I've been asked whether crypto is dead many times over the years. More recently, people have become jaded and skeptical, following the failures of a number of scams and also the failures of some of the more wild-eyed promises of marketers.

The disillusionment isn't from the failure of technology but from the failure of marketing. Too many people fall victim to the lies of marketing people who want to part them with their dollars. Over the years I've seen many scams and one of their most common features is failing to show the code. How does it work? What does it do? What can you prove it does?

On the business side, people need to ask if there really is a business. Does it exist now? When will it exist? What will it do? Anyone can promise something will happen but what's the proof? This can be a tricky issue because some legitimate businesses have little to show for their efforts until launch, and especially so when new technology is involved. But the ratio of truly technologist-led blockchain-related projects to everything else has been too low. Too many people have chased the next Bitcoin or Ethereum and not looked at who's behind it and what are they doing. Ethereum had a great team with some excellent programmers. The proof of that is Gavin Wood going on to found Polkadot (and other ventures), along with Joseph Lubin's Consensys business (to pick two people out of many).

Cryptocurrency has been amazingly successful. A few years ago I was in Tokyo and saw so many stores in Hirajuku with signs showing that they accept ether as a means of payment. In season 3 of Futureman there's a joke about Ethereum being the currency far in the future. Bitcoin, Etheruem, and various other blockchains have mainstream awareness. Even more than awareness, there's millions of users and billions of dollars trading hands around the world. This is a big enough success on its own, but payments is just one part of the blockchain landscape in 2023.

Blockchains aren't a magic solution for every problem - they're not even a good solution to most tech problems! You're reading this website hosted on Cloudfront/S3 and not through some sort of decentralized hosting system. But the successes are big and the failures of hucksters shouldn't influence anyone's view of the reality of blockchain technology. It's gone from interesting experiment to hundreds of billions in value over the course of a decade. Digital systems can now send and receive payments entirely within the digital realm, without having to rely on banks or systems that can reject/approve transactions. That's enough on its own! This is what success looks like.