Depending on how you feel about digital currencies, you will either compare it to the dot-com era or tulip mania. Several crypto enthusiasts like to compare the rise of cryptocurrencies and blockchain with the internet, one of the most groundbreaking technologies from the past century. Zach Abrams, the Dir Product at Coinbase compared several technologies of the past with cryptocurrencies and noted that crypto may not be all that different.
No Internet Historian But…
Abrams claimed that he is not an internet historian and got his first AOL CD in elementary school and discovered Napster only when he was in high school. However, he suggests that as he reads more about the technologies of the past, it becomes easy to suggest that crypto is going along the same path as its predecessors.
“Almost every new technology has experienced a prolonged period of serendipitous invention, a meaningful period of uncertainty and market discovery, and an unprecedented burst of growth. With each of these cycles, the platform was doubted until it was obvious; frivolous until it was irreplaceable; and niche until it was ubiquitous.”
He reminiscence on how in 1993, the internet was considered a good tool for scientists and academics alone. He said that people who believed in the power of technology “will them into existence” and created generational companies like Intel, Windows, etc.
Cryptos Resemble the Telephone
Abrams then went on to compare cryptocurrencies with the telephone, which was invented in the 1850s and patented by Bell in 1876. The initial use case of telephones was simple but very niche – it could be used by the government and can be helpful in corporate communication too. When costs lowered, consumer adoption followed but this was 15 years after the telephone’s invention. He noted how it took over 50 years since its invention for the telephone to make people agree on its importance.
He then talked about the transistor, the personal computer and finally, the internet. He said that all technologies, in their adolescence, go through a similar phase of being labeled as a niche or not being able to scale to meet its massive expectations.
He commented further:
“Like Bell Labs, Intel, Apple, Microsoft, Netscape, Google, and others — we are the early pioneers in a new industry; the ones who see the opportunity; and the group that’s working every day to help a new platform realize its potential.”