Phil Gomes, Chief Communications Officer, Bloq
I lead communications for a company founded by one of Bitcoin’s earliest code contributors and one of the cryptocurrency category’s earliest investors and high-profile evangelists. Our team comprises dozens of talented people who, though united in their passion for a peer-to-peer, distributed computing future, still manage to hold a diverse set of opinions and viewpoints.
So, of course, this means there is a lot that we discuss on our Slack. This includes the latest news, technical advancements, our various projects, new project ideas, the state of enterprise blockchain adoption, and (it absolutely cannot be helped) even some of the outsized personalities in our industry.
But there’s one topic that never comes up: The price of cryptocurrencies.
I literally mean, never. (And, despite the Oxford English Dictionary’s unforgivable waffling, I literally do mean “literally.”) We never discuss this topic, even when we talk about the cryptocurrency we ourselves developed and launched.
The headlines lately have focused on companies in our industry that have drastically downsized or flamed out altogether during the so-called “Crypto Winter.” Many outlets — expressing Candide-like optimism, uneasiness or flat-out schadenfreude depending on their bias — point to the hypoxia-inducing highs of December 2017 when Bitcoin’s price very nearly touched USD$20,000. (It’s closer to $3,500 – $4,000 as I write this.) Leading up to that period, the business media predictably took a horse-race approach to the coverage by headlining questions like “Will Ethereum topple Bitcoin?”, which is ultimately as constructive as asking “Will oranges topple potatoes?”
But, as the great Harlan Ellison once observed, some people spend so much time staring through the hole that they never see the donut. A bit of perspective is necessary here.
Counterintuitively, the dot-bust was one of the most rewarding periods in my communications career. Why? Because the people who remained after the Aeron chair auctions ended did so because they were motivated by more than a formulaic “[InsertCommodityName].com” path to a glorious exit event beyond the dreams of avarice. They stayed because they wanted to develop more ways to use the Internet. As a result, they built the technologies that transformed “Web as presentation medium” into “Web as conversation medium,” dramatically increasing and accelerating its power and usefulness.
We are now in the midst of a similar transformation, with far higher stakes. Brilliant minds are resisting the urge to obsessively CTRL+R coinmarketcap.com for the latest crypto prices and, instead, are working incredibly hard to extend the “Internet of Information” into the “Internet of Value.” They are not stopping to fret about the price of cryptocurrencies — the fortunes gained, lost, or unrealized — along the way.
My own trade — communications — stands to be transformed by these changes, even if it has proven to be as reluctant to embrace this shift as, well, just about every other fundamental change in its business over the last two decades. Perhaps reflecting uncertain economic times, the communications services industry is far more interested in making money from cryptocurrency/blockchain companies rather than having thoughtful discussions on how to incorporate this transformative technology into its toolkit and create new, unique service offerings. Speaking frankly, our trade suffered far too many avoidable nicks and scratches during the early days of blogging twenty years ago.
Though we are more than a decade into the cryptocurrency revolution, this current generational leap in technology really only started to gain primacy in the popular imagination in the last few years. The exhortations to “hodl” (a corruption of “hold,” or to retain one’s cryptocurrency holdings through bull and bear markets) have given way to “buidl.” To employ a famous concatenation of cliches, engineers and entrepreneurs are keeping their eyes on the ball, their shoulders to the wheel, and their noses to the grindstone, all while creating a more secure, open, equitable, and frictionless computing future in that godawful position.
We couldn’t be happier.
About the Author: Phil Gomes is the chief communications officer for Bloq, an enterprise blockchain software company and innovation studio. He is most known in his trade as the first PR professional to start a blog and the first in his field to demonstrate the use of blockchain technology in public relations. He reluctantly returned to Twitter at @philgomes.