Bitcoin’s fate is irrelevant – the greater crypto ecosystem is unstoppable

Passengers aboard the Titanic would gain little comfort knowing that the ship’s sinking would ultimately lead to better aviation landing systems.

It plays out like this: After the sinking, the 1912 Radio Ship Act was passed, legislating improved radio transmissions from sea vessels. This in turn prompted the invention of an improved radio compass, which then gave rise to modern aviation landing systems.

Bitcoin’s sinking feels much the same way. And the naysayers don’t help general sentiment much.

The naysayers

The naysayers form the other side of this tragic tale: people who get a thrill out of kicking bitcoin into the dirt every time it hits a wobble. In all, bitcoin’s obituary has been written over 400 times, yet the digital currency continues to surprise us.

Those naysayers are having a field day now that cryptos’ global value has sunk below $1 trillion (R17.3 trillion). They sound a lot like Clifford Stoll’s article in Newsweek in 1995 where he tried to convince one and all that the internet was as dead as the Titanic.

The first paragraph of that article will bring some modern readers to guffaws: Virtually everything that he says is “baloney” about the internet in that paragraph has since come true.

It is true that the dot-com crash of the 2000s was merciless in mowing down tech company after tech company. But it’s also true that many concepts invented before that crash – ‘VoIP, eCommerce, big data and the web experience’ – now drive the tech giants of today.

And Amazon, one of the world’s most powerful companies, was forged in that crucible.

The strong survive – a sentiment shared by many in the crypto space. The greater crypto ecosystem gets stronger with every crisis, and the players who survive are the ones to be trusted.

Relentless innovation, countless investment opportunities

We are today with crypto where the internet was in 1999. Constant headlines of bitcoin’s dive into the throes of what appears to be its final agonies read a little like a Stephen King horror novel.

But what those on the fringes often fail to recognise is that cryptocurrency and the greater ecosystem are so much more than just bitcoin or the price of a token.

Crypto investment does not begin and end with digital currencies themselves.

Public stocks and private equity open up a plethora of opportunities that are both less risky than bitcoin and potentially more predictable in their performance.

Underneath bitcoin and crypto is blockchain technology, just as underneath Twitter, Amazon, Shopify, and every online service is the internet itself – the same internet whose demise was so terribly predicted in 1995 in Newsweek. The internet never went away, not even through that dot-com bubble. And blockchain will never go away because too much innovation and too many companies are invested in it.

Innovations in blockchain could fill a book …

NFTs – non-fungible tokens that are entirely unique and have no possible duplicate – are now being used as tickets for events.

A company in the UK is using blockchain technology to build transparency into the UK’s broken Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) market. Currently, there is no way to tell precisely how much energy a house with solar panels gives back to the UK grid, potentially penalising high producers. By fitting those panels with special metres connected to a blockchain, it is possible to provide immutable and transparent insight into this problem.

A similar company exists in Australia where solar panel owners can sell excess energy to their neighbours.

The metaverse and blockchain are virtually inextricable. Nike has released a model of sneakers that will have a digital double as an NFT in the metaverse.

Tokenised real estate completely changes the property playing field, allowing people of any means to own a piece of real estate and to transfer it easily to another. Because blockchains are immutable and transparent, deeds and titles could become digital in nature, and ownership will always be clear.

Insurance products are using smart contracts.

The Brave Privacy Browser uses blockchain technology to bring back privacy to users and puts advertiser power back into the user’s hands.

Some of the largest ripples are being created by Web 3.0 technology, a new version of the internet that runs entirely on blockchains. Web3 also lets users store enormous amounts of files online, completely encrypted, and distributed across millions of computers. Although Web3 is only in its infancy, one estimate puts its potential market size in the trillions of dollars by 2030.

Kodak uses blockchain to protect image copyrights. IBM has been prominent about its Enterprise Blockchain Solutions, and helped food company Kroger implement blockchain in its food handling procedures. Microsoft helped shipping company Maersk create a marine insurance platform based on blockchain.

Intel senior vice-president Raja M Koduri announced in February that it intends to “contribute to the development of blockchain technologies”.

Walmart, Daimler Truck AG, Ford Motor Company – the list of companies using blockchain goes on and on.

The evidence is stark and irrefutable: blockchain is unstoppable. Whether this is bitcoin’s final obituary is entirely irrelevant in the greater scheme of things.

The market innovation and altered financial ecosystem we now live with will forever remain whether bitcoin lives or dies.

And the investment opportunities this opens the door to are immense.

* R Paulo Delgado is a crypto writer with an eye for the bizarre and the human stories behind the always fascinating leaps and stumbles of this new asset class.

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