In an interview with Cointelegraph, Alex Mashinsky, the founder of & # 39; the decentralized finance app Celsius Network, took aim at & # 39; e Crypto community to be fixed on short-term profits and unable to drive mass adoption. Mashinsky urges the community to capitalize on & # 39; the opportunity to redefine money and finances amid & # 39; e deepening global economic crisis.
Mashinsky unleashed Bitcoin in 2010
Celsius is Mashinsky's eighth company, with its prior seven ventures including two unicorn start-ups that combined to exceed $ 1 billion. He holds patents for Voice over Internet Protocol of 1994, and founded a global commodity exchange in 1996. Mashinsky explained that one of his employees showed him the bitcoin white paper in 2010, noting that he laughed and thought about it, this will never happen.
“I mean, this is the slowest database ever created. It's so inefficient and needs so much electricity – it's this crazy idea. "
He added that his entire career was about finding better, cheaper and faster solutions, and "here's a slower, more expensive, and more effective turnaround, so it didn't appeal to me at all." But one moment in particular struck a chord with Mashinsky:
“No Mt. Gox collapsed, saw the power of this community – imagine if Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange disappeared overnight and everyone just kept going when nothing happened. That's what happened in the crypto community, in principle, from 2013 to 2014. I realized I had to miss something very big and fully evaluate my position on crypto assets and decentralization. "
Motivations that support the founding of Celsius
Despite his skills, Mashinsky characterized the crypto space as little more than "a niche playground for geeks and developers."
Alex Mashinsky: We need to create something that will bring more usefulness and create less volatility, otherwise hundreds of millions of people simply won't participate. There are a bunch of us who believe this is a replacement for doomsday. There are a bunch of us who believe this is the technical future and a bunch of us who think that decentralization will take over the world. But there is not enough of these people. How do you bring the average Joe into who just hates their bank or doesn't trust their government?
And we realized that interest income is disappearing from our planet. It is an extinct feature of the banking system. If we could just pay that back and earn people a real return, we would have billions of customers, and 7 billion people would need interest.
The stars have tuned for Bitcoin
When asked if the current climate of monetary crisis mitigation provides a unique opportunity for crypto to reach widespread acceptance, Mashinsky stated that there has been no previous time when the stars have been so well tuned for Bitcoin.
BIN: You have printed more money in the Federal Reserve in two weeks than in more than 100 years. It is as if the whole world has a gigantic flood, and at the same time it is like a magnitude 10 earthquake – that is the equivalent of what is happening. And on top of that, we have a global pandemic of a virus that has not existed on this planet for 4 1/2 billion years. What else can you ask for? If Bitcoin doesn't shine, then what is it good for?
And now the question is, what are we [the crypto community] doing right now? It's like Churchill said, most of us fight for a chance and run away. Here's the chance. It looks us in the face.
And what does the community do? Now, we are fighting with each other over regulation and technology – all kinds of other problems instead of coming together and convincing everyone in the world that this is the solution, this is the replacement for all this fiat currency & # 39; that's just eating away at our savings.
Criticizing crypto adoption
When asked about the crypto community's attempt to drive mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies, Mashinsky stated, "If I had to review the community, I would give us a C-minus for adoption . "
BIN: We made great technology, we run it internally, but we didn't give the masses what they needed to get on board. We have not solved their problem – we have solved our problem.
We are afraid of destruction. That, great – we created Bitcoin. We want a form of payment, so we created Tether. We want a smart contract so we can geek out. Amazingly, we've made all these DeFi projects – they don't apply to 99% of the population. They couldn't care less.
What are noncorrelated possessions? How do I buy them? How do I store or hold them? How do I make revenue? These are things that don't apply to 100% of the population, so no one will earn interest for the next 30 years, or even 50 years.
Crypto companies need to innovate
When asked what advice he would give developers and entrepreneurs trying to enter the crypto sector, Mashinsky said people should innovate instead of borrowing.
BIN: The most important thing I think most people miss when they get to crypto is if they know they've worked in something on Wall Street or something on Main Street and they say, & # 39; Oh, my goos. If I just take this and transfer it to the blockchain, it will be the next big thing. All I have to do is take the best idea of how & # 39; Wall Street steals people's money and provides it to the & # 39; blockchain, and I will become a billionaire. & # 39;
The main problem is that this is all about innovation. It is about inventing new business models that have never existed, because the blockchain is slower and more expensive and more cumbersome than any database, rather than any central system.
Your phone runs a thousand times faster than any blockchain. Your phone can beat any blockchain in the world, no matter what you choose. So, it's not about speed. It's about consensus. It's about open ledger. It is about delivering something that cannot be achieved in any other way. And I don't see that kind of thinking.
If you look at most of & # 39; companies, even the successful ones like Coinbase and Binance, they are just copies of Wall Street – they are all toll collectors that put their customers, and they increase high fees.
And the exchanges now offer a strike, and everyone is excited to say, "Oh, my God! I don't need a node, I can just give it to Coinbase." Now, read the small print: They pay you 25% off & # 39; strike costs. That's smarter than Wall Street.
Take over the most powerful empire
For Mashinsky, the ultimate goal of the & # 39; crypto community should be to "create a new economic system."
BIN: You want to replace the US dollar. The largest empire ever made is the US dollar. You want to take that thing off, and you will steal from all your customers? You will never win.
In VoIP, the company that won after 40 years was WhatsApp – that never charged any of its customers any fees. It has 2 billion customers and none of its customers have paid anything to WhatsApp yet. And we do the opposite of that.
Our community is not focused on growing, adopting or winning, it's focused on & # 39; the short term – it's focused on "how do I get the most value out of all these people, because who knows, maybe the whole thing will disappear . " They are all short-term thinkers.
The opportunity of Bitcoin
Ultimately, Mashinsky claims that Bitcoin "provides the opportunity to bring the future, the replacement capitalist system we have."
BIN: The opportunity is so clear, and yet we fumble and run away instead of delivering. I am part of "the 1%" in the United States, and I can tell you that the American capitalist system is failing. It does not provide for 99% of Americans.
The funniest thing is when the economy gets into trouble, we turn from the best capitalist system to the worst socialist system. We just put a blanket under the high economy and bail out the good companies and bad companies with $ 10 trillion money we borrowed from the future.
We need to take this centralized system, where & # 39; t a tenth of 1% of & # 39; s population – 33 families – controls the entire planet, and replace it with something decentralized where & # 39; the people who & # 39; t value creation are the ones who also benefit, not the people who know how to allocate your capital or manage capital or access capital, because this is not how society works today.
If you are Warren Buffet, you can just move things and allocate capital – you are this famous celebrity. No one cares if you are an inventor or if you are a doctor in a hospital that saves thousands of lives – no one cares for you. Warren Buffet, he's our hero.
This interview was edited and shortened for clarity.