8btc Interview | Cryptos and Coronavirus: What We Learned from Foreign Communities
#Restart 2020 has been a hot trend in China since we have witnessed so many tragedies this year. In 2020, legendary NBA player Kobe Bryant left the world; Spain was hit by a superstrong snowstorm; East Africa was engulfed by a locust crisis; and COVID2019 shocked the world.
2019.12.1 We saw the first COVID 2019 case.
2020.1.20 COVID2019 started to spread outside of Wuhan.
2020.3.6 Global COVID2019 cases hit 100,000.
2020.3.31 Chinese government reported that the outbreak in China is contained.
2020.4.1 The cumulative number of COVID2019 death cases from the US and France exceeded that in China.
2020.4.5 Global COVID2019 cases hit 1,200,000.
COVID2019 made almost everyone in China stay at home for at least one month. It may be the first-time people miss working days.
Though 99% of crypto companies have a decentralized team, Chinese community still saw some changes during the outbreak: events going online; cryptos have moved from a niche market to an area that is linked to COVID2019 and entire economies.
Fighting against COVID2019 for almost 4 months, China has effectively contained the epidemic, and everything seems to be back to normal. Overseas, many are still going through what we experienced a month ago: medical shortages, stuck in quarantine, cities lockdown. Beyond the changes in life, what other changes are overseas cryptocurrency community going through due to the outbreak?
8btc reached out to representatives and community KOLs of 11 well-known projects, and learned from them about the current situation of the overseas epidemic and some of the implications for the cryptocurrency community.
*Special thanks to Joseph Young、Ren Yi（Bytom）、Jeremy Allaire（Circle）、John Robert Reed（Multicoin Capital）、Zachary Rynes（DMM）、Jake Yocom-Piatt（Decred）、CZ（Binance）、Josh Quittner（Decrypt）、Muneeb Ali（Blockstack）、Sergey Nazarov（Chainlink）、Adelyn Zhou（SmartContract）who gave plenty of support for this interview (in no particular order).
Quarantine and social distancing are what everyone going through now
Crypto analyst Joseph Young is based in South Korea. He told 8btc that things are under control there. It has actually never gone into lockdown and opened things up while running tests.
Not so lucky for the US. Nearly 90% of the projects we interviewed this time were from the US. The US has the largest number of COVID2019 cases. Ren Yi, head of Bytom US market, said the number of confirmed cases continues to rise despite the government asking people to stay at home. The entire country is in shortage of masks, medical gowns and ventilators.
There are also contradictions in the US policy responding to the outbreak. Zachary Rynes, partner at the DMM foundation, said the CDC created their own tests, but then recalled them because of some problems. Only about half of the US states have shut down mandates.
Like China a month ago, people from foreign community are almost all in quarantine. But working from home is an advantage for the crypto community. Almost all of the respondents told 8btc that they ran a distributed office long before the outbreak, so it didn’t affect their work much.
Sergey Nazarov, co-founder of Chainlink said:
“This decentralized approach has given us an added benefit during this unique situation. We’ve possibly even seen an increase in productivity because of our streamlined internal remote work processes, and also the decrease in time spent at events by a portion of our team. This combination gives us more time to finalizing product launch and implementations for our growing user base.”
However, they have taken a number of steps to help employees get through the quarantine time. For example, Multicoin Capital regularly checks employees’ mental and physical health and offers indefinite sick leave; Binance promises to provide subsidies and other necessities such as masks.
Crisis and opportunity: the impact of COVID2019 on crypto industry
The most immediate change COVID2019 has brought to the crypto industry is the cancellation of the ubiquitous meet-ups, most of which have gone online.
In addition, we also learned about the changes in various areas of the overseas crypto community under the outbreak through this interview.
What impressed everyone most is that COVID2019 has caused turmoil in global financial markets, and crypto market has not been immune. Joseph Young told 8btc that this will only have a short-term impact on the crypto market, which will see a big rebound as global financial markets recover. This has been confirmed, with bitcoin recovering from a low of about $4,400 to $6,700 at press time.
Cryptocurrencies will become more appealing. That’s the signal 8btc got from most respondents. Jake yocom-piatt, Decred’s founder, argues that the fed’s interests are closely tied to politicians, banks and big companies, so its bail-out will only protect these certain groups. The fed’s policy of issuing a lot of credits and lowering the target interest rate would actually hurt people holding dollars.
And the situation will not only happen here in the US, all the countries affected by COVID2019 will have serious inflation problems in the future, Jake said.
“Inflation undermines the value of anyone holding fiat-currency-denominated assets, and I expect this will drive interest in cryptocurrencies, particularly those with deterministic and finite issuance schedules like Decred.”
CZ, CEO of Binance, also believes that cryptocurrencies will get a fairly strong boost in this volatile environment.
Josh Quittner, co-founder of cryptocurrency media Decrypt, offers more intuitive data. This past march, the articles from Decrypt had more than 2 million views. This proves that the passion for cryptocurrencies has not died down.
Stablecoins may have been a hot trend during the outbreak. In the past month, USDC circulation has increased 60% to $700 million, according to Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire.
“Going forward, we expect more and more businesses around the world to want to become more natively digital, and to rely on the safety and security of blockchain based digital money. As trust erodes and counterparty risk proliferates with the global economic crisis, it should drive more demand for the use of digital currency, especially stablecoins such as USDC.”
In addition, the investment world is seeing the change that COVID2019 has brought. John Robert Reed, Head of Communications at Multicoin Capital, has clearly observed that the funders chose more cautiously than before.
“Prior to the COVID-19, the funding environment favored the founder. Now, as liquidity flees to safety, we expect deals to slow down and terms to turn in favor of funders. It’s still too early to say how this will transpire exactly but it’s reasonable to expect that we will see more favorable terms as teams reach for capital to extend runways and weaker deals to dry up as capital seeks out only the strongest and most market-ready ideas.”
Data and privacy will be the key words of the future. Muneeb Ali, Blockstack CEO, said that as the outbreak continues, authorities will step up surveillance technology to contain the spread, which could lead to more focus on the autonomy and privacy that decentralized technology can bring.
“I do however think that this pandemic will bring more attention to data privacy issues and data rights, both areas that significant overlap with the crypto space.”
What can we do in such a crisis?
COVID2019 made no bystanders. At this moment, all walks of life are using their strengths to help contain the epidemic and help communities survive. The cryptocurrency industry is no exception.
As well as raising more than $200,000 in donations from the community through its charity arm, Binance itself has donated $2.4 million in cryptocurrency, as well as masks and medical supplies.
In addition to donations, DMM foundation partner Zachary Rynes told 8btc that many companies are developing tools to track COVID2019 data. Smart contracts are used to track the transparency of cases; zero-knowledge proof and blockchain are used to securely share health data.
Decred founder Jake Yocom-Piatt warned that the crypto industry should take a lesson from the central bank’s monetary policy crisis and design better monetary policy. Providing resilient stores of value during a period of high inflation and economic weakness helps individuals avoid the losses associated with being trapped in the fiat banking system.
Above is what we have been doing, what else should we do in the future?
Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire believes the cryptocurrency community should do more to spread the word about the security of adopting safe-haven digital assets, using blockchain as a medium for economic transactions, and conducting secure voting and governance to continue to help achieve global integration and coordination.
“Organize disparate teams around worthy causes.” John Robert Reed, Head of Communications at Multicoin Capital, is looking beyond the current issues, saying the crypto industry should be looking at bigger issues. After the crisis, we need to solve many problems. Many in the industry are already thinking about how to solve these problems and already have solutions. So, keep their heads down and continue to build is their rule.
Blockchain has a lot to offer in terms of tracking data on IoT devices. SmartContract CMO Adelyn Zhou gives an example that a smart contract that can be triggered when healthcare products reach a certain point in the supply chain, such as a customs clearance or a hospital, by sending IoT data to a blockchain via a oracles network.
What will the post-COVID2019 world like?
The economic crisis in 2008 saw the rise of developing emerging markets. After this year’s crisis, we’re entering a whole new world. What will the future like? The respondents gave their answers.
SmartContract CMO Adelyn Zhou: New habits will form. People will be more cautious about hygiene. Furthermore, this brings a faster acceleration to remote work and distributed work. People who were considering moving out of large cities are more likely to do so now. Companies are also more comfortable with remote work. New technologies popping up for distance learning and work.
Crypto analyst Joseph Young: We may see wildly different habits; possibly less spending, a change to the monetary system, and how we interact with one another.
Head of Bytom US market Ren Yi: I think things will be back to normal after the pandemic. But people will value life and health than before in the near feature.
Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire: I believe we are in for a long and difficult economic transformation, that will likely also include dramatic social and political challenges and upheaval. This will create new opportunities to re-imagine how the world connects, integrates and solves problems together. But it will take time, and a lot of intense and difficult struggle, to reach this new set of global possibilities.
Multicoin Capital Head of Communications John Robert Reed: The world will return to “normal” at some point—likely after a vaccine is developed. However, it will certainly be changed, and hopefully for the better. There will be clear response plans to anticipate and prevent future outbreaks; citizens will be better prepared and will “know the drill” when asked by their government officials to contain future threats; commerce and supply chains will have evolved to scale up and accommodate more work-from-home situations; companies will have clear policies and response plans in place that were born of this crisis to inform what to do next time, and so forth. The world will learn from its mistakes in 2020 and come out the other end stronger for it. To go back to “normal” would be a misstep. We should all hope for a “new normal.”
Partner at the DMM foundation Zachary Rynes: Things will go back to normal, but the new “normal” won’t be the same as it was before. People will be more conscious about public health and may potentially fuel more arguments about border policy. It makes take a while for thing to pass but it eventually will and there will be another global issue on our hands.
Decred founder Jake Yocom-Piatt: How things work out with COVID-19 is still very much uncertain, so a post-COVID-19 world depends very strongly on what happens. What is certain is that the ability to work on remote is rapidly becoming more important, and this is something Decred already excels at. The economic pain of various quarantine policies will continue to damage business models that depend on large amounts of leverage and credit, so cryptocurrencies like Decred that are self-funded will continue to operate smoothly.
Decrypt cofounder Josh Quittner: People said the same thing after 9/11 and life did return to normal, with some changes (such as airport security screening.) I think there will be some changes post-Covid too. I hope that the countries of the world will coordinate better so that they can head off the next pandemic by communicating more efficiently and sharing information more seamlessly.
Blockstack CEO Muneeb Ali: The post-COVID19 world will likely be much more digital. As a huge number of people move more of their life online, they will start to realize the importance of ownership and privacy. While that realization is happening, under the banner of tackling COVID19, governments and companies may take advantage of this crisis and others to ramp of data surveillance and curb data privacy. While the impacts of COVID19 are clear signs that society must take more seriously problems that require collective action, such as viral outbreaks or even environmental degradation, it is imperative that we do not cede control to political and corporate stakeholders in the process. It is my hope that technology that relies on decentralization will allow us to tackle these new problems without forcing people to give up their rights to privacy and autonomy.
During the COVID2019 outbreak, despite the inconveniences, everyone’s efforts paid off. 8btc is here to appeal to everyone, the epidemic is not over, we still need to pay attention to prevention, hope everyone can live a healthy and happy life. STAY SAFE!