How the problems of 2020 demonstrated to the world the “anti-fragility” of the crypto industry
2020 will be remembered for a long time: the threat of the third world war, the coronavirus pandemic, the global economic crisis and riots. And this is only six months. It is noteworthy, but while the global economy is in decline, the crypto industry, on the contrary, is accelerating the pace of development. Bitcoin has become for many a safe haven during the crisis, and the entire industry - the hope of salvation. Crypto companies have confirmed the growth in demand for goods and services related to digital assets, and it seems that the cryptosphere is fully consistent with the term “anti-fragility”, introduced by Nassim Taleb (author of the Black Swan economic bestseller) to identify systems that can benefit from unpredictable and stressful situations in the world. At least, the head of ScopeLift Ben DiFrancesco is sure of this.
What is anti-fragility
To begin with, we will deal with the concept of anti-fragility. This term was introduced by the famous professor, economist and trader Nassim Nicholas Taleb, who first voiced it in 2012 - in a book dedicated to the term “Anti-Fragility. How to capitalize on chaos." Prior to this, Taleb gained special popularity and authority thanks to the introduction of the term “Black Swan”, which turned the perception of the economy over by many minds.
By anti-fragility, a professor refers to the ability of a system to capitalize on negative trends. Anti-fragile systems become better after a “collision with chaos", which can mean various world disasters, stressful situations, shocking events, information noises, failures, attacks, malfunctions, and so on.
Many mistakenly confuse the concepts of anti-fragility and invulnerability, but there is a fundamental difference between them:
• Invulnerability is the ability to withstand stressful situations. World cataclysm will not affect invulnerable systems, but will not make them better.
• Anti-fragility is the ability to benefit from stressful situations. Anti-fragile systems are not just immune to disasters. In difficult conditions, they “harden” and become better.
Ben DiFrancesco, the founder of ScopeLift (a crypto project software development consulting company) and concurrently the author of the Buil Blockchain Tech portal, considers the crypto market an ideal example of anti-fragility.
Against the backdrop of all the negative shocks and tremendous changes in society that occurred in the first half of 2020, the crypto industry began to develop even faster. Blockchain technology more and more fits into our world as a solution to many problems, which were especially acute at the beginning of this year. Among them are the endless press of unsecured money, worsening international relations and increasing censorship on the Internet. Let's go in an order.
Crypto-market versus money printing machine
The coronavirus pandemic caused an economic crisis around the planet. Both developed and developing countries faced massive unemployment, falling markets, and declining population returns. One way or another, the virus has affected everyone.
The states rushed to solve these problems by the old and "tested" method - by printing new money. China and the USA were especially distinguished in this field - the former introduced an injection of about $250 billion in the stock market in February, and the second poured into the economy a record for the planet $ 2.3 trillion (2.5 times more than during the 2008 crisis).
Alas, as a rule, when the state creates new money, the population pays for it. A sharp release to the market of unsecured money at the direction of management is fraught with serious consequences. The main one is the risk of mass inflation and the collapse of national currencies. Many complain about the Fed, which began in 2020 to print non-stop US dollars.
The number of dollars in circulation rose sharply in 2020. Source.
However, even such a sharp release to the market of new dollars is not the worst. It is much more dangerous that the Fed follows central banks of other countries, which also massively print unsecured national currencies in attempts to support the economy. If the dollar is somehow protected by the strong US position in the international arena, reduced credit and increased demand for American currency around the world, then most other countries cannot boast of such flexibility.
States that print money with a heap of economic problems run the risk of hyperinflation and fall victim to their own decisions. The scale of the problem is aggravated by the fact that during the crisis in such countries, the demand for dollars among the population is growing, so the thread on which the sword of Damocles hangs hanging over national currencies is very thin today.
Realizing the seriousness of the situation, many countries, such as Argentina, limit the ability of people and companies to buy dollars by introducing limits and various requirements. As a result, citizens begin to look for an alternative on the black market, buying dollars at a double rate, and also increasingly turn their attention to dollar stablecoins, which no one can forbid and for which you do not have to overpay. In the conditions of the crisis, the demand for stable coins began to grow at an accelerated pace, which is one of the brightest signs of the anti-fragility of the crypto industry, which has begun to squeeze benefits out of the negative situation in the world.
The demand for traditional cryptocurrencies, especially for bitcoin, is also growing. One of the main reasons is the protection against inflation, provided by limited emissions, strictly following clearly established rules. No one at the direction of the government or anyone else can “print” more bitcoins than is laid down in the code of his protocol. Many people saw in the cryptocurrency market a real alternative to national currencies, which fell under significant risks in 2020.
