Wolf Pup #0 explores some ideas in this article on thinking through the future of blockchain technology.
What Does The Future Of Crypto Look Like?
Interesting question; and we won’t know the answer until it unfolds before our eyes over the next few years/decades. But, if history continues to rhyme, it will NOT look like what most people expect. Most people speculating about the future of crypto and mass adoption of blockchain are speculating about how the mass market will interface directly with a web3 world.
Perhaps that is the way the cookie will crumble. But for the sake of exercising our minds, let’s talk about the non linear path to treating erectile dysfunction.
Stick with me for a minute.
In 1989 Pfizer was searching for a treatment for heart-related chest pain and stumbled upon Sildenafil. While clinical trials suggested that Sildenafil can decrease chest pain they also found that in some cases it would help with headaches and deployed more clinical trials for headache relief. Sildenafil, sold primarily under the brand name Viagra, ended up having a side effect that the masses found more appealing than the intended effect and Viagra diffused for a different reason amongst a different population than the technicians/creators and early adopters intended it for.
This is important for a couple reasons.
First, Diffusion of Innovation states that one of the key factors of total adoption and rate of adoption is reinvention: how much the new technology/innovation is reinvented or changes from its intended purposes. In other words, the tech that diffuses and is adopted the fastest looks very different than what it was created for because when it gets in the hands of the masses, they find creative, unique and often quite strange ways of using it — ways that end up being more appealing than the original/intended utility.
Second, regardless of how you feel about Pfizer, their products are nearly ubiquitous. Even if you somehow, do not interface directly with Pfizer or their products you have probably:
- Used dove soap
- Bought products or experiences from Disney
- Played or purchased a Sony Playstation
- Used Neutrogena products
- Purchased baby products
- Eaten cereal or other products from Kellog’s
Why does this matter?
Because if so, whether or not you have directly interfaced with Amazon Web Service (AWS), you have benefitted from it. Unilever, Disney, Sony, Johnson & Johnson, Kellogs and more (including apple and Ethereum nodes), all sit on AWS.
AWS is one of many examples of a widely adopted technology that most people have never interfaced with but benefit from everyday. In fact, most of the population does not know how or need to know to log into and use it for it to continue to diffuse rapidly.
Watching your late adopter friends or grandma fumble around with a crypto wallet does not necessarily tell us how close or far we are from adoption anymore than watching grandma try to login into and use AWS tells us about Amazon. The masses do not have to understand or know how to use an underlying technology for it to diffuse or be adopted.
Another question for you:
Do you know what linux is? Do you understand it? Do you know how to interact with it to get some utility that you want? Most will answer “no” to these questions which may lead us to believe that Linux has not been adopted by the masses.
Almost everything you read on the internet was written on linux and you are most likely reading it on something built on linux.
New York stock exchange? Largely built on linux.
Air traffic control? Custom software built on linux.
Washing machines that balance loads and have timers? That brain is powered by linux. Smart TV’s, smart fridges, in car entertainment, instagram, Facebook, Airbnb, Uber and Netflix all run linux software.
Linux is ubiquitous. You use it every single day and likely have no idea what it looks like or how to interface with it.
Of course I am just exploring ideas and speaking in probabilities, not certainties or absolutes. But I do think it’s worth considering that a ubiquitous blockchain may look different than what you have thought or heard. Most of the population could be using it and have no idea what it looks like even after it’s widely adopted.
Perhaps. But what people are really saying is that we are a long way from the masses interfacing with crypto/blockchain as we believe it to be. And it’s worth considering that “mass adoption” will look very different than we think; it may even be invisible.
I have my beliefs as to what the highest probability outcome is — what it will likely look like and how it will likely play out — but that is the beauty of disruptive, innovative tech. It always ends up being very different than the early adopters think it will be. (This is a good thing, it ends up different because BETTER options that we could not have conceived of reveal themselves).
Hope this was helpful to consider,
Wolf Pup #0 Nic Peterson