The ‘crypto sculpture’ and how hyped things have become

Crypto Connection Sculpture

The cryptocurrency world has its detractors, with J.P. Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and legendary investor Warren Buffett topping a long list. But, sometimes it seems to be inviting ridicule.

Eidoo, a company that bills itself as a cryptocurrency wallet and exchange, commissioned a 3-meter bronze sculpture showing a pregnant woman with a baby in her womb holding a smartphone. Located in London, it's meant to show what the future of cryptocurrencies could be.

But, quite frankly, it's ridiculous and undermines what companies are actually trying to do with cryptocurrencies.

Before I go on, I want to make clear that my feelings are ambivalent towards cryptocurrencies. Like any new technology, I don't want to dismiss or overhype it; I want to see how it develops. And while bitcoin, for example, has many well-publicized problems, many still believe it has a future as a global currency and store of value.

As part of its sculpture stunt, Eidoo also released a "Pokemon Go"-style game that allows users to walk around collecting real cryptocurrency. They are literally giving away money. And it's stunts like these that allow people to call out the crypto industry as a bubble or a fad and could hamper development in the sector.

For an outside observer, the statue and game highlight an immaturity among many of the firms in the space. And actually, I'd be less inclined to trust a business giving money away. As a company this could also put off investors.

The price of many of these cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, ether and XRP, reached record highs and then plummeted. It was undoubtedly pure speculation.

Many start-ups are trying to position themselves as blockchain companies to distance themselves from the cryptocurrency world. Blockchain is the technology that underpins many of these cryptocurrencies. But at a recent fintech conference I heard someone joke (or say seriously, it was hard to tell): "Let's just call it a blockchain anyway, we'll get funding."

That comment highlights the way in which the term blockchain is being used by companies of all sizes, often in the wrong way.

Everywhere you look, whether it is about the cryptocurrencies themselves, or the blockchain technology that underpins it, there is hype. There will be a burst of the bubble where many companies and digital coins fail and investors get burned. Only a handful of these will remain as solid as Eidoo's crazy bronze statue.

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