With the global crypto market exploding to a capitalization of over half a trillion USD, the space has seen a surge in new teams, projects, and ambitions for the future. Recent graduates and established PhDs alike are joining the sphere every day in the hopes of contributing to a greater goal amid the growing adoption of cryptocurrency.
Despite the fact that unicorn companies (startups valued at over US$1 billion) are emerging in the cryptocurrency ecosystem very frequently, the manner in which these projects and startups are administered has remained largely unchanged. While cryptocurrency is becoming more and more mainstream, major proponents of its growth and development do not reflect the gravity of their work through an unwavering sense of professionalism.
A lack of professionalism is not an isolated issue – it can be observed in the hordes of anonymous development teams, the personal opinions paraded on executives’ Twitter feeds, and individuals at all levels perpetuating radical and uninviting sentiments held by a majority of the early cryptocurrency community.
The well-known instances of blatant unprofessionalism include Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin tweeting in favor of legalizing possession of child pornography, as well as Bitcoin Cash CEO Roger Ver shouting and quitting an interview in response to the mention of “BCash”.
In some instances, amateur behavior is actually rewarded. Viacoin (VIA), which boasts a market cap of over US$95 million, can attribute much of its value to the cult following of the coin, and more specifically, its head developer, Romano. Romano is very active on Twitter, and his tweets primarily consist of self loathing, complaints regarding the price of Viacoin, procrastination of code work, and a sleuth of ignorant, borderline misogynistic statements about women. Of course, his activity also includes interaction with other accounts, largely trolling and insulting critics.
You fucking never win.
Insult women: get shit.
Saying pornstar lives don't matter: get shit.
Shil your coin to a pornstar: get shit.
But hey I'm not the one working at a gass station hoping to have financial freedom one day.
— [ Romano ] (@RNR_0) January 23, 2018
Regardless, Viacoin has grown to a valuation of just under nine figures. Romano has over 35,000 followers on Twitter and is one of the most celebrated personalities on 4Chan’s /biz/ board. While this behavior may not be acceptable in any traditional market, in crypto it seems to be a viable strategy.
However, there do exist coins that have achieved massive valuations largely due to the professionalism of their teams. Ripple (XRP), valued at over US$50 billion, has achieved a monumental price that can be attributed to the ever-expanding list of partners – forged through professional, conventional methods – that make up Ripple’s network.
Cardano (ADA) is another huge coin with a market cap north of US$15 billion. Cardano does not yet offer a product; its value is derived from the major potential of its team, which is comprised of over 100 computer science heavyweights and industry veterans. Investors are speculating that ADA has an impressive future in store, and this bullish outlook is thanks entirely to the professional nature of the individuals behind the coin.
At the end of the day, different teams operate under different protocols in order to be successful. However, as the cryptocurrency market seeks to expand to institutional investors and the general population, a change in culture will be necessary to gain the trust of those entities.