Policymakers and research staff involved in the DCEP project are no exception, which weighs on the development process.

Commenting on the case the CEO of a Shenzhen-based blockchain firm involved in the launch of the digital currency, Shentu Qingchun, noted the People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, was expected to make an important announcement during Q1 of this year.

Qingchun added, however, there’s only a month left and as such “chances that the announcement could be made on time are slim.” The currency, called Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP), is still being developed and officials are discussing scenarios in which it could circulate as cash.

The source noted that the digital currency could still be launched on time as the central bank has “abundant talent” that can help it deal with the delay in research. Per Shentu, since the DCEP is a digital currency it would help reduce hand-to-hand contact among individuals, which has helped the coronavirus outbreak spread. As such, policymakers could give the DCEP more attention.

The Global Times’ source added that research into the DCEP has “achieved fruitful results” and that it’s close to an end. The central bank’s research institute, per the report, has applied for 65 patents involving digital currencies, while its institute of printing science and technology has applied for 22.

Featured image by Floriane Vita on Unsplash.