I think this may be helpful to summarize a non-technical progress report from the perspective of someone not intimately involved. This write-up could be a good gauge for the core contributors to know how someone is seeing things from the outside, and I think this is the best place to post this. Further, I also see a need to highlight progress that is hidden in plain sight, a difference from naïve positivism in that outside of this forum, you will be bombarded with negative criticism from anyone marginally affected by the past few months. The incentives to be openly constructive are clearly negative on Telegram/Discord/Twitter, but I wanted to have some record for anyone looking for progress, as the downsides (real or fabricated) are well within view.
Telegram/Twitter/Discord are wildly unproductive and are flooded with messages from about five (5) very active and negatively motivated users. The motivation isn’t truth seeking or question-answering, but rather resentment and anger. Time spent here is a net negative.
Analytics data and the Bancor Simulator are being grossly undervalued. The simulator is quietly the game changer, even if just for the massive efficiency potential. Additionally, Github is being updated every day. The devs have been working non-stop.
New users entering the system. Since Crown, Arbol and others took the first step, it allows cover-fire for others to reenter the protocol. Just like those first couple of brave people hitting the dance floor alone, then suddenly the activation energy for everyone else goes down and they come out too.
This situation is clearly not unique to Bancor. Its important to note our relative position in all of this, and how losses in our sense are unrealized unless voluntarily taken, while virtually all other cases are pure losses (hacks, seizures etc.)
Addendum; The largest risk today is burnout.
To start, it seems clear to me that the Telegram and Discord channels have become wildly unproductive. It’s a case study in positive reinforcement, i.e. the small number of repeat users all nod along with each other in base resentment for the situation and are slowly floating out to sea. To be fair, I’ve been guilty of both positive and negative reinforcement in groups like that in the past, and it ultimately blinds your judgement.
It seems to me that less than 5% of the posts on there are true questions, while the rest are a product of the remaining users (I believe) continually wanting a pound of flesh from the developers and anyone involved. I’ll check in every so often for announcements but noted yesterday that it is now populated by about five users that are on there all day. I mean all day. Its not useful to engage and I’m sorry for @Here2DeFi and others who have to interact with those users who are clearly acting in bad faith.
So what’s my point? I would argue that time and effort spent there for any core developers and contributors is a complete waste of time and mental space. The core group in those boards are there to fight and agree with each other how terrible things are. Its also very important to note that the total size is smaller than the overall supporters, as the incentives to be positive about Bancor is clearly outweighed by the hassle of these users, whether on there or Twitter, so we remain quiet. I wanted to highlight that for anyone feeling beaten down, I think ultimately the crowd is rooting for you.
Next, both the analytics and the simulator are being grossly underestimated. I include myself in that camp for a while, as it was an area I wasn’t competent in, but its been hitting me harder in the past couple of days. Listening to the call on Sunday, it sounded like this was already very clear to Mark and co., but it took me a little while longer to compartmentalize the significance of this work. This ultimately will have a multiplier effect on any effort put into shaping and growing the Bancor system, as we can pre-test any ideas. Like @mbr noted in the call, by taking a few steps in one direction, it revealed new options for another. This mechanism allows us to test new ideas at virtually zero cost, so that for each calorie of effort taken, the relative waste is eliminated. Dude, this is pure efficiency, and a true game changer.
Along those lines, the devs on Github have been working every single day. I’ve had to learn how to read things, but I’ve gotten the hang of it and its clearly non-stop there. So just wanted to say all that hard work doesn’t go unnoticed!
Next, new projects and aggregators. It was great to see projects like Arbol and Crown express clear support for Bancor by wanting to use the service. I sense that this could be a gradually then suddenly type event, where potentially a larger group of smaller projects were waiting for that first one to take the leap. You may have noticed the shit they caught on Twitter (back to my initial point) but it passed and now I think the path is open for others to come through. It provides cover-fire for others to safely cross into the system, and like @ZenoBNT and @glenn have noted several times, there is a demand from these long tail assets (Thanks to Zeno for putting that book on my radar). Additionally, what caught my attention most in the call on Sunday was Mark saying to not underestimate the effect of third-party integrations. Its in combination with these plus other revenue generation ideas (like the token launching program) that help me see a clear pathway to recovery and ultimately a thriving protocol.
Final point, zooming out it seems that there are several bad things hitting crypto at once, from recent hacks, seizures etc. Those are true loss scenarios. This, fortunately, is not the case. In very simple terms, we had a blow-up of a large user of the protocol that mangled the system, but the total losses are on paper rather than immediately realized, unless voluntarily done so.
With all that said, I think the difference for most users comes down to time preference. Meaning, if your time preference is short, these recent few weeks have been painful and look bleak. If your time preference is longer, you can mentally place the pieces above and see a pathway to recovery that will take some time. Deficits will fluctuate, but the larger risks have been mitigated in my mind. Can tokens “moon” and things look worse? Sure. Its also likely that the components above come together and work out well. I would suggest to not discount so heavily a pathway to success, its easy to do that when everything around you market-wide looks so bad.
One quick note I forgot to add: The largest risk today and in the foreseeable future is burnout. From the core contributors and developers, there’s no doubt this has been an extraordinarily stressful and hectic time, and the pressure is beyond what I very likely have ever experienced. So from a personal standpoint, take time to take care of yourselves. There is always time for being healthy and well.