In late 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto published his world-renowned paper, Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System, since then Blockchain mania storms all over the world. From a technology perspective, the cryptography behind bitcoin guaranteed the anonymity and safety of the system. Its ground-breaking invention of POW consensus resolved the trust issue between parties and persons in every single corner of the internet, also resolved double-spending and consolidated the sequence of transactions in a distributed ledger fashion. All in all, many people think it’s a Godsent invention of the twenty-first century.
Apart from technology, the significance impact behind human society’s belief and greatest invention of all time, the monetary system, is beyond imagination. With the popularity of Bitcoin increasing, people start to think about the fundamental problems of the human society’s economy setup.
If we trace back to how we started our economy and trading system, we really just traded within our village or town at the very beginning. As our societies grew more complex and our trade routes grew more distant, we built up more formal institutions, institutions like banks for currency, governments, corporations. These institutions helped us manage our trade as the uncertainty and the complexity grew, and our personal control was much lower. Eventually with the internet, we put these same institutions online. We built platform marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, just faster institutions that act as middlemen to facilitate human economic activity.
Within the power, money and desire grew and controlled only by a handful of people or institutions, technically the government is run by a handful of people too, the gap between rich people and poor people becomes wider and wider. Blood Diamond, the famous movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, demonstrated a South african diamond digger can probably only earn 100 dollars a month, however those conglomerates make billions every year. I recently visited Istanbul, Turkey, a beautiful historical city, however their currency Turkish Lira dropped nearly 50% in 2018 due to the government’s discredit and credit crisis. Who is gonna pay the bill? 80 million turkish people who averagely make 500 U.S. dollars worth of lira every month, now only halved. What about Argentina’s currency crisis and Zimbabwe hyperinflation? There are countless examples like these happening or happened all over the world.
I believe that’s the profunding message that Bitcoin delivers to the world. A hope for the people to ease economic inequality, a remedy to the thousand years old and sick financial system. An average joe finally has the opportunity to be the master of their own bank account, no intermediary middleman takes 90% of the profit, and there is no constraints for every one to embrace this new technology.
Now it’s 2020, 12 years passed by, is Bitcoin working as Nakomoto initially expected? Obviously the answer is Yes. People start to realize the fundamental differences between blockchain technology and others. And the price shoots to the moon from 1 cent upto $20,000 US dollars in late 2017. In this regard, it’s an unprecedented success. But is it enough? Honestly Bitcoin is still far away from liberating the monetary system. Super low transaction transfer speed, extravagant energy consumption, information constrained block size, programmable unfriendly and last but not least, too much volatile and speculations. All the drawbacks above make bitcoin now more like a symbol of first crypto and a means of holding value. Many people called it a digital gold. Not very useful apart from holding the value let alone to change the course of the human financial system.
With the rise of Bitcoin, many other blockchain projects win its spotlights. Ethereum, a decentralized computing blockchain project, announced its smart contract capability. A Turing complete smart contract language called Solidity can be deployed on the blockchain network and make the smart contract tamperproof. EOS, another popular blockchain project, claimed itself blockchain 3.0, dramatically increased the Transactions per second rate, with its semi-centralized DPOS consensus mechanism. Cosmos, optimized classic pBFT consensus into blockchain consensus framework named Tendermint aiming building a consensus engine for all applications. And many many more inventions happened in Blockchain space every day. But sometimes I always ask myself, are we still lacking something? Is it possible to build a blockchain infrastructure to facilitate exiting cryptos and tackle all the issues (TPS issue, Smart Contract issues, BFT Consensus etc)?
Let us define the ideal outcome for such blockchain infrastructure. It would be nice if all the public chains can be interoperable to each other. This means it can bring the existing mega billion crypto economy together and influx within the new infrastructure spontaneously. It also would be nice that the interface and tooling of the infrastructure provides an easy way for non-techie to get into blockchain. Much like the business user using the interface would not even notice the underlying blockchain technology. Another important part is it’s free enough and the underlying consensus is fast, transparent, secure and open to embrace average people from all walks of life. After all this is the ultimate spirit behind blockchain. Overall, the infrastructure will provide the means for all cryptos, especially stable coins, to flow freely, securely and promptly. Building an ultimate 16-lane freeway, which connects to all the existing highways, is probably a comparable analogy.
That’s ideal, is the blockchain industry working in the right direction? After a series of research I am glad to see some of the upcoming projects are working hard in the right space. First and foremost, the high grossing facebook Libra projects. The social network titan and its planned cryptocurrency have endured withering months as the legislators amp up their criticism of the ambitious plans. As the legislators should be afraid of the Libra’s purpose that is to “empower billions of people,” citing 1.7 billion adults without bank accounts who could use the currency.
Another project I watched closely is called MarcoPolo Protocol aka MAP. MAP is also the coin name to fuel their blockchain network. MarcoPolo Project was initiated at the end of the year 2018 with a group of brilliant researchers, engineers, and developers from renowned universities and other blockchain projects. It defines itself as a new type of peer-to-peer electronic cash system and aims at building an infrastructure that provides interoperability and scalability for all public chains. MarcoPolo Protocol intends to solve the problem and increase the TPS immensely in order to realize the use of cryptocurrencies in real-life scenarios. It is a multi-chain architecture that natively supports multiple assets. It primarily targets three application scenarios of DPayment, DEX, and DeFi to build the e-cash system infrastructure serving the whole blockchain ecosystem. That’s why there is no surprise that SoftBank, one of the world’s most famous investment institutions, invested in the angel phase.
I found its served purpose is to free billions of people and allow them to create their own bank accounts and transact each other freely. It does so already, in South East Asia, Thailand, Marcopolo team has already deployed their killer app called MarcoPay on top of the Marcopolo Protocol. MarcoPay can manage digital assets and also be used as a terminal system in the shops to receive funds. According to their website, the app is connecting with thousands of people and small business users already in Thailand and expanding globally including Vietnam, Cambodia, Turkey etc. With the right purpose and right resources, I believe Marcopolo protocol has a bright future.
It’s inevitable that we’re about to enter a new phase of monetary and financial system. The future of finance is open to everyone, transparent, easy and programmable. When we combine blockchain and currency, money becomes more than just a static unit of value, and we don’t have to rely on institutions for security. In a blockchain world, we remove humans and institutions from the loop. And when this happens, we won’t even feel like we’re transacting anymore. Money will be directed by underlying blockchain infrastructure, and it will just safely and securely flow.
We’re not in this world yet, but it’s coming. Right now, it’s like we’re in a world that is seeing the first automobile. In the endeavours of projects like Libra, MAP, Ethereum, Cosmo, I believe the day of monetary and finance liberty is not too far away.