Twenty years ago, a close friend of mine traveled out of the country for the first time. He was away and alone in a strange land and we needed to communicate. Back then, we didn’t have cellphones in Nigeria, and no one in my family had an email address. As a matter of fact, very few individuals knew what an email was all about at the time.
I remember going to a friend’s office who worked in a local bank to receive a print-out of an email that my friend sent to me. This was a big relief that made me feel like I just found the solution to a very complex puzzle.
Fast-forward to today, almost everyone has a smartphone to receive emails on the go. The world has moved even beyond emails to instant messaging on numerous apps and platforms. We now have a world that is ruled by data, everything is literally at our fingertips and readily available. That is how fast, and how much the world has evolved.
Where is Blockchain Today?
In its present state, blockchain technology is looking like the internet of twenty years ago. Only a small percentage of the world’s population understand and use it for anything at all. To a lot of people, it is a complex puzzle that is difficult to understand, just like the internet of two decades ago. There are predictions already that in the years to come, blockchain implementation will become as rampant as the internet of today.
According to the prediction above, there will come a time when almost everyone will naturally migrate to the blockchain. People will use Bitcoin and blockchain for everyday activities and we will almost forget the time when it looked totally strange. Just like what we see with the internet today.
According to Michael Vogel, CEO & founder of Coinstream, and also the founder of Netcoins, for those interested in exploring the future of Bitcoin and blockchain, the book “Blockchain Revolution” by Don and Alex Tapscott is a good recommendation. In this book, the authors point to a number of interesting applications for blockchain technology.
Vogel breaks down how Bitcoin and blockchain can easily redefine the financial sector and provide more efficient ways of managing data in modern accounting.
A Better Way For Businesses to Operate
By migrating from a traditional “double ledger” accounting system, to a “triple ledger”, where the third entry is a blockchain record to capture all changes, it will enable real-time financial audits. This is something that Vogel thinks could become the norm for public companies. With this system, daily real-time audits mean investors would no longer need to wait for quarterly financial statements to gain insight into how companies are performing.
He also notes that blockchain will provide a better way to create credit scores and prove your online identity. Any number of data points can be sourced and stored in your personal blockchain record.
Banks become “apps” instead of national conglomerates. Digital finance and retail banking becomes much less costly to operate (less human intervention and risk of fraud). The ability to hold funds, send and receive money, settle stock trades and loan funds can be offered at a much lower barrier to entry when built on a blockchain.
The IPO and fund-raising process for businesses: Instead of traditional share registries involving lawyer oversight and management, companies and startups will have easy access to how ownership shares are issued and traded. It even allows for markets to be built around traditionally illiquid sectors like fractional real estate ownership.
In essence, blockchain allows a way for businesses to operate in a much more efficient, transparent and secure way.
A New Money Protocol
The ability to instantly store, send and receive funds with anyone on the Internet in the same manner as you would send an email, will become a new norm for how the world operates. And if that doesn’t seem like a big deal, remember that today 1.7 billion people are unbanked (no bank account).
Comparing Blockchain and the Internet
The internet reorganized our information protocol. It improved that area of human life by making is faster, cheaper and overall, more efficient. This did not happen overnight, neither was it formed by a single solution. It took a long time with constant improvements. Till today, new ways of exchanging information are still emerging that make the early days of Yahoo Mail seem primitive.
Today, we are confronted with Bitcoin and blockchain, a technology that is bound to reorganize how we exchange value and manage money across the world. Considering the existing limitations of the current fiat systems and the big gap that is created by the unbanked people of the world, there is no better time for a technology such as this. Perhaps, yesterday could have actually been a better time.
In the past ten years, Bitcoin has grown from a simple whitepaper to a major subject of discussion around the world. It has undergone several processes that span the length and breadth of criticism and adoption. What many thought to be an impossible technology is becoming the basis of their future plans.
What Could You Have Done Without Email?
Imagine that you did not have an email address today. You would probably be cut off from the rest of the world because you will not be able to access the numerous solutions that currently exist on the internet. This same scenario could play out with Bitcoin and blockchain technology in the years to come.
There might come a time where not having a Bitcoin address would limit you from enjoying the available benefits of human existence. If you still think that is not possible, think of two decades ago when you did not have an email address.
Evolution is an intrinsic part of human existence. We are creatures that are designed to exist in constant change. The risk of refusing to evolve is total extinction. Sometimes, inventions come along that leave us no choice of living without them. The internet is a typical example, and the next layer of the internet is what we are beginning to experience with Bitcoin and blockchain technology.
Bitcoin is the Big Brother in Blockchain Technology
Many other solutions are springing up on the blockchain that may not be completely dependent on Bitcoin. You can compare this to the many messaging apps that we have today that are not completely dