Alison P. Davis, a cultural critic, published an article in The Cut last month titled “A Vibe shift is coming.” Will We Survive It? The “vibeshift” Davis was referring too had nothing to do crypto. Her reference was to a sea shift in pop culture and social trends, especially in light of GenZ’s continued rise into cultural relevance and trendsetting. Her positioning was interesting because it accurately reflected something I have felt, especially in relation to crypto. Even though it’s not tangible, the paradigm shift towards the next cultural moment is evident. It’s there, even though we can’t see it. Although the concrete conditions aren’t changing, the vibe is.
Vibe shift was a popular term on Twitter in the days that followed its publication. Despite the absurdity of the term, it captures something very real and similar in crypto. It may sound absurd, but there is a shift in the vibe of crypto.
The term “vibeshift” is a good one. It’s about a feeling, mood, tone, or vibe. In crypto’s short history, vibe shifts have been accompanied by technological changes. The initial wild west-like optimism that characterized crypto’s early days was triggered by Bitcoin’s (BTC’s) transformation from a peer to peer (P2P), payment solution to a store-of-value. This excitement grew exponentially with the introduction Ethereum, which showed the potential of smart contract technology. As decentralized finance (DeFi), which relies on legitimate level-two networks, grew, this half-manic optimism became more serious and businesslike. Artists and musicians were able to join the Decentralized Finance (DeFi) network through the development of nonfungible tokens.
Related: In defense crypto: Why digital currencies merit a better reputation
This isn’t a good thing or a bad thing. It’s simply a fact. Technology determines the language in DeFi and Crypto, which means it also dictates culture. You could not argue that “this is not the case” until the technology reached a certain level and was recognized by the public. This is exactly what happened with DeFi and crypto. A crypto “vibeshift” is an entirely new concept and is happening in an especially interesting way.
The way we talk about crypto is changing. But not because of the technology. People speak as though they are more involved in the crypto game than just because they have invested their own capital. People are becoming more aware of crypto’s place in the larger world and not just how they can profit from mainstream adoption.
From profit to politics
Dare I suggest we have become political? It was first evident in the Canadian truckers’ protest against mandatory vaccines. This issue sparked interest in crypto and there was no disagreement or agreement with the convoy’s goals. The truckers were faced with a government freeze on traditional assets and the inability to use standard fundraising platforms such as GoFundMe. They turned to Bitcoin and raised $900,000.00 in just a few days. The Canadian government attempted to lock crypto assets that were associated with the convoy but only partially succeeded. The crypto community responded to an injunction by the Ontario Superior Court Judge freezing crypto assets worth millions of dollars to the convoy. Multisignature wallet Nunchuck was forced to publicly respond that they could not provide the subpoenaed data, politics aside: “We’re a software provider, and not a custodial financial intermediary,” and that they have no way to seize its users’ assets.
The crackdown caused some tension among the space, despite the fact that truckers were not in the best political position. This idea that the federal government could seize crypto assets on court orders and grounds connected at least partially to ideology is a reality has been rewritten. It goes against everything this community stands for. This feeling was only reinforced by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Related: Bitcoin at the Barricades: Ottawa and Ukraine, as well as other countries
The cryptonomics and war
During the Russian invasion, there were some interesting events. The Ukrainian government asked for Bitcoin donations early, which inevitably led to scammers trying clone the account to their benefit. They then requested that crypto exchanges freeze Russian accounts. It was a game changer that made crypto a reliable and safe place to store value for a war-torn country. We will feel the benefits for many years. Many exchanges rejected the offer, saying that it would unfairly punish ordinary Russian citizens for their leaders’ actions. Although some of the most prominent names in the space appeared to be on the side for neutrality, there were qualifications. Vitalik Buterin made a few vague comments about crypto’s neutrality.
Reminder: Ethereum may be neutral, but I am not.
— Vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin), February 24, 2022
Beyond that, the European land war has made it clear that many people aren’t interested in NFT drops anymore. There is more important stuff to discuss. It’s actually something crypto is talking about. This is the vibe shift and it’s not occurring in response to technology. It is happening as a response to the real world and changing the contours for the crypto one. It is triggering a moral reckoning which cuts to the core of crypto’s purpose and for whom it is intended to serve. It’s all about the cost of neutrality and exactly what neutrality is.
Related: Every Bitcoin helps: A crypto-fueled aid program for Ukraine
Crypto has now penetrated the real-world, and the real-world is also embracing crypto. The myopic and divorced-from-reality perspective our detractors accuse us of is wearing off. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to predict the future, especially when we are suddenly involved in huge geopolitical stakes. Because the rules of engagement changed, the conversation has changed. Crypto is all fun until somebody starts a war. A convoy, or, for that matter.
Is it the end of history, or is it the future or cryptography?
Although I am confident in the future, DeFi and crypto are going to have a difficult future. Unexpected reckonings like the one in Ukraine and the Canadian trucker convoy have led to some difficult and sometimes unsavory conclusions. As with most people involved in this space I believe that crypto’s hard- and soft-power is largely due to its bankless, decentralized status. It is now free from traditional global finance mechanisms. These things are not always so easy.
A vibe shift means that the future is not yet clear. We are just beginning to see the potential of crypto and the huge implications of a legal, censorship-resistant financial system. It is unclear what this means for the future, and where we will go from here. We have more at stake than the New York City cultural inhabitants to whom the term was first applied. In the context of culture wars and geopolitical conflict, self-sovereign funds that are not under traditional finance’s control are untested. Everything will change regardless of what happens next.
This article is not intended to provide investment advice. Every trade and investment involves risk. Readers should do their research before making any decision.
These views, thoughts, and opinions are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Cointelegraph.
Dominik Schiener, co-founder of Iota Foundation (a non-profit foundation based in Berlin), is also a cofounder. He is responsible for coordinating partnerships and the realization of the vision. Iota, a distributed ledger technology that is used in the Internet of Things, is also a cryptocurrency. He also won the largest blockchain hackathon held in Shanghai. He has been focusing on Iota to enable the machine economy for the past two year.
Eileen Wilson –Technology and Energy
My Name is Eileen Wilson with more than 5 years of experience in the Stock market industry, I am energetic about Technology news, started my career as an author then, later climbing my way up towards success into senior positions. I can consider myself as the backbone behind the success and growth of topmagazinewire.com with a dream to expand the reach out of the industry on a global scale. I am also a contributor and an editor of the Technology and Energy category. I experienced a critical analysis of companies and extracted the most noteworthy information for our vibrant investor network.