It ended pretty much the same way it started, with a tweet. Yesterday, Discord founder and CEO Jason Citron went to reassure users that the popular messaging platform will ultimately not integrate crypto. It comes after a period of public backlash, where users have threatened or shared screenshots of disabling their paid Nitro subscriptions, over the possibility of Discord looking into crypto.
Earlier this week, on Twitter, Citron appeared to suggest that someone at Discord was working on the Ethereum feature. A screenshot showed MetaMask and WalletConnect, a tool used by many mobile crypto wallets, among possible integrations alongside existing YouTube, Reddit and Facebook widgets.
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“Probably nothing,” said Citron, the tongue-in-cheek phrase used by crypto enthusiasts to say something is a big deal. Indeed, it would be something. People read in the comment that Discord may soon add useful native tools for non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAO). Already the chosen home for many Web 3 projects, it looked like Discord was joining the decentralized legion.
But not everyone was happy with this potential new direction – a move that would reflect changing consumer behavior and perhaps a shift in value in the gaming-centric business. It’s a helpful reminder that even as crypto rises, becoming the darling of venture capitalists and an important cultural and economic arena, there are still a significant number of people who just don’t like what the crypto is. industry represents.
Slacktivists responded to Citron’s tweet calling on others to drop the platform and cancel their paid subscriptions, one of the main sources of revenue for a company that has resisted advertising. Many claims regurgitated about Ethereum’s intense power consumption and noted how crypto scams have proliferated on the platform. Others have just noted how boring the “NFT Brothers” can be.
Discord listened. Citron said Wednesday night that the platform had “no current plan” to integrate crypto wallets into its app. Indeed, it was never a formal announcement, and the tooling was probably part of a hackathon.
“We are excited about the potential of Web 3 technology and the positive ways these communities come together on Discord, especially those organized around eco-friendly, creator-focused projects,” the company told TechCrunch. “However, we also recognize that there are some issues that we need to address. For now, our focus is on protecting users from spam, scams and fraud.
Web 3, the umbrella term for a blockchain-based internet alternative where users can own their data and have a stake in the tools they use, is a positive development. Apart from the legal challenges to the monopoly giants of the Internet, cryptography presents the best way to counter “surveillance capitalism”.
But for those who haven’t drunk the Kool-Aid, crypto appears to be hyper-capitalist, capitalism-plus. He prefers markets to the state to find solutions and protect ordinary people. It is a way for the already rich to earn almost insulting sums of money. It advances the “neoliberal turn” towards financialization, globalization and the commodification of everything.
Even though crypto promises a lot – in one sentence, “digital sovereignty” – it hasn’t accomplished much in its decade of existence. (Considering the $ 3 trillion market cap.) This was a point that was repeatedly raised last month, when supporters of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) took offense that the non-profit organization digital rights-driven company has taken a stand against over-regulation of crypto.
The EFF shared on Twitter an op-ed written by the heads of Fight For The Future and the Blockchain Association, two tech lobbying groups, who advocated for crypto users to “face” the “Existential threat” regulation. People were upset – again, mainly because of environmental concerns and widespread scams. Some have sworn never to support the EFF financially again.
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These are people who could potentially support crypto from a digital rights and privacy perspective. But like the angry Discord mob, they seem to have already made up their minds on the industry. In both cases, they are probably informed Internet users and do not reject cryptography out of hand.
There are legitimate reasons to be wary of crypto. Its current privacy issues (everything remains on a blockchain) and carbon footprint can be resolved. It will be harder to reconcile the capitalist goals of crypto – call it what you want, let’s say Bitcoin is for everyone, but money doesn’t lie – at a time when more people than ever are skeptical of the economic status quo. .
Is crypto subverting the system or playing it? Is the discord it creates an added value? At the moment, for most people, it is “probably nothing”.