We’ve seen the web, and “web 2.0” – and the subsequent changes to the global economy and our daily lives. Technology has transcended physical forms and are moving into virtual realms by way of storing data in the cloud or a virtual data room. Blockchain has also given programmers another way of transferring and storing data in an extremely encrypted and secure manner.
There has been endless skepticism regarding the reach of technology and dubious articles detailing such beliefs. For example, one describing why the internet won’t replace a list of things… which has become a bit of a joke as it is now a comprehensive list of things the internet has replaced. One of those things is education which is being replaced with online courses and smart contracts to make students progress public. Whether the skepticism is based upon healthy skepticism, technophobia, or is somewhere in between, often depends upon the source of the skepticism. Let’s just say it’s quite rarely somewhere in between.
We’re all familiar with what is now considered to be the Silicon Valley. Three decades ago, the Silicon Valley was at-best perceived as a conglomerate of self-professed visionaries working in garages or their parents’ basements on lunacy projects. These visionaries toiled, despite all obstacles, if perhaps the biggest obstacle was a society not ready or willing to embrace change, and kept the faith that got them started in the first place. They formed a community, collaborated on projects, ensured invention patenting took place once products became feasible for mass-adoption, and now have more money than most would consider to be appropriate. Who are the basement-dwellers now? You can make fun of these “nerds” that heard it all just two or three decades ago, but they probably can’t hear you over the sound of their private jets and stacks of money, or they’d tell you to get back to your soul-crushing job that fears innovators.
If you’ve been paying attention to current events, you’ve heard of the parabolic rise of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. You can draw endless parallels between media coverage and societal impression regarding the internet as you could with blockchain technology today: skepticism. It’s inarguable that the overwhelming majority of this skepticism comes from sources with either a lack of understanding regarding blockchain technology, or sources with clear motives for blockchain technology to not succeed. After all, if you were the owner of a major chain of banks, why would you want to cheer on something that could put you out of business?
Ah, but that last sentence is quite the fallacy. The smart banks, without corporate dinosaurs, will adopt blockchain technology in an effort to “have their cake and eat it too.” Even Chinese banks, a country well-known for intense regulations regarding cryptocurrency, are adopting blockchain solutions in an effort to stay relevant. Needless to say, while the blockchain revolution and cryptocurrency has been the rallying cry of many hoping to remove a disproportionate balance of power from reality, some banks are becoming contenders in this fight. Perhaps JP Morgan Chase could stand to take a few notes from their Chinese counterparts, if they desire to stay relevant, let alone in business.
There are dozens of strong uses for blockchain technology already seeing use-cases, and hundreds, if not thousands, of use-cases possible. Perhaps the same overly-idealistic perception of blockchain technologies that was once a perception of the internet stems from use-cases that simply seem “too good to be true,” such as McFly. If you spoke to most “normal people” about “autonomous VTOL aircraft rideshares utilizing blockchain technology,” at best they wouldn’t understand you- at worst, they’d mock you. Wait a minute… wasn’t that the case with computers just two decades ago? It’s almost like history is repeating itself or something…
The ultimate deciding factor for enabling the internet to become something used by almost everybody around the globe on a daily basis was creating an extremely simplified user experience. In the early days of the internet, it was extremely cumbersome and required a high level of technical finesse to be able to utilize. Once the internet, and especially email, became so easy to use that essentially anybody could do it, the paradigm shifted, and we landed where we are today: with you reading this article. Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are in the same phase that email and the internet were, once upon a time. Most normal people, or so-called “normies,” are either unable or (arguably in most cases) simply unwilling to take the time to learn things like “public and private keys” in order to use this technology. Once blockchain technology is something that simply runs passively with next to no technical knowledge required, it will experience the parabolic growth in end-user acquisition that the internet saw in the late 90s.
This trend really begs the question of how many types this cycle will repeat itself. Almost everyone would agree that as long as the human race continues to exist, new technology will be developed. Will the adopters of blockchain technology be the skeptics of the next revolution in technology, or will there finally be a day where innovation is celebrated; not mocked and delayed? Whether or not that day will ever come may be ultimately irrelevant: technology and innovators will always be the defining force of the future of the world.