About the future of tech and crypto read in an interview with Alan Dubla, co-founder & CEO Waves World (Wavesworld.io) – Waves mining pool and crypto marketplace
Tell us more about your background
I started out in the telecoms industry, but have a pretty broad background in tech. I’ve been involved in early social networking systems like BBS, IRC, and so on, and have of course done plenty of programming!
I made the transition to open systems since I believe they can offer fundamental advantages over a closed model, depending on the application. I have played with my fair share of both centralised and decentralised protocols. As a business owner I have experience both of enterprise management and hands-on experience of the technologies we use.
What are your motivations in business?
It’s pretty simple: I think the tech we use has enormous power to help or harm people. There’s a saying, coined by History of Technology professor Melvin Kranzberg: ‘Technology is neither good, nor bad. Neither is it neutral.’ Humans are the ones who apply technology in systems and applications, and we can do so in a way that is helpful or harmful. My aim is to use technology to help people. Part of that is bridging the increasing gap between humans and the technology we use.
How did your career in technology begin?
I started in a long period of time when chronic knee problems kept me immobile. In college, nobody knew what I was talking about. When I was still young I worked on a helpdesk and offered various creative solutions to problems they had (including an upside-down keyboard – long story!). I ended up working as a ‘Tape Ape’ at a large mainframe data center, and ultimately moved up the ranks to become a Systems Engineer.
What are your predictions for the future of tech?
I have plenty of thoughts! I suspect we’re going to see an oscillation between centralized and decentralized platforms. I think this is going to be driven by various factors, but one of the key social ones is going to be increasing inequality and the divide between have and have-nots. There will be a growing Cypherpunk movement that realizes it is locked out of mainstream opportunities. That will be powered by more sophisticated and intrusive surveillance, combined with social scoring systems – we’re already seeing that in places like China. Separately, tech wearables and implants will become more popular and more functional. AI will also continue on its path to general intelligence and self-awareness.
When did you first discover cryptocurrency? How did you discover it? And when did you first buy it?
I became aware of it in the first half of 2009, after someone asked me if I was into Bitcoin. But, like many others, it took me a while longer to take the plunge. I didn’t make my first purchase until 2016, when I also first tried out mining.
What were your main motivations in launching Waves World?
We wanted to connect crypto with the real world. So as well as tapping into the Waves and wider crypto community, we wanted to make it possible to buy physical goods and services, which you can do on our our marketplace (http://Wavesworld.io/marketplace). There are lots of strands to Waves World, which we’ve built very intentionally: the more value you can offer, the more ways there are of earning and spending tokens, the better and more active your token economy becomes.
So in practice, we enable people buy Waves World products and various services with crypto, but we extend that to the whole ecommerce world by offering Amazon gift cards too. If you’re a crypto person, rather than just looking for a gateway to fiat of one form or another, we pay loyalty rewards for leasing WAVES to our mining pool, as well as participating in our tipbot campaigns. We carry out daily airdrops to our Top 100 Millionaires Club, and you can also use WW to pay for regular txs on the Waves blockchain (10 WW per tx).
What products or services – based on blockchain technology – will be most in demand in the years ahead?
Currency and store of value – digital gold – isn’t going away. Bitcoin will remain important for this reason. I’ve very encouraged by the rapid growth of the Lightning Network, too, which enables BTC to be used for microtransactions and small purchases once again.
More widely, gaming is likely to be a big use case for blockchain. I also really like ecosystems like Brave/BAT, which is building a huge userbase and just starting to get going. It solves a real need on the internet, fixing a broken model for publishers, and the software is excellent – we need more like this.
BTC and cryptos have been in a big downtrend for over a year, what do you feel 2019 has in store?
Well, it’s fair to say that the bear market has been tough, but we’re obviously reaching the end. Prices are 80% lower than they were at the peak. These things are never straightforward – it’s always two steps forward, one step back. But yes, that market cycle should complete this year, we’ll likely see a period of consolidation, and then ultimately we’ll see prices rise again. For what it’s worth, I’m not sure we’re done heading down yet, although I’ve seen lots of people calling the bottom.
What’s your overall impression of the market in general? And give us some price predictions please!
We’re seeing a lot of mixed sentiment on Crypto Twitter and in the wider crypto press. Things are very uncertain, which is reflected in the sudden swings of emotion as bitcoin heads back above $7k or back below it. I think that’s very characteristic of a market that’s at this point in the cycle – much nearer the end of the cycle than it is to the beginning, but we still don’t know for sure whether we’ve seen the bottom or not.
Long term, of course, it’s different. By the end of this year the bear market should have been resolved, and we’ll be building the foundations for the next cycle – if not well into it. I don’t like to make price predictions, because markets are inherently uncertain and there are so many factors in play. But it wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest to see bitcoin at $100,000 in the next 3-5 years. All the pieces are there for that to happen, economically and geopolitically. But this is personal opinion and not financial advice!