In my family we have a tradition of going skiing each January. It brightens up the darkness of the long and gruesome winters that we have in Sweden. Last year everyone was curious, impressed and maybe a little jealous, since they had all learned of “the Bitcoin” that had skyrocketed after the super hype in 2017 . They teased and said it was surely a giant bubble at dinner but later in the sauna they were curious to learn more about how these blockchain systems outside “the system” really work. This year nobody mention Bitcoin. Instead I could sense pity in the air. Let’s not mention Bitcoin. This came to no surprise since media attention 2018 primarily focused on scams and portraying the crypto space in the worst light possible . In this crypto winter, even those of us focusing on blockchain development that do not to care much for the crypto market, will suffer from its cold brutality. It is noticeable that fewer developers are entering the space and there are no signs that we will see a rising market anytime soon. Even unsinkable ships like ConsenSys are forced to downsize.
If that wasn’t enough, we’re seeing the giants continue to expand their influence in what was once a sphere of freedom and independence. IBM is steadily growing in the blockchain sphere and Facebook just released a stablecoin . While blockchain technology has gained increased acceptability in the financial industry, this has not reached the public and open systems as they’ve opted for private and closed solutions. It seems we are not only in a crypto winter, but are entering what we in Sweden call a vargavinter . The vargavinter (wolf winter) is an unusually cold winter that lasts for a very long time.
We Swedes know the vargavinter oh too well. If you’ve ever met a Swede you’ve may have noticed that we don’t have the same chill and fun mañana genes like many of our southern European friends do. Sadly the mañana Swedes died off years ago since they did not have enough anxiety in themselves spending their summers worrying, gathering food, and preparing for the cold and long winter to come. We Swedes are the result of hundreds of vargavintrar tormenting the country, so we may not be the light of your party but we sure know how to survive a vargavinter. In order to survive a vargavinter you need dedication, endurance, a little bit of luck and of course a bit of paranoia. Great tools are good to have. Hard decisions are forced upon you. You prepped but your neighbour did not. Do you help a friend in need, even if it means you won’t last as long? Do you listen to the elders that were here during the last vargavinter? Do you know yourself in a crisis?
Our elders will remind us that what’s more important than anything else in order to survive a vargavinter is burying any hatchets, overlooking differences and working together as a team and community. So if there is one thing I believe in for the blockchain community now it’s exactly this. A great example of this is the world wide decentralized community of builders gathering in Denver this weekend to work together in a humongous blockchain hackathon. This is a great chance to come together as a strong disruptive alliance in our strive towards a truly decentralized future.
Present at ETH Denver or not, I ask all of us sharing this small community to look beyond any internal competition and reflect on how we can help each other and the community in moving forward. Doing so we can form an unstoppable buidling team all around the globe with the potential of disrupting the world as we know it. Some are saying we will all succumb to this winter. Let’s buidl them a beatuful ice hotel.