At long last, incumbent institutions of legacy industries have begun to look into cryptocurrencies, not just blockchain technological innovations. While Bitcoin (BTC) has continued to struggle, other than its relatively stellar performance over February, Wall Street favorite JP Morgan and Silicon Valley’s Facebook have revealed serious plans to offer their own digital assets.
Even though the two multi-national enterprises seemingly have the very best intentions, these offerings are inherently controversial. The ‘cryptocurrencies’ they mean to launch will be centralized, which bucks the raison d’etre that Satoshi Nakamoto touted from beginning until his disappearance.
Centralized Digital Assets May Stimulate Bitcoin Mass Adoption
Yes, you read correctly, an argument has been made that centralized digital assets could actually syimulate mass adoption of Bitcoin! Ari Paul, the founder of BlockTower Capital, noted that while the so-called “coporatecoins” will operate in an intranet, they aren’t all bad per se.
1/ It’s increasingly looking like 2019 will be the year of the crypto intranet (or permissioned blockchains, or bankcoins and corporatecoins), whatever you want to call them.
— Ari Paul (@AriDavidPaul) March 1, 2019
Paul comments that while these assets are inherently “uninteresting” to passionate crypto crusaders, who are fascinated with censorship resistance, immutability, security, and peer-to-peer systems, centralized cryptocurrencies will “increase global interest dramatically.”
Setting out a hypothetical situation, the BlockTower chief investment officer considers that 30 million of Facebookcoin users (10% of Paul’s hypothetical audience of 300 million) could at some point “come across Bitcoin,” meaning that the (decentralized) cryptocurrency’s community would double in size, no questions asked. Not only would this reinforce adoption, but this influx of users would also increase Bitcoin’s network effects, therefore increasing the value of BTC.
He added that blockchain ecosystems propped up by traditional firms will also generate infrastructure and services that could be used “directly or indirectly” by permission-less cryptocurrencies. Thus, Paul concludes that while some misdoubt the threat Facebook and JP Morgan pose to decentralization, their crypto forays could be a net perk for the broader space.
Tim Draper, a world-renowned investor that has long been a believer of Bitcoin, likewise made a very similar point in an interview with Fox Business. The American investor mentioned that JPM Coin is “great news” for the broader crypto space. Regardless of the fact that he did admit that the bank-backed coin, which he termed a clear “Bitcoin knock off,” is not likely to do particularly well,” it was made it clear that this news should catalyze more common awareness of the main cryptocurrency.
Of Course Crypto Enthusiasts Have Begged To Differ
Although Paul’s point is sound, some decentralists have actually claimed that JPM Coin is a trojan horse, if you will, into the desired society that holds true cryptocurrencies.
Max Keiser, an anti-establishment supporter that frequents RT, required to Twitter to overtly slam JP Morgan’s efforts. In a scathing comment, Keiser noted that Jamie Dimon appeared to a battle against Bitcoin with a “damp noodle,” this, obviously, being the Quorum-based cryptocurrency that will likely be under the sole control of the world’s sixth largest bank.
Libertarian Travis Kling, a Wall Street hotshot turned crypto hedge fund manager, revealed to Bloomberg that JPM Coin resembles a Google Sheet or Excel spreadsheet, rather than a decentralized, permissionless network just like Bitcoin. Tom Shaughnessy, the principal analyst at crypto-centric research boutique, Delphi Digital (which recently merged with 51Percent Crypto under Morgan Creek Digital’s coaching), echoed this feeling. Shaughnessy basically quipped that the asset is centralized, and will offer thin transparency when it goes live.
Brad Garlinghouse, the chief executive of Ripple Labs, took to Twitter to state that the institutionally-backed stablecoin is similar to releasing “AOL after Netscape’s IPO.” This is seemingly in reference to the very first Internet browsers that garnered traction at the beginning of the Dotcom boom and bust during the turn of the millennia.
Nonetheless, this hasn’t prevented Dimon from publicizing the venture, most likely created in a bid to beef up his institution’s bottom line. Per previous reports from NewsBTC, the Wall Street chief executive recently remarked in a shareholders meeting that his company’s token could possibly see use in consumer contexts, like in digital marketplaces. This particular concept wasn’t elaborated, but Dimon let his comment sit with the general public, as many netizens suggest he is wanting to stir controversy with cryptocurrency natives.
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