Known for co-founding Uber, StumbleUpon, and also founding the venture fund Expa, Garrett Camp is now trying his hand at cryptocurrency – but perhaps he should stick to what he already does well.
Announced on March 1, Camp has launched “ECO” coin, a digital global currency that can be used as a payment tool for everyday transactions and “one day will become a cryptocurrency.” Currently, the ECO coin is subsidized by various funds in the Netherlands.
According to their website, the problem the company wants to solve is the apparent lack of balance in our economy and ecology.
As businesses are forced to grow and make profit, our environment has come under increasing threat. The forest only starts to have value within our economic system when it is cut down and turned into a raw material. No one pays for the incredible services of the environment: it provides medicines, food, habitats and trees that filter the air to let us breathe. It is seen as a business externality. Free to use. There are bureaucratic ideas to value the forest but they have faults. Some want to put a price tag on the environment turning it into a commodity, and carbon trading moves the problem elsewhere. Currently, there is no positive economic incentive to grow the forest.
Camp’s company believes that ECO coins are a solution to these problems because using blockchain technology makes currency “scalable, decentralized, and as fair as possible,” so that environmental action, like eating a vegan diet, can be rewarded and valued.
Some Twitter users are excited about how user-friendly and stable ECO claims to be:
Eco, a new digital currency that is energy efficient AND simple to use. Right idea. https://t.co/hyQWhkG2LW
— Erick Schonfeld (@erickschonfeld) March 3, 2018
Universities played a unique role in the early days of internet for a whole suite of reasons. Looks like @eco takes advantage of that infrastructure to mine and distribute a crypto currency with more stability. https://t.co/2CYCir4WQx
— Scott Belsky (@scottbelsky) March 2, 2018
Still, others are more skeptical, pointing out ECO’s huge, obvious flaws:
✔ Zero privacy
✔ Tax nightmare (30% on gains in the US)
✔ Technically insecure
Dead on arrival.https://t.co/mZkUjoODt0
— Bitcoiner (@AnselLindner) March 6, 2018
As soon as a company asks for my mobile number I say no…My privacy is worth more than $eco
— Dirty Miner (@DirtyMining) March 3, 2018
— Bitcoiner (@AnselLindner) March 7, 2018
With hardly any online conversation focused around the new token, it seems as if ECO may indeed be “dead on arrival.” It also doesn’t help that 50 percent of the one trillion ECO coins made available will be simply handed out to the first verified humans who sign up.
What’s the value of holding assets that everyone else has plenty of? Surely the ECO team could have hyped these coins up by making them more scarce.
Although advocating for the economy and environment are certainly noble and worthwhile causes, the concept of combining the two is still unclear and somewhat bizarre. Meanwhile, the company’s long-term plan to implement the coin makes little sense to many.
The “ECO Coin Roadmap” is vague overall and doesn’t include specific ways to measure the coin’s success over time.
Their plan is to first test out the coin in a few communities deemed “sustainable” enough by the ECO team, and then strengthen the coin by having those communities buy and sell products and services from one another.
On the surface, the mission of ECO is a bit confusing. Is the company's intention to make this future cryptocurrency available to all or just to those individuals and groups who are doing good for the environment?
In a world where it’s difficult enough to get establishments to accept Bitcoin, one would think that any new cryptocurrency coming onto the scene should be as straightforward and as easy to understand as possible, not the other way around. Welcome to the jungle.
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