Cryptocurrencies like to see themselves as subversive currencies, just as apple subverts mobile phones (and cameras), Tesla subverts cars (and sustainable energy), and twitter / Facebook / WhatsApp subverts media and communications (and digital community building). At okcoin, we embrace the industry because we also believe that bitcoin and subsequent cryptocurrencies represent a paradigm shift in our financial system and social structure. Although it is not clear what this transformation will look like, or whether it will be static, we always need a technical and financial infrastructure to enable people to easily and safely buy and sell their bitcoin and digital assets in an open, inclusive and free global market. It is this belief that led to the birth of okcoin in 2013 and made it develop for a long time in this process.
However, as a person who worked on Wall Street, I am also skeptical of popular words such as “subversion”, “transformation” and “paradigm shift”. In my experience of more than ten years, I have heard more catchwords than I want to hear. Entrepreneurs use them to raise money for their start-ups or to prepare for a public listing. But when it’s just a buzzword, the market usually doesn’t take long to catch up.
The cryptocurrency industry faces the same challenge. During the ICO boom in 2017, a large amount of capital poured in for the first time. I still live a happy life as an investor and have invested in okcoin, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in China at that time. Naturally, my in box is full of ICO white papers.
It makes me anxious. As an investor, you have to balance two kinds of risks. The first is reputation risk: you don’t want to miss a good deal. The second is capital risk: you don’t want to lose money by putting your eggs in the wrong basket. I spent some time filtering out all the noise. I went through the white paper (not helpful), did more research, consulted engineering experts (helpful).
Finally, I’m glad I didn’t invest in these projects. Because blockchain technology is not ready. The bubble burst. (I did invest in bitcoin and have always held it. It has gone through several price cycles and continues to attract the most developers. It is still the largest and most dynamic asset in the cryptocurrency industry.)
So the key lesson is: when you don’t have a real technological breakthrough, you’re not a real subversive.
Cryptocurrency ecosystem needs to be subverted by FOSS developers
Cryptocurrency ecosystem is home to two kinds of developers. The developers of the first layer are responsible for the basic work of improving the underlying code of different encryption protocols. Second tier developers build on these foundations to find unique solutions to deep-rooted practical problems such as payments, energy allocation, and even climate change. Both types of developers are key innovators driving the industry.
Without developers, there would be no technological breakthroughs. No breakthrough, no interruption. Therefore, we recently created the okcoin independent developer grant, which embodies three principles that we believe are essential for supporting cryptocurrency developers: focus on FOSS, protect independence and encourage decentralization.
free / Open source software development: free and open source development is crucial to the breakthrough of encryption technology. Except for freedom / Open source software is in line with its founding spirit – the fact that participants need unrestricted access to the system – in addition to radical change, you need a variety of perspectives and skills, not limited by any corporate agenda.
Independence and Decentralization: independence and decentralization are the soul of cryptocurrency – that’s why cryptocurrency attracts so much attention, imagination and resources. Okcoin was a centralized trading platform at the beginning, not because we abandoned decentralization, but because this is exactly what our industry needs at present. The key word in “centralized cryptocurrency exchange” is “cryptocurrency”, not “centralized”. “We want to make sure that the spirit of the origin of our industry is respected and supported.
This means two things for our independent developer licensing.
Our support is unconditional: developers work independently in the direction they think is necessary for the development of cryptocurrency.
We give priority to decentralized protocols such as bitcoin: our goal is to provide direct and sustained contributions to independent developers and support leading and decentralized cryptocurrency projects. These grants are paid by value without compromising their freedom to work – we want developers to continue their own projects and find solutions to problems we haven’t even imagined.
We support the social responsibility of FOSS development
As a global cryptocurrency exchange focused on providing a simple and secure legal tender on ramp and off ramp for end users and investors, we also have a special responsibility to support the development of FOSS and its developers.
Long term value creation. Investors come to our platform to buy bitcoin and other cryptocurrency assets, and the developer community continues to work on the underlying protocol to verify the value proposition of the cryptocurrency project and make it more relevant, safer and easier to use. The quality of their work determines the long-term value creation of investors.
Mainstream consciousness. Bitcoin is the originator of all decentralized cryptocurrencies, and it is also the first currency to break into the mainstream consciousness. It has both influence and brand awareness, and can bring real meaningful changes to our society. When bitcoin entered the public consciousness for the first time, due to the high technology content in this field, the narration was mainly aimed at developers. As exchanges facilitate the trading of bitcoin and other cryptocurrency assets, public attention naturally focuses on price volatility and speculation.
As a bridge between cryptocurrency and traditional finance, we have the ability to act as industry ambassadors to further support R & D, promote dialogue around R & D, and help raise people’s awareness of further adoption by the mainstream.
Industrial base. We are also one of the most important users of the blockchain network. Since the establishment of okcoin, we have operated a lot of bitcoin nodes. We also rely on the stability of the network to provide our users with secure and seamless bitcoin deposit and withdrawal services. This makes it more important to promote the technical integrity of the network.
We’re just one of them
We hope that programs like our independent developer grant will continue to remind us all that we are all together. We have started funding the core developers of bitcoin, because bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency asset at present, has been a community driven enterprise and will continue to flourish. We are just one of many people in this community.
The best way to achieve continuous progress and real subversion is to keep in touch with the community and enable more software engineers to deal with open source protocols independently in a decentralized way. We can’t do a lot of things ourselves, but we hope to create an exciting new decade for our industry.
Editor in charge: CT