In terms of functionality, cryptov currencies can be divided into two main types. We talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each of them.
Cryptovalves interested in becoming a means of saving (e.g. bitcoin) should strive for maximum predictability in the long term. In the digital world, achieving this result requires above all resistance to censorship, limited emissions, safety and self-sufficiency.
In turn, utility platforms such as Ethereum and EOS have practical value: they experiment with flexible programming, networked control models and new consensus algorithms. The winners in their environment are the most flexible and innovative projects. They will gain significant weight in a highly competitive platform race. At the same time, the flexibility and innovation required for the development of utilitarian platforms contradicts the predictability and security of the cryptographic software used as a means of accumulation (SoV). The increase in overall utility and diversity of functions runs counter to the properties required to store and transfer value.
The valuation of digital assets on utility platforms differs from traditional approaches to company valuation. In the new digital paradigm, networks replace companies, and tokens replace cash and financial flows. As the network grows, the value of tokens must also increase. Turnovers – the speed at which an asset changes owners – can suppress its value. In addition, the open nature of digital space leads to serious and aggressive competition.
Scenarios for platforms
If a network is popular, its value must be high. This is intuitive, but only to a certain extent. Take the Ethereum network, for example. There are two possible scenarios:
- An entire ecosystem has been formed on the basis of Ethereum. Fragmentation and second-tier solutions have significantly increased bandwidth and reduced end-user costs. The network is cheaper, faster and more popular. The cost of transactions tends to zero. But along with a significant drop in commissions, the demand for the airwaves required to pay for them decreases as well. As bandwidth increases, so does the airwaves‘ turnover, reducing their deficit. Thus, low commissions and high bandwidth are good for users, but not for investors.
- The network is expensive, unpopular and slow to operate. In this scenario, the interest of developers of decentralised applications (dApps) is reduced due to high costs and low speed. Accordingly, user interest also drops, the demand for airwaves decreases, and their cost decreases.
For platform tokens, there is a price ceiling and it is lower than most people think. The growing number of users will not be enough to compensate for the decreasing fees. John Pfeffer addresses this issue in his article Institutional Investor’s Take on Cyptoassets. In a balanced state, the fair market value of individual platform tokens and dApps will be billions of dollars. Others will become obsolete due to high competition and duplication of functions.
The path to value growth: Storage of value, not network utility
The greatest potential for high return on investment is associated with savings rather than utilisation tokens. As people move into the digital world, they will face an increasing need to safely store their wealth. Kyle Samani’s article Paths to Tens of Trillions provides several scenarios for turning crypt currency into a means of accumulation. In it, Samani admits that much of the wealth will be digitized. He identifies three ways to make the crypt currency the dominant repository of value:
- Creating a means of accumulation (SoV) with limited practical value. Such assets meet the criteria of self-sufficiency, resistance to censorship, deficit and security. For example, the value of gold is not an indication of its usefulness, but a global standard for storing money. Example: Bitcoin, ZCash, Monero and Decred.
- Maximum benefit for application developers and end users. In this case, some attachment to the underlying platform will arise. If Ethereum is the dominant network, why not keep all the wealth on the air? Example: on air, EOS, Dash, Tezos, Dfinity and Cosmos.
- Linking to assets to create a „stable coin“. This way, volatility is completely eliminated, and as a result, circulation is encouraged. Example: Tether, Maker and Basecoin.
The classification of assets by Kyle Samani provides a basis for understanding the potential mechanism for turning crypt currency into a means of accumulation.
Stable coins have great potential, but at present their capitalisation is relatively small percentage of the market, so we will move on to crypt currencies – means of accumulation and utilitarian tokens.
Utility cryptovoltaic currencies
Develop or die. Technological darwinism dictates that only the best and most adapted survive. Creating the most convenient and functional platform can lead to an extensive and loyal follower base. As the range of applications for such a platform is very wide, users can store their savings in their native tokens. This would eliminate the need for exchange between SoV scripting currencies and these tokens. In this way, platform tokens with the highest overall utility can be the main means of saving.
Utility platforms must develop rapidly in order to bring the highest value to the market. However, as the platform grows, innovation becomes more difficult to implement. This is the ‚dilemma of innovators‘, the digital equivalent of biological gigantism. If a certain organism grows too big, it becomes slow, clumsy and vulnerable to faster predators. In such circumstances, frustrated participants can branch out a network and create somewhat similar but more dynamic platforms. Some of the new platforms will fail, but the usefulness of their luckier counterparts will be much greater. As practical people, participants in the original platform will switch to competing projects. Since they are now using another platform, will they not decide to convert all their wealth into its tokens?
Cryptov currencies as a means of accumulation
In contrast to utilitarian currencies, digital gold is characterized by relatively low overall utility and flexibility. It is slow to develop, but has high self-sufficiency, resistance to censorship and security. Users can choose digital gold to store their wealth because it is familiar, safe and relatively predictable. This choice is determined by emotions rather than logic, as the value of any gold depends solely on people’s belief in it.
Some participants may create their own version of this digital gold with increased utility. Some will try its new functionality, but the vast majority of users will keep their wealth in digital gold not because of its usefulness and flexibility, but because of its stability, independence and security. They will be reassured by the fact that wealth is stored in an anti-brittle asset. In this case, the slow pace of innovation is an attractive and key feature. Participants can be sure that the instrument in which their wealth is stored will not change suddenly.
Requirements for savings funds are contrary to the nature of utilisation currencies. In the digital world, the latter are volatile and often ephemeral. It is important that their speed of development will only increase. As the popularity of the platform grows, it will be more difficult to innovate. Users will start switching to new, more convenient and functional platforms.
Rapid innovation and the introduction of new features are crucial for the widespread use of utility platforms. In this case, protocols that increase flexibility will serve as a fundamental infrastructure for value creation. In turn, digital assets as a means of accumulation will have a high level of predictability, independence, resilience and security. Choosing the right asset will yield huge returns over the next decade.