Jeremy Epstein, crypto industry expert, on the future of crypto

It’s no secret that the crypto industry has had a bad couple of years. Prices of Bitcoin and Ethereum plunged steeply in 2022, followed by the spectacular flame-out of cryptocurrency exchange FTX. Today, regulators in the EU and the U.S. are scrutinizing crypto platforms, token issuers, and traders with renewed fervor, chilling enthusiasm for investments in the crypto industry.

Given this environment, marketing crypto has major challenges, and so I wanted to catch up with crypto industry expert Jeremy Epstein to get his POV on what’s ahead for the crypto industry and how its marketing might change in the future. As he notes, “the crypto industry has not done itself a great service in communicating what the values are. Too often we talk about things like decentralization and removal of intermediaries and automation of smart contracts. Those are all fantastic things but — you talked about cause marketing — really, behind crypto, is the idea that there’s a cause here, and this cause is that of self-sovereignty, of self-reliance, of liberty, of freedom, of all these sorts of eternal American/Western values that people really, really care about.”

Crypto and blockchain technology undergirds a wide range of functionality beyond currency, including experiential NFTs, smart contracts, DAOs (Digital Autonomous Organizations), and, potentially, digital royalties, and Jeremy and I discuss where the opportunities for these non-currency-related products might fare in the future. He notes that “in order for a decentralized network using blockchain to really function, there has to be a crypto economic mechanism behind it that can only use crypto tokens or crypto currency to pay for security, to pay for transaction fees, to guarantee that a smart contract can be executed. That can’t happen absent a cryptocurrency, essentially, because you need to pay the actors to ensure that the network maintains its integrity.” Unfortunately, right now such an infrastructure does not yet exist.

Jeremy and I discuss the intersection of the advertising and marketing ecosystem with privacy and the role that projects like the Brave browser will play. “I happen to think that the Brave model of paying people for their attention is ultimately going to win… if you can be compensated for your attention, and that attention can be turned into something of value for you, more and more people will do it, and then advertising will have to figure out how to build truly, good old Seth Godin permission-based relationships with people.”

We delve into DAOs and whether these decentralized governance structures might become more prevalent in the future. Then we close with a discussion of technological trends that Jeremy is excited about for 2023 and beyond.