There is no doubt the Internet had one of the biggest impacts upon society we ever saw. Where it ranks is debatable yet if we think of the foundations of society, fire, the printing press, and the steam engine come to mind. For the developed world, the Internet is a necessity as opposed to a luxury. This will only grow in the coming years.
For a while I believed that blockchain and cryptocurrency would dwarf the impact of the Internet on society. These technologies are likely to have 100 times the effect. We are already starting to see some of the potential unfold before our eyes. It is exciting to consider what things can look like a decade from now.
That said, there are detractors. Many feel that there is a lot of hype and very little substance surrounding both blockchain and cryptocurrency. The fact that it has not taken over the world in a few years has many scoffing at it. This is coupled by the fact that most do not understand what is taking place.
This is not without precedent. A similar thing happened during the development of the Internet. I went back to compile a few of the ideas that were presented during the 1990s, a time before the Internet became widespread.
What is fascinating is these people are very intelligent. It is not as if we are dealing with people who had no idea what was going on. Many worked in the field of computer science.
Here are a few of the thoughts about the Internet at the time.
The interesting thing about Stoll, at the time of his comments, is that he was one of the early users of the Internet. He already had two decades using it. The scientific and academic community was the first to get involved, sharing data back and forth during the late 70s and through the 80s.
Here we see a user of the technology who scoffed at the notion the visionaries had. It appears his knowledge of the technology and how it worked actually went against him. He was unable to see the potential that was before him on a regular basis.
We have a similar situation today. As they say history might not repeat itself but it does rhyme. There are many intelligent people with outstanding credentials who do not feel that blockchain and cryptocurrency will go anywhere. The claims being made by the visionaries and futurists are absurd in their minds.
Is it any different from the claims that were made a couple decades ago and what was thought of them? I think not. In fact, it is very common for a technology to get slammed by many. Certainly, there is often a great deal of hype associated with a particular technology, one which often fails. Does anyone remember the excitement over 3D televisions? We could also point to virtual reality which spent the last three decades going through many different hype cycles only to end up at the point where we are still waiting.
The technologies of blockchain and cryptocurrency are still rather young. We are still in the early stages of development. That said, we are now more than 11 years since the start of this development. The fact that activity is only increasing tells us the Lindy Effect is going to keep expanding. Since we are on the upward swing of the development curve, we can see a lot of decades ahead for these technologies.
Those who yet to see what is truly taking place will eventually catch on. Experts and non alike will not have a choice going forward. The expansion that is unfolding is consuming more people each day. It is only a matter of time before the acceleration of entrants reaches the elbow in the exponential growth curve.
If we look back over the history of cryptocurrency, we see that Bitcoin set off the first phase. This remained in place until 2015 when Ethereum hit the market. That was a major shift away from the asset based cryptocurrency and into the realm of technology based cryptocurrency. That blockchain just passed its 5th years in existence.
All this shows how new this really is. The Internet was around decades before it was even close to enter the mainstream. Cryptocurrency will end up doing it a lot quicker.
I expect that we will see near a billion people involved by the middle of this decade. Things are simply moving too quickly for the masses to ignore it for too long. That means we can expect near a 20x growth over that time.
We will see how things will unfold.
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