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Testing, testing.. is this thing on?

Until now, I have been mostly sharing my thoughts in tweets (or Xts or however we call them these days). I am a fan of short form and condensing key thoughts into short texts but sometimes longer form has its benefits as well. It allows to expound on certain topics in a bit more depth and to add nuance here or there that may sometimes be lacking on the other platform. I haven't quite decided what I will use chainlobby for, but I think it will be a good forum to do so in the weeks and months ahead. While I'm not sure how long I will be around on the socials while impersonating a Whale, I've made it this far through the bear market and have decided I want to give it my all for at least one more bull season. Chainlobby will be one of my outlets.

So for this first article, I thought to write up a REALLY brief realistic high level assessment of where we stand with Cardano today, in my opinion. First, there are three key parts to my thinking around the ecosystem and I guess crypto in general today:

1 - We draw too many imaginary lines. I too am guilty of screaming about our recently rising TVL simply because I know I won't singlehandedly be able to change or shape narratives around it, but really Cardano's Ouroboros has been one of crypto's largest DeFi apps (currently at $6.5bn) and is both truly decentralised and financial, and not including it in those overviews is pure subjectivity based on Ethereum world standards. So in a sense our recently hyped up growth in DeFi is really changing coins from one pocket to another. Which is fine, just something to be aware of. Make sure to separate the state of Cardano (organic fast growth) from all the stuff we have to scream and hype to stay relevant in the social arena. Nothing is different before or after the dramatic TVL rise.

2- We created decentralised digital money. Anyone who is in crypto with their eyes solely on the tech as something that creates the value (you know the types, they'll tweet that chain X has 10x higher TPS so how can it have 10x lower market cap than Y?) is mistaken. Like Bitcoin and Ethereum, Cardano has created good money in ADA as it is stable, secure, decentralised, has sound monetary policy and is relatively widely adopted. There are technical hurdles in for instance the area of scaling, and while that can inhibit future growth, it's not something that will necessarily be reflected in price today. While ecosystems that haven't produced money (Avax, Solana, Polkadot and all the others that lack deep adoption), will struggle to stay afloat unless they create constant hype or change supply level dynamics, this backstops ADA.

3- Cardano is up against Bitcoin and Ethereum as the third major crypto economy. If your ecosystem trades mostly ERC20 or alike tokens, you're part of the Ethereum economy and ETH is your money. To me ETH, BNB, TRX, SOL, AVAX, DOT etc are all part of this. That's one single comeptitor, baby. And it is what we are up against. We can't simply tap into it for growth, we're all on our own.

So with that out of the way, really briefly where do I see Cardano today?

1- Crypto markets move in cycles and Cardano has held its own. Cardano is a $10bn ecosystem at what is presumably the depth of the bear market. That's a 12x from the previous bear market bottom and until this pattern ever breaks, we remain on the path of exponential growth.

2- Usage has been steadily rising. Transactions (which are notoriously efficient and thus understated on Cardano, oh how dare we build something efficiently instead of bloating it like all the other protocols?) are steadily in the 60k-100k range throughout the bear market.

3- Utility is fast increasing. 2 years ago around this time we had nothing. We now have 5+ DEXes, lending, synthetics, stable coins, wrapped assets. We also have one of the best and most versatile NFT markets in crypto, digital identity platforms and so on. Soon we will have premier trading protocols in the form of Axo and Genius that likely could never be launched elsewhere in crypto.

4- Scaling remains tricky. There is space for parameter hikes and I'm sure we will get to that point again, but only after people inevitably run up against capacity limits. Parameters, sidechains, Hydra incorporation in dapps will surely help but won't really solve. We will certainly run into capacity issues in the bull market but in many ways that's a good problem to have. The flipside of scaling too fast is ledger bloat which we also want to avoid to protect decentralisation. Input endorsers won't be a bull market 2024-25 theme.

5- Governance is going to make a shit ton of noise. Cardano already wins on the socials because it effectively pays SPOs to decentralise and evangelise. Imagine this ^2 as dReps etc. join the discussion.

6- Cardano will remain awkward commercially speaking. We are still in the phase where well connected American VCs and their crypto cronies have the illusion that they are going to buy and steamroll the crypto space. Until this ends I see Cardano effectively as one of those football/soccer teams that generates all the talent (BOOK.io, World Mobile etc) which then gets bought up by less innovative teams. We may not have the money, but we have the innovation.

7- Grown-ups in the room will start to see Cardano's value prop. Just like for instance Linux until the early 2000s, Cardano or any of the founding entitities aren't the names you want to sign any sort of cool partnership with. But if you're building a product and are truly chain agnostic, you will care about its properties like being secure and stable. This will start with a trickle but an increasing number of firms will start looking at it like this. From here, Cardano's reputation will grow.

8- We may see hype around Cardano like never before. There are some die-hard entities in crypto that will never care for or look at Cardano. But the soft middle ground has warmed up to it. Additionally, the breakdown of the Solunavax complex and general sense of derision towards new VC coins like Aptos, Sui or even ones from last bull market like NEAR, mean there will now be more people receptive to an organically growing coin like Cardano. I don't think "they're fudding so they can buy cheap" is actually a meme like it usually is, this time.

I never talk about price on X/twitter but I'd say we're probably looking at a $100bn-200bn Cardano next bull market.