Protection against ethnic issues
The coronacrisis brought with it many other global problems. In particular, it undermined the confidence of the population and governments of many states in the so-called “new world order”. Unhappy with the way the world is coping with the pandemic, people intend to end globalization, so anti-globalist ideas began to spread en masse. There is every reason to believe that such movements will receive political support in many regions.
Naturally, this carries enormous risks. But one cannot say that these moods arise without reason. Recent months have clearly demonstrated the extreme fragility of global supply chains. Nearly all countries in the world, including the United States, fought to import critical materials needed to fight the pandemic. Many people have a logical question in their heads: should countries with incompatible value systems be interconnected, especially if they have to suffer from this interconnectedness themselves, constantly giving way to richer states?
On this basis, interethnic relations between peoples and leaderships of countries have worsened. If the trend continues in the coming years, then humanity will have no choice but to resort to massively using cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
If people cannot rely on reliable institutions as an intermediary for cross-border cooperation, the value of decentralized networks will significantly increase as an alternative that does not require trust. Each decision by world states aimed at weakening alliances with other countries, including reducing the flow of people or physical goods across borders, accelerates the development of the limitless digital economy of the Internet.
Digital assets combined with smart contracts can play a key role in ensuring the transition of the world to new international relations. They are able to serve as a guarantor that does not require trust in the other side and even once again contact it.
Fighting Internet Censorship
In the past few years, social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter have gained tremendous opportunities to shape the flow of information in the modern world. With their help, information is distributed faster than any media, and the conclusions that people make on social networks often become decisive. This gives the giants in this field enormous power, which for many years has not been controlled (and by anyone) in any way. This issue has been ignored for a long time, but the situation has changed over the past two years.
Previously, large corporations themselves determined censored content. Companies could mark posts as "unacceptable" if they, in their opinion, do not comply with any laws, call for aggression, contradict moral principles, and so on. However, at the end of May, the US President Donald Trump decided to significantly narrow the powers of the media giants and issued an appropriate order, citing user complaints for blocking allegedly non-violating messages. By the way, Trump’s own tweet, where he called particularly active protesters “thugs,” and threatened: “When looting begins, shootings begin,” was not complete.
Perhaps an additional reason for the desire to narrow the powers of media giants was the fact that on the eve of the election, the president wanted to become “closer to the people”, appealing that everyone is free to express their opinion. Be that as it may, the invariable fact is that in this way he inserted the sticks into the wheels of Big Tech corporations. Moreover, based on Trump’s message, only governments should determine what can and cannot be blocked.
In fact, any form of concentrated power in social networks can be dangerous for both private and legal entities. If media companies become almost monopolies, they can control the opinion of the population and block any content that is objectionable to them. But power over social media in the hands of states is no less dangerous because the government can do the same. After all, it is not known who and what decides to block tomorrow. Suddenly it will be cryptocontent, especially since the prerequisites have already arisen repeatedly, or the statements of people dissatisfied with social injustice.
Social media executives want to be able to censor and edit the content that their users generate, while remaining protected from liability for it. The state wants to be able to apply its own standards of “neutrality” on these platforms, without specifying that such powers may end with even greater inequality and censorship.
The war for censorship generates the interest of ordinary citizens in decentralized social networks and media platforms. More and more people are expressing a desire to get a decent alternative, where no one will be able to control their opinion and will not forbid them to express it. Due to the anti-fragility of the crypto industry, the chances of success of blockchain platforms are significantly increasing. Yes, they have not yet become mainstream, but interesting experiments, for example, with the Hive platform or decentralized twitter, show their great potential. With each censored post, they are one step closer to widespread use.
What will the anti-fragility of the crypto industry lead to?
Ben DiFrancesco is far from the first to notice the anti-fragility of the crypto industry. Talk about this has been going on for several years. Experts have repeatedly recorded various moments when the industry managed to squeeze the positive out of one or another negative situation in the world. Just now, against the background of the extremely difficult first half of 2020, this has become especially noticeable.
Bitcoin has been "buried" already 380 times, but it, like the whole industry, continues to develop rapidly step by step, despite external world instability and internal cryptozymes. And if the assumptions about antifragility are true, the industry will become even stronger with each new world cataclysm.
Humanity is tired of the problems caused by the current world system. People want freedom and openness.
They get tired of concentrated power, unfair economic relations and censorship. The crypto industry offers an alternative and has every chance to solve these problems. To become, if not a panacea, then at least “the power of good,” as DiFrancesco claims. There are no guarantees, but there is faith and hope. And they are capable of anything.