Vote With Your Attention
Do Kwon, the CEO of Terra Labs—the imploded algorithmic stablecoin—wants to fork the Terra blockchain as part of a comeback narrative.
Any rational participant in the crypto space wants to see people take chances to try new things, with an understanding that many things will not work. When things fail, we should take apart the rubble to figure out what went wrong, so that we don’t repeat the same mistakes. But we should stop short of disrespect and chaos, as mobs tend to form easily in the aftermath of financial meltdowns. We also have to contend with a larger issue. Past a certain point, attention is finite—we only have so much to give.
This begs the question: What kinds of projects merit our attention? We have to start with the understanding that we all have a bias for recency. Terra has been one of the only major news items lately, and so we have focused on it nearly to the exclusion of everything else. This generated hype around the project—agnostic as to whether the outcome is positive or negative—which ultimately gives Kwon exactly what he wants: To be in the spotlight.
As of today, a politician from South Korea’s ruling party called for hearings on the Terra collapse, indicating that Kwon should appear in front of the parliamentary committee.
I understand the irony of writing about Terra while simultaneously calling for us to direct our attention away from Terra. But really this piece is about the broader issue of hype-driven projects that rile people up and distract them with shiny things (20% risk-free yield, up-only price narrative, etc.)—bringing all that trapped attention to a euphoric high and inevitable crash.
We are also quick to forget the actions of bad actors, which allows those same actors to continue with their behavior. In light of all this, perhaps the best thing for the industry, DeFi especially, would be for us all to simply move on.
So the true subject of this piece, as referenced in the title, is the responsibility of voting with your attention. Everything you pay attention to casts a vote of its attention-worthiness. That doesn’t always mean approval, just that the given thing is worthy of attention. Be it a car crash on the highway, a clickbait news article, a person, or a company—anything you direct your attention towards is a tacit vote in its favor.
That attention is valuable. Anything or anyone that accrues enough attention can use that same attention to a number of ends. Some uses are better than others.
If we can individually focus on good projects and networks with solid fundamentals—we can collectively steer the space in a better direction.