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The crypto world must stop inviting ridicule

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The cryptocurrency world has its detractors, with JP Morgan chief executive Jamie Dimon and legendary investor Warren Buffett topping a long list. But sometimes it seems to be inviting ridicule.

Eidoo, a company that bills itself as a cryptocurrency wallet and exchange, commissioned a three-metre bronze sculpture of a pregnant woman with a baby in her womb holding a smartphone.

Located in London, its meant to show what the future of cryptocurrencies could be.

But, quite frankly, its ridiculous, and undermines what companies are actually trying to do with cryptocurrencies.

Before I go on, I want to make clear that my feelings are ambivalent towards cryptocurrencies. Like any new technology, I dont want to dismiss or overhype it; I want to see how it develops. And while bitcoin, for example, has a host of well-publicised problems, many still believe it has a future as a global currency and store of value.

But the industry really isnt helping its own reputation.

As part of its sculpture stunt, Eidoo also released a Pokemon Go-style game that allows users to walk around collecting real cryptocurrency. They are literally giving away money.

It is stunts like these that allow people to call out the crypto industry as a bubble or a fad and could hamper development in the sector.

For an outside observer, the statue and game highlight an immaturity among many of the firms in the space. And actually, Id be less inclined to trust a business giving money away. As a company, this could also put off investors.

The prices of many of these cryptocurrencies reached record highs and then plummeted. It was undoubtedly pure speculation.

Now, many startups in this space are trying to position themselves as blockchain companies to distance themselves from the cryptocurrency world. But the same absurdity abounds. Blockchain isnt a catch-all term – it is the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies.

But at a recent fintech conference I heard someone joke (or say seriously, it was hard to tell): “Lets just call it a blockchain anyway, well get funding.” That comment highlights how the term blockchain is being used by companies of all sizes, often in the wrong way.

Everywhere you look, whether it is about the cryptocurrencies themselves, or the blockchain technology that underpins them, there is hype. At some point, a bubble will burst and investors get burned.

Only a handful of these will remain as solid as Eidoos crazy bronze statue.

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