Although blockchain, and Bitcoin, has been around for more than 10 years now, it has arguably still not found its killer application, or had its watershed moment that has started it on its way to mass adoption. This technology is understood to have a huge amount of potential, but when will it be realized.
An understanding of this technology’s evolution could probably be understood in the sense of how the internet moved along with its route to mass adoption. There are of course already some ways in which blockchain and Bitcoin can be used today, but skeptics still want to know when and where we will see the technology as integral.
“All innovation cycles take time and most of them jump through the same hoops and go through the same layers before they become a mass-market product or service,” explains Iqbal V. Gandham is the managing director of eToro UK.
This is key for Gandham, as he believes there is a lot of similarities between blockchain and how the internet has moved forward.
“To understand the evolution of blockchain and the potential it has to pervade every aspect of our lives, we need to take a step back and to consider how the internet went from a cool, niche idea to one of the most ubiquitous forces on the planet,” he added.
From AOL to all our lives
The internet has moved a long way from when it first touched the lives of people in the first instance. Gadham explains how many people were first introduced to the internet.
“Our first experience of the internet was when companies such as AOL started to drop CDs in our mailbox,” he explained. “So, we didn’t really need a “use case” for the internet or go as far as to question why it existed. We never once asked: Will the internet scale? We didn’t complain that we couldn’t send a movie over it or that it was too slow at delivering information we needed. Even so, no one suggested that we should switch it off and go home. Instead, we suffered countless hours of failed connection attempts just because we could and because — some of us — had no social life.”
“Fast forward this internet evolution and, eventually, we arrive at e-commerce. Contrary to the way it may seem now, e-commerce arrived slowly but surely. We didn’t need to “go online.” Instead, we just ended up always online. We started to shop. We started to buy and sell. Before we knew it, we had a mass-market use case.”
We now have a new technology in our midst, and the way it has been evolving may be further along than many believe as it looks like we are waiting for part two of the evolution, rather than the first.
“In crypto, we first need the crypto. With the internet, we needed the connection. In order to access or acquire this crypto, we need the exchanges to sell it to us, which is similar to the ISPs in the internet example. These exchanges will continue to grow, and like ISPs, they too will eventually become commoditized,” Gandham explains this first wave.
“What is the blockchain equivalent of email addresses? Put simply, wallets. What is the one thing we all need to have before we can start to use crypto? Wallets. Without any place from which we can send and receive crypto, and have others receive it, we cannot use crypto.”
Bolstering the wallets
Thus, for the space to have it’s Hotmail moment, the next evolution needs to be better and more usable wallets. Once we have realized wallets that can operate like email addresses, that can be the watershed moment that could spark huge interest.