The crypto space now has the potential to be like the internet in the late 90s
This post is inspired from seeing a few posts both in here and particularly non-crypto subreddits bashing the crypto space in general as “a bubble”, “pointless”, and pointing to Bitcoin’s “failures”.
There’s always a risk when you spend a lot of time discussing things with people who share your mindset that you slip into groupthink and circle jerking. That, because we’re all invested in the crypto space and excited about the future, we represent the population at large. I suppose there must be similar sentiment in, as an example, subs and discussions between supporters of Extinction Rebellion. To them, climate change is the absolute most pressing issue of our times, and they’re seeing more and more governments wake up to this. But, plenty of people don’t care. Or are actively anti their campaigning.
In the same way, crypto is in the early adoption phase. We’re not in the era – for Bitcoin at least – where you can mine thousands of coins as an individual; have faucets distributing 5 BTC a day; or where you have to go through convoluted and relatively techie steps to acquire some. However, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There will still be challenges and bear markets ahead, but the crypto space has shown it’s here to say. Institutional investors are getting exposure to it; some governments have created / are creating their own stable coins; the market is worth trillions. For cryptocurrency as a whole, I don’t think we can really say we’re in the stage of being pioneers fuelled only be self-belief.
That said, there are a lot of exciting use cases for cryptocurrency that are starting to become a reality. These are even further back in adoption, but we can be confident they’re coming. Some things are probably beyond even what we can envisage now. In the same way the early internet displayed a few text based sites and allowed emails, but involved into somewhere most of us research almost anything; where nearly every company has a presence and does business; a primary form of communication, entertainment, retail, payments, banking, storage of data etc.
For those that point towards Bitcoin’s failing as a currency, but fail to acknowledge the cryptos that have sprung up to improve upon it, it feels worth listing just some of the currently successful use case for crypto. Which look set only to develop further.
- Smart contracts and decentralised apps (dApps). Ethereum being the most obvious example. A lot of the examples and potential use cases mentioned below stem from DApps.
Autonomous smart contracts talking to each other. The potential to cut out the middle man in multiple different industries and areas – eg a content sharing site created as a DApp, which collect have a smart contract to collect money from advertisers and auction slots off, a smart contract to pay creators based on number of views and a smart contract flagging videos violating copyright etc
- Instant payments.
One of the more straightforward use cases, particularly given how much BTC’s limited number of transactions / cost / slow speed is mentioned.
Multiple altcoins like XLM, NANO and ALGO already allow near instant, feeless, payments
- Yield farming – having your assets grow.
A lot of people have moved into versions of yield farming (aggregator sites, staking, leasing) during this bull run, particularly given the rise of alternate smart chains with cheaper fees than ETH.
Given frustrations with traditional banking systems and low rates of interest on savings in particular; a (admittedly higher risk) may to actually grow savings / money, together with hedging against fiat inflation
- Blockchain use by companies to automate and streamline processes and data storage.
Smart contracts can make supply chains a lot, lot, easier. It can make tracking things any kind of asset too, with everything stored on the blockchain (eg loans, medical records, supply chain).
You’ll see examples of this in practice mentioned here plenty – eg VET and the smaller LTO Network.
- Decentralised content-sharing.
Still in relative infancy, but basically platforms to link consumers directly to media producers, doing away with platforms like Netflix. TRON as an example.
- Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)
These have obvious become a “thing” recently, mentioned a lot and sounding like bubble territory – eg issuing NFTs of old memes for thousands.
However, as much as they’re derided as a bubble or pointless, there are real use cases in, for example, art. An NFT guaranteeing authenticity could be provided alongside a piece of art
This doesn’t mean the bags you’re holding will all become worth millions. Picking the winners even amongst different areas is still half skill, half luck. But that’s no different to the stock market.
There will be cryptos that succeed spectacularly, and others that fail. Some like BTC and ETH have the potential to continue dominating, others may well break out and take a seat near the top of (market cap) table. Some cryptos may not be in existence yet which ultimately become revolutionary.
When people mention crypto as a “bubble”, they’re usually showing a lack of understanding of the possibilities the space offers. There is an element of mania in this bull run, and there will be plenty of scams, rug pulls and shitcoins. That doesn’t mean the space overall can’t become like the internet in 5, 10 or more years.