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CoinGeek Discussions on X Spaces: What’s up with the blockchain space?

On the first CoinGeek Discussions episode on X Spaces, Alex Vidal hosted Zachary Weiner, David Case, and several others to discuss all the latest happenings in the blockchain space. They covered the metaverse, FedNow, central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), and the new internet.

On the metaverse

The host, Alex Vidal, kicks things off by asking for everyone’s opinion on the metaverse. Where’s it going? Are we too early? What will it end up looking like?

Weiner answers first, noting that it’s often said that being too early is the same as being too late. He doesn’t strictly agree with that, but he sees the point. He refuses to bash Zuckerberg for his early metaverse attempts, noting that Meta (NASDAQ: META) just isn’t a creative enough company to determine what the metaverse will look like.

“They’ve been great at acquisitions but not creativity,” he says.

In Weiner’s view, the goggles used to access VR (virtual reality) worlds aren’t great—they’re often uncomfortable. There must be experiences that don’t involve these devices under the umbrella of what is now known as the metaverse if it is to really take off.

Case says to look back at the early days of the internet—people were talking about using avatars back then. However, the internet didn’t change the world because of avatars—it changed it because systems could talk to each other, and apps could interact with APIs. The metaverse should connect communities, places, and systems. He says the virtual world will not replace the real world, and such a goal isn’t even worth pursuing. Weiner wholeheartedly agrees with this latter point.

On FedNow, CBDCs, and SegWit

Vidal then pulls up a headline about FedNow—the instant payments system launched by the Federal Reserve. He notes their claim that it has no links to CBDCs and wonders if it can be trusted.

User Hooligan answers that FedNow is just about instant payments and has been coming for years. Weiner points out that the XRP community was hopeful it would make use of the token, to which Hooligan responds that they only thought this because they have done no actual research into the fact that instant payments have been in development since before XRP was a thing.

The conversation then drifts briefly into CBDCs and how Florida Gov. Ron Desantis has vowed to ban them. All agree that tech is agnostic—it could be good or bad, depending on what it is used for.

Speaking of payments, Weiner points out that when Bitcoin was released, the tech around it, including the protocol, conformed really well with the rules most Western governments had made for digital payments. In short, the technology adopted the idea of a witness on-chain. However, BTC Core developers removed the witness data from the transaction set with SegWit, and in doing so, they technically removed BTCs ability to be classified as money according to the current laws.

On-chain summer and the next big thing

User Andreas highlights a recent announcement by Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN) about an “on-chain summer” and how the industry is moving on to the next thing. He wonders how, given BSV’s superior on-chain capabilities, someone might create something truly unique on the original Bitcoin.

Case answers that, technically, it would be possible to mint eight billion non-fungible tokens (NFTs) on the blockchain—one for everyone. It wouldn’t even cost that much, about $3,500, by his estimation. Lots of cool and interesting things are possible, he says.

Weiner says that, while it’s possible, we don’t have the breadth of market to support such an endeavor. You can lead people to water, but you can’t make them drink, and the 600 or so people in the ecosystem won’t be able to promote something to attract that many people. However, it would be possible to bring in a popular artist with millions of fans, but there’d be little value in doing so if they didn’t really care about the NFT and simply collected and forgot about it.

Case agrees, saying the real breakthrough will come when NFTs have true utility. When people can claim NFTs that bring them some sort of value or joy, then things will change. As BitMap, on-chain domains, and other things like this develop, that NFTs will have true utility will become more likely.

Weiner adds that, in BSV blockchain, we have been less than inviting to people in the BTC ecosystem when in reality, they’re most likely to be excited by something on BSV. However, they won’t come across to save $1 on fees—it will take either BTC fees going so high it makes using the chain untenable or someone will create something truly unique that is impossible on BTC. In any case, we could all be more welcoming and friendly to them and people on other blockchains.

Case says it doesn’t matter if nothing we are currently building takes off—the research and development being done is invaluable. We may be years away from the conclusion of the Bitcoin experiment, and he encourages everyone who has an idea to try and make it a reality.

Weiner says there’s one more piece that needs to be put in place before all of this can really take off—reinscription. For the internet to run on Bitcoin, we need more tools that make publishing on it easier, and we also need tools to manage the content we do publish. This will free up the creativity that will drive the next wave.

What are the implications of the new internet?

Weiner explains that today, the internet works by monetizing our attention to pay for the servers that run it. On the new internet, you’ll rely on your network (e.g., friends) to get content, so the costs of running things won’t be so high, and we won’t rely on big, centralized servers that control everything. He invites us to imagine what Facebook would look like with no ads for a glimpse of how different it could be.

Case says that data will exist in such a way that nobody can change or alter it. Everything will be identified by a hash of itself, so we will be able to verify that the file we have requested is, in fact, the right file. Data won’t go through other peoples’ servers, and the top-down, centralized structure of the internet will change.

To hear answers to other questions, such as how decentralized and distributed mean something different than what is commonly understood, listen to the ConGeek Discussions space above. Until next time!

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