It’s easy to get caught up in the chatter and concern that erupted in recent weeks around the collapse of TerraUSD stablecoin and then the latest round of losses that has set off job cuts and extreme market conditions throughout the broader crypto and [decentralized finance] DeFi ecosystems.
But for those who are hyper-focused on building protocols, tools, and services that will shape and expand Web 3 for the coming years and decades, that focus should readjust quickly — and I think it will. It probably already has.
It’s essential for builders to keep building.
At recent events like ETHAmsterdam and Permissionless, a deeper, more poignant conversation began to emerge, and it’s one we expect will continue to dominate discourse as we move through this bear market and into something more productive and stable: infrastructure scaling. In other words, how do we build enough infrastructure to onboard the accelerating crypto newbies and use cases? More people are entering crypto today even though we are experiencing bearish sentiments. Crypto as an industry is about more than market prices.
A global return to normal will generate more interest in DeFi and crypto
There are a few factors fuelling this rising demand [for] network capacity.
It’s getting easier to move around the world as COVID-19 pandemic restrictions ease, and for many in the industry, this year represents their first opportunity in three years to travel the world attending conferences like EthDenver, EthAmsterdam, and DevCon, set for this October in Bogota. EthDenver in February 2022 was one of the most widely attended conferences in the history of the ecosystem.
More recently, at ETHAmsterdam, the sponsors of the hackathon happened to be the winners of EP London in 2019, one of the last major events to take place before the pandemic took hold.
That means that upstart builders only three years ago are now in a position to sponsor the builders of today and tomorrow. That’s a symbol of major progress.
We’re seeing enormous growth in the number of people who are keen to explore these conferences, network, and apply for the many jobs that are available. The bear market will chase away some of the less secure activity in our industry, but true builders can thrive in times like these, and they need talented people with the right skills and attitudes.
As post-pandemic life gets closer to normal, we expect more hiring, more fortuitous meetings, and more people coming together. This is a good recipe for growth and development.
New chains, new opportunities, new challenges
Meanwhile, new chains are launching every day, with different and more complex design choices emerging such as roll-ups versus zero-knowledge technology. As these new and varied chains emerge and grasp attention, [they] provide exciting blank canvases for builders to take advantage of.
We’re going to be living in an L2 [layer-2] world, and we need to be ready to scale. This means that we’ll be facing more incentive mechanisms, more currencies, more oracles, more asset bridges, more of everything.
There is also a new challenge emerging as part of this growth: how to get teams to build from scratch with multi-chain support in mind.
Our current systems were never designed to exist and function in a multi-chain universe, and we are now searching for ways to transition to this new paradigm. New builders that have the advantage of designing multi-chains first face the problem of building tools and infrastructure that [are] beyond the capacity of what we currently have.
As Ethereum [ETH] gets closer to its well-documented and much-anticipated Merge, we get closer to having increased capacity, but the Merge and the rise of the L2-centric ecosystem heading our way represent the next wave of applications — and there are capacity questions that need to be answered.
Let’s face the most pressing questions
More building and more demand create a logjam, and composability is an important factor. How do we build systems that allow different systems to be interoperable and composable between each other in a multi-chain world?
That’s only the beginning. Here are a few important questions we should be tackling right now as an industry and a community of builders.
- How should the teams focused on building ensure they have enough runway to withstand a lengthy bear market?
- How do we solve the fact that we’re going to have to exist and function on multiple chains?
- How do we do that in a scalable way?
- How will liquidity fragment across-chain effectively?
- How should we build bridges that are safe and secure with which you can move assets and control messaging?
The answers to these questions are at the cutting edge of our industry and our work. Surely, many people are working on these solutions at this very moment. What’s important is that we keep scalability at the top of our priority list.
As the world opens up, the hunger and ability to build will be stronger than ever, bear market or not, and we must be ready to meet that demand with scalable solutions.