The astonishing rise of digital currencies, starting in March 2016 with the Ethereum Spring, has taken the world by storm with heads turning in government halls, multinationals, and ordinary homes. But what is driving this rise?
But with suggestions of speculation, bubble, a million bitcoin or a zero coin, and a market cap nearing a trillion, is this mania or hysteria? Are the old losing their heads or the young losing theirs?
Who is right, the Prime Minister of South Korea stating crypto is corrupting the youth, or Hayek stating the old bankers have no clue?
Even Vitalik Buterin, the founder of ethereum itself, got caught up in all the drumbeat of the mainstream media to wonder whether this space is worth merely half a trillion.
Disbelief is prevalent everywhere. Many do not understand what is going on at all and can not quite believe some piece of code strings can be worth so much.
Especially when it feels like there isn’t much happening on the ground. No one yet randomly uses what is underneath a blockchain powered product. There are so many ideas, but not really that many products.
And that’s precisely what explains this dichotomy. Critics are focused on the present. The market is focused on the future. Critics see what is right now and, there isn’t much. The market tries to price in what foreseeably will be and they think there will be plenty.
All the promises of crypto are, effectively, on hold for now. And because of that, critics are partially right to call it speculation or even a bubble. But that hold will likely be temporary and once the floodgates open every single industry might perhaps even overnight completely transform.
Cryptokitties is the poster boy to illustrate. The app was an instant hit. Who doesn’t want to tokenize cats and perhaps even make some money off it? But it did not take more than five minutes of success for it to bring the network to its knees.
An old grandpa might look at that and say: well, there’s nothing here, what can you do with it. While a young man might look at it and say: wow, imagine if there was no scalability problem right now.
A problem that has conceptually been solved and might be just two years away, right in time hopefully for the next decade, the roaring 20s. Then, all these ideas and projects on the line can hit the blockchain and actually be able to work.
Tokenized property, art, cats and all the rest. Machine payments. Decentralized Autonomous Organizations. And that’s just the start, with token models and simple frictionless payments too.
Little of it is here now, but the markets doesn’t work on now. They are betting it will be here soon enough, pricing in the reasonable foreseeability of this tech’s trajectory. Thus on the surface it might look like just speculation with no substance, but there is substance.
The market knows that even though there are currently problems, there are proposed solutions, and the implementation of those solutions might be just a matter of time.
It also knows that if those solutions are actually implemented fully, then the potential is immense, for man itself will upgrade, and so will every institution, every process, every thing.
For the digital revolution will turn into code and automate so much in a world that looks in wonder as the ingenuity of man taps once more into the works of the universe.