Yorke Rhodes (pictured), the Director of Digital Transformation at Microsoft for the past seven years, has boldly predicted that ethereum will become the new app store in just two years.
“Prediction: Ethereum becomes the Decentralized Appstore by 2023,” he said back in August arguing that eth has low fees while Apple’s appstore has revenue sharing.
This implies Rhodes thinks ethereum will scale in the next two years, presumably through zk techs or the plasma like rollups.
Ethereum has further advantages, Rhodes says, as there is “no commerce lockin to Apple, no single point of control by one large corporate, and eth is distributed, decentralized, single sign in across apps with it also having payments, identity, & commerce in one.”
This fringe idea even a few months ago is starting to become a bit mainstream in the top echelons of Silicon Valley because of the metaverse.
Many current web2 titans have pointed out that if they were building web2 now, they would incorporate crypto in their stack.
Many thus expect the new wave, the metaverse or web3, to have crypto somewhere in it. Ben Thompson, a former Microsoft employee, says on his blog Stratechery:
“This is the type of role blockchains will fill: provide uniqueness and portability where necessary, in a way that makes it possible to not just live your life entirely online, but as many lives simultaneously as your might wish, locked in nowhere.”
The New Internet
It is no wonder thus that Tim Cook finally bothered, after so many years, to tell the world he has some bitcoin. We take that as a sign that Apple is saying we’re watching. They’re watching Facebook and Microsoft.
Zuk, who plenty love to hate but we’re actually not very sure what to make of him, clearly has crypto somewhere at the center of his wider strategy.
He is or was maneuvering for that ‘crypto’ to be his crypto, but we’ve seen plenty of u-turns in this space, so maybe we’ll arrogantly say that was a rookie mistake with Mark Zuckerberg introduced to cryptos just two or three years ago.
Because something like identity or ownership can not be other than in a decentralized public blockchain, owned and controlled by the public. If not, it will be stopped because it can be stopped, as Libra was.
Microsoft, they’ve kind of been at the edges of eth since 2016 and never quite at the front for anything in the crypto space. They’re a black box to us in some ways, the clearly underestimated come back kid of folklore proportions as they now almost match Apple in market cap.
What they plan exactly isn’t too clear except it looks very likely that blockchain to them means public blockchain where it concerns web3 or metaverse ownership.
If that is so, then Zuk will really have no choice but to public blockchain, and if that is so, then you’ve got the decentralized appstore that competes and maybe even overtakes Apple’s.
As it stands, ethereum does have an app store of sorts, although decentralized with many interfaces controlled by different entities rather than one big appstore.
It’s niche however in the grand scheme of things and in two years by our estimates it will be able to start scaling and so move away from niche in usage towards mainstream, but two years is also basically tomorrow when it comes to building, so we can’t see it threatening Apple’s appstore in that time frame.
The Great Upgrade
But what matters is the trend, rather than the timeframe, and the trend appears to be somewhat clear. Digital ownership is now a thing, and tech giants now recognize it, and they’re building things on it.
Rather than a prediction therefore, this is more the identification of a trend. That being people are building apps on ethereum, and therefore ethereum has an app store, and this app store has certain advantages, and because of those advantages, eth is the new appstore where everyone is building.
It coming from Microsoft, which is working on the metaverse too, and with Rhodes appearing to nowadays be a very big NFT enthusiast, also suggests that the new internet will be built on eth.
Not literally on it, but the open source protocol will be the standard for ownership identification. A more normie way of saying the same thing is: it will be the globe’s new app store.
So things are seemingly coming together, and therefore we’re entering the stage that maybe should be called the Great Upgrade whereby the internet holistically, with all things in it, upgrades to digital money or digital ownership and eth the blockchain becomes this TCP/IP for digital identity.
An eth address in every phone, in every computer, maybe even in every car. A re-architecture basically of the internet itself as those titans that would have built things differently if there was crypto now start building things with crypto.
Which means eth isn’t the appstore, the appstore is just one app in eth. Eth is the internet itself, eventually, a component of the internet. A piece in the stack.
We say eth. What we means is a provably public decentralized blockchain, proven by the ability of anyone to fork it.
That’s because in this time frame we’ve gone to, it is difficult to predict specifics such as it will be eth that acts as a standard, but the general picture and direction as detailed above seems common sense and eth currently appears to be the most likely candidate to act as the standard for digital ownership.