Charting Crypto’s Course

Jordan Clifford
4 min readDec 19, 2019

Cryptocurrencies are nearly eleven years old now, and an impressive ecosystem has formed around them. The total cryptoassets market cap is well north of $100 billion. Billions of dollars of crypto are traded daily. Millions of users have installed a crypto wallet. Major US financial institutions CME and ICE make markets in crypto derivatives.

Yet, despite the incredible advancements, there remains a lot of work to get where we want to be. As an industry, we’re looking forward to global democratized access to financial products, banking the unbanked (and unbanking the banked), and mainstream applications.

In this post, we’ll take a look at crypto’s trajectory and what efforts are underway to make the visions turn into reality.

What’s needed?

If cryptocurrencies are going to succeed, they’ll need to do so because they are a success in the free market. This requires offering the best product market-fit in a particular segment of the market. Usually, in the absence of a sanctioned monopoly, the best experience, price, or a cost/benefit sweet spot is what the market prefers.

Each market is different, and cryptocurrencies are already solving problems for a few resourceful and tech savvy folks in particularly oppressed parts of the world like Venezuela. Challenges such as volatility, liquidity, transaction costs, and lack of convenient user interfaces prevent them from becoming ubiquitous in more market segments. An aspiring freelancer in a developing country is more ready to jump through difficult hoops than someone in the first world with plenty of financial opportunity and access.

Crypto enthusiasts have long held beliefs that removing middlemen and counterparty risk from transactions will make them cheaper and faster. It can make previously impractical or impossible transactions possible for the first time. Micropayments as reward for content creators or marketplace access for sex workers and freelancers in oppressive countries are often cited as example areas that are ripe for disruption. As crypto takes over in relatively niche areas, we can expect the infrastructure to mature much more rapidly with wide use and become even more user friendly.

Developers (& their tool chains)

Today the internet’s impact is readily apparent. Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google have taken over massive swaths of people’s attention and wallets. Over the years…

Jordan Clifford

co-founder @scalarcapital, burner, #bitcoin enthusiast, previously growth eng @coinbase