Ever since the first cryptonetwork, Bitcoin, was created, investors have had the opportunity to earn returns by engaging in the network. In Bitcoin’s case, that was done by mining the network, effectively powering it.
As the sector has grown, investors have largely turned their attention to buying and holding cryptoassets, and not that many of us are actively engaging in them.
But that is likely going to change for several reasons.
First, in proof of stake networks, asset holders will want to stake their tokens and earn the rewards of doing that, or risk being diluted/inflated. Conversely, those who do stake will earn rewards that will feel a bit like collecting interest or dividends on a bond or stock.
This technique of turning an idle asset into an incoming producing asset by engaging in the network is part of the design of many cryptonetworks and investors are going to increasingly want to do these things (staking, validating, governing, etc) to earn the rewards of that engagement.
There is another aspect to this, outlined by Tushar Jain of Multicoin earlier this week on their blog.
Tushar points out that asset holders can act with their capital to help bootstrap the network by providing storage on the Filecoin network or transcoding on the LivePeer network or creating DAIs on the Maker network.
The good news for investors is that there are a whole bunch of entrepreneurs setting up shop right now to help us do these things without each and every one of us becoming super technical about the ins and outs of each of these cryptonetworks. We will see (and are seeing) staking as a service, nodes as a service, and the like. These third parties will be like the proxy companies are in the stock markets.
I expect the custodians, like our portfolio company Coinbase, to offer many of these services, either as the provider themselves or the gateway to the third party provider, thereby making it even easier for us to engage in these networks.
It’s an exciting time to be a cryptoinvestor. A host of new cryptonetworks are starting to go live. The next 18 months will see many dreams come to fruition and with those dreams will come demands on the investors to engage instead of just hold. I am looking forward to doing that.