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This week in crypto: the liminal state

Harry Hamburg
Harry Hamburg
4 min read
This week in crypto: the liminal state
Here's what I got when I typed "crypto chrysalis" into Dall-E mini

Do you know what liminality is?

I certainly didn’t, when I first heard someone say it on a podcast a couple of years ago.

It basically means being in-between two stages, phases, eras.

Here’s how Chip Conley put it that podcast.

Liminal is sort of right there and it’s sort of in between two things, it’s the transition that frankly, a caterpillar to a butterfly, the cocoon is the liminal state. People don’t like to be in a liminal state. When you’re a kid, you’re used to it because everything’s in between.
You know, going from crawling to walking, going from pre-puberty to an adolescent and teenager. But when you’re an adult, you don’t like to be liminal and yet we have all these transitions in midlife that actually make us feel liminal.

I remember listening to it and writing down, “people don’t like to be in a liminal state”.

I know I really don’t.

When that podcast came out, I was in a major liminal state, having just gone freelance, moved cities and bought a house… all in the same month. So maybe the idea struck me more than it would most.

But here’s the thing, liminality doesn’t just apply to individuals. It can also apply to industries, politics, even whole societies.

From Wikipedia:

During liminal periods of all kinds, social hierarchies may be reversed or temporarily dissolved, continuity of tradition may become uncertain, and future outcomes once taken for granted may be thrown into doubt. The dissolution of order during liminality creates a fluid, malleable situation that enables new institutions and customs to become established.

The whole world is in a liminal state right now

The reason I’m bringing this up, aside from it being interesting, is that it’s very relevant to the world of crypto today.