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Three Competing Blockchain Narratives

Bad Actors and Counter Currents Are Hijacking the Real Blockchain Narrative

This quote by Keanu Reaves inspired me to write this post: "I dream of a day where I walk down the street and hear people talk about morality sustainability and philosophy instead of the Kardashians.” 

It was inspiring not because of the Kardashians mention, but because the quote underpins the hope for a narrative change. Its essence is encapsulated in a simple TLDR; “let’s talk about this instead of about that”, also known as “let’s change the conversation topic.” 

The dominance of a certain narrative around a given topic is an important factor in how that topic evolves, and what future course it takes on people’s opinions and actions. Dominance of the wrong narratives sucks the air out of people’s attention and leaves little room for the “right” narrative to prosper. 

This leads me to discuss the evolution of the various competing narratives surrounding blockchain and crypto technology.

I believe there are three dominant narratives when you assess what’s written in the media (social or not) as a reflection of the industry’s activity. 

These are: 

  1. the Real narrative

  2. the Counter narrative

  3. the Bad Actors narrative

The blockchain’s Real narrative is first and foremost about its programmable money feature, decentralized operations and the advent of cryptocurrencies that can be transferred in peer-to-peer methods without unnecessary choke point factors. Then, you can imagine all the derivative products, new business models and ideas that evolve from that basic and foundational grounding.

The Counter narrative includes everything focused on limiting the adoption of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. It is primarily driven by regulators and existing governments that see it as a de-stabilization threat, and a serious risk to the status quo. Via their direct or indirect actions, they want to retard the propagation of blockchain technology usage. 

The Bad Actors narrative has two archetypes. Archetype I includes those committing white-collar crimes by engaging in fraudulent activity, pushing the law's limits, or circumventing the system. Archetype II is composed of people who perceive the industry as a casino or an opportunistic exploitation ground, and they thrive on hype and empty promises while embracing loose controls and ponzi schemes. Both of these have the common characteristic of propagating a false narrative, or one that is often hyped, misleading or disconnected from reality. 

In an ideal world, the Real narrative should be the dominant one, perhaps with a market mindshare of 80%, leaving potentially 10% to each of the other two narratives. Sadly, in the blockchain world, today, I am seeing almost the reverse being true.

For comparison's sake, the Internet is now full of positive narratives, and we take that feat for granted, but it didn’t start this way. Initially, the Web’s advent brought a lot of negative push-back from traditional players who saw it as a threat.

My gut feel approximation is that we have the following subdivision of competing narratives in the blockchain sector:

  • Bad Actors narrative: 40%

  • Counter narrative: 40%

  • Real narrative: 20%

We must change these ratios.

How to do that is the tough part. 

The Counter narrative is primarily driven by the SEC and the US White House stance on crypto technology. Winning a given Bill’s vote in Congress can easily be vetoed by the President. That could only change with a new election outcome. 

You would hope Bad Actors (and grifters) would eventually shrink, go away, get caught or get tired of trying. Crypto Twitter has a good chunk of those because they like to shout from the rooftops and hijack the Real narrative to fit their own agendas.

Both of these segments suck the air out of the room and negatively divert the available attention.

The Real narrative is driven by conscious entrepreneurs who work day in and day out with good ethics, native use cases, and surely earning every bit of traction via their progressive efforts. Perhaps their current pitfall is their quiet nature. The Real narrative segment must elevate their voices and be heard more, in part to increase the education levels, but also to start claiming the mindshare they deserve in relation to the other two competing narratives. They must sharpen their marketing messages and increase their market mindshare. They need to highlight their use cases and become better storytellers than Bad Actors.

I don’t like the Counter and Bad Actors Narratives segment because history will not be on their side. Their mindshare head start will eventually shrink via the passage of time. 

I’m longing for the success of the Real Narrative segment and all the people behind it. 

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