Imagine that you had the opportunity to invest in the internet back in the mid-to-late 90’s—but with all the knowledge you have now about how it turned out. You would have probably ended up being a millionaire by now by inventing a Google or a Facebook, long before those things even existed.
That’s the point we are at right now when it comes to cryptocurrencies and blockchain—at least according to many experts. But what might we expect from these new technologies in the future? How will they change our lives? Is this whole “blockchain-boom” just a flash-in-the-pan?
These are all very excellent questions, so let’s take a look!
Are cryptocurrencies and blockchains just another fad?
Before we can figure out where cryptocurrencies and blockchains might be heading, we first need to understand whether this “crypto-craze” is just another fad that will be over in a couple of years, or if this is something that is here to stay.
In fact, cryptocurrencies actually have quite a lot of useful fundamental advantages over traditional government-issued (“fiat”) currencies. These advantages include:
- Better privacy and security using the latest cryptography.
- Better reliability due to redundancy, meaning there is no single point of failure and the network can’t practically be taken down (at least not as easily as centralised services).
- More democratic, because everyone gets a genuine vote in how things are run.
- Better transparency, as everyone can see every detail of how the system works.
- Better innovation, because anyone can suggest improvements.
- Better transaction costs, because there is natural competition within the network.
- Better transaction speeds, because resources to process transactions naturally grow with popularity.
Those are some pretty major advantages. This is why so many people are convinced that cryptocurrency is the future of money, and the blockchain technology they are usually based on is the future of data transactions.
In spite of all this though, there are still a few things that cryptocurrencies and blockchains need to address before they will achieve true mainstream acceptance.
Arguably one of the biggest issues is finding ways to make it easy for retailers to accept cryptocurrencies as payment (and for customers to be able to give payment).
Right now with traditional fiat currencies, you can just walk into your local Coles supermarket, and pay for your shopping quickly and easily with a credit or debit card (or even cash, if that’s your thing).
With cryptocurrencies, although there have been some good ideas thrown around, there’s currently no widely accepted way for retailers to do the same thing quite as easily.
It’s not likely to be too long though before someone finds a good solution to this and we can all buy our Weet-Bix with some Bitcoin.
So you’re a bit-curious and want to know more.
Getting your hands on cryptocurrency in the first place also needs to be easier for the average consumer, who probably isn’t too interested in messing about doing complicated trades over exchanges.
This, of course, is what we are aiming to help out with here at MyVested, by making it easy to get your hands on some cryptocurrency simply by using your spare change when you buy things. What could be easier than getting cryptocurrency every time you buy a cup of coffee at your local cafe?
It’s also worth noting that most governments around the world are already talking about how best to handle and regulate cryptocurrency, and most seem generally quite supportive (albeit cautious) of this fledgling technology. This more official support can go a long way to giving people more confidence in this new industry.
Cryptocurrency has also seen support from many big name companies, including Amazon who has registered several crypto-related websites, and the online game platform Steam, who supported purchases in their store using Bitcoin for a while.
All of this would help a bunch to really propel cryptocurrency into mainstream usage, but where does it all go from there?
How will blockchains affect our daily lives?
As we mentioned over in our blockchain article, cryptocurrency is just one specific application of blockchain technology. This, of course, begs the question – what else could such technology be used for?
One thing we can certainly expect to see more of moving forward are decentralised exchanges for trading these cryptocurrencies. This decentralisation is made possible by running the exchanges themselves on blockchains. Stellar Dex is just one good example of a decentralised exchange that can be traded on right now.
The great thing about blockchains is their ability to represent the transfer of value in a digital form. This means that they can be used in any situation where some sort of value is being exchanged.
As such, we should also expect to see other things that have value like property make a shift over to blockchains too. There’s the obvious stuff of course—like paying your rent or mortgage using Bitcoin or Ethereum—but there’s also the back-end of things like land registries.
Moving properties onto blockchains would mean people could exchange properties with one another directly, without having to go through those pesky estate agents.
Voting systems are another application of blockchains being heavily discussed. If you think about it, it makes sense – in an election (for example), the government gives everyone one single vote, and you can “spend” your vote on the candidate that you want to support.
In a sense, a vote is a lot like a currency. Several projects like FollowMyVote are already paving the way to a future where our voting is done on blockchains.
Another thing we can all look forward to are Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAOs for short). These are organisations (companies) which are run completely autonomously using a blockchain.
The details of this are a bit technical, but in short, these DAOs would use what is known as Smart Contracts to run the company. This means a DAO would have employees doing work like any other company, but unlike other companies, there would be no middle managers or Big Bosses at the top.
How the company is run and the things it gets up to would be decided by a democratic consensus of the main workforce itself.
Of course, it doesn’t take a massive leap of imagination to realise that, if you can run a whole company using a blockchain, then you could potentially run an entire country off of one too.
Surely though, such ideas are in the far-flung future long after we’re all six-feet-under, right?
Actually no, these ideas are not only closer than you think, they’re already happening. If you want to know what a digital nation which uses blockchain for many of its activities looks like, you don’t have to look any further than Estonia. Even their healthcare system uses the stuff!
By all accounts, what Estonia has been doing so far has been hugely successful, so it’s only really a matter of time before other countries start to follow in their digital footsteps.
Given how quickly they’ve been able to implement blockchain, it’s not exactly wild to think that we all might be living under a blockchain nation, working for a DAO and getting paid in cryptocurrency within the next decade or two.
Just look at how widespread the internet was just twenty years ago, and compare it to how essential it has become to everyone’s lives across the world today.
That’s all folks!
What do you think the future holds for this incredible new technology? Tell us about something interesting that you think blockchain could be used for down in the comments below. We love reading what you have to say, so don’t hesitate to let us know your thoughts!