The crypto market is beginning to bellow like a bull again after growling like a bear for a couple of months. Readers of this column will know why, so I won’t insult their asset-intelligence, but it’s been a week for optimism.
All types of traditional institutions are admitting that they’re in for the ride and, rather like safety inspectors at a wonderfully rickety roller coaster, they will make things less volatile and all will be well, but probably a little less exciting.
But that could be a good thing. I’ve previously written about the bots, scams and idiots who disgrace crypto, not least the strange world of Telegram and the children who seem to inhabit it.
Moreover, I’ve also written about the exchanges and why they are not fit for purpose, let alone fit for regulation, and was very cynical about the IPO of Coinbase, especially when enquiries about locked accounts took months to solve and there was beef-galore.
That’s not because the exchanges are useless, it’s just the volume of complaints they receive every day. According to a trusted source, Kraken allegedly receives 50,000 questions per DAY, so it’s no surprise that these things take time.
Like anything new (the Internet in 1998 springs to mind as does the very untimely death of Mr William Huskisson during the maiden railway journey of Stephenson’s Rocket) new technology is always a rough ride (sorry about the unintended pun, descendants of William Huskisson).
Come to think of it, if you say Huskisson as many times as you can, it does chime weirdly like (Charles) Hoskinson, which might be really weird, but probably isn’t.
No idea what they’re doing
Anyway, when there is a confluence of something new, entities that didn’t expect to scale as quickly as they have done and a group of investors that grows every day (most of whom have no idea of what they’re doing) then there will be 50,000 enquiries a day.
So, and here I eat horribly-tasting humble pie, it appears that the IPO of Coinbase and the accompanying scrutiny of being listed has created the company’s second act and, compared to the opposition – a very good act indeed.
Friends of mine that have had accounts unfathomably locked since the start of the year now have access and Coinbase is paying them hundreds of pounds to apologise… and it’s not just £200 of crypto, it’s good old fiat.
On a personal level, they even reimbursed a friend of mine who was a victim of a scam and it wasn’t even their fault.
It feels, after years of distrust, that this exchange really can be trusted, because of that IPO and the purported regulation that comes with it. It could be the first wave of crypto regulation that may indeed take some of the fun out of it, but ultimately makes it a better place.
Naturally there are crypto-oldsters and veterans who will prefer the Wild West, like users of cocaine who not only like taking the drug, but love the chase and the phone-calls and mischief in buying it.
But away from the so-called fun-and-risk, fundamentally there is a huge problem, not just for cocaine users, but for those who have dabbled in crypto and been burnt by rubbish regulation and scammed by bots and bad humans.
Four years ago, I was scammed out of 163 ETH via Myetherwallet and Binance – still waiting, guys, happy to send over a (Coinbase) wallet address at any time – and I left crypto because of that experience. At the time it was a theft of £25,000, now it’s more than £300,000 and likely to be much more.
After some arm-twisting, I came back 15 months ago and not only do I see a different landscape of serious life-changing products such as DeFi, less so NFTs, and a community that is growing up… scaling at last, I see something really good.
That, gulp, includes Coinbase and, at this moment, I’m recommending this platform to everybody who asks because it’s trustworthy, improving and could even be a catalyst… I never thought I would write this, but I believe it.
I really believe it
And before cynical readers question whether this column sounds suspiciously as if Coinbase has paid me some of my stolen Ether to write so positively of them, I can assure them it’s not true. I really believe it.
However, the idea of a big off between them and Binance to finally redeem my loss, for whatever purpose, is not one that I would walk away from. I mean the PR would be amazing, wouldn’t it?
Only joking. No seriously. Actually, I’m not joking. I really am. No, I’m not. Why would I joke? Actually, why wouldn’t I? Bitter, nah. Maybe. Especially when my mate was paid back and I wasn’t… and it wasn’t even my fault.
Beat that, Binance, but I know you won’t because you don’t seem to care, somewhat weirdly, now Coinbase really seems to. Who knew? Certainly not me.
Monty Munford is a tech journalist and the Chief Evangelist and core contributor to the Sienna Network project.
He is a keynote speaker/emcee/moderator/interviewer at prestigious events around the world and has spoken at more than 200 global events interviewing figures such as the late John McAfee, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Steve Wozniak (twice in Beirut and Vienna), Kim Kardashian (once in Armenia), Ghostface Killah and many others.
He also runs his own crypto podcast https://blockspeak.io
He was previously a weekly tech columnist for Forbes in New York, the Telegraph in the UK and continues to write regularly for the BBC, The Economist, The FT and… City AM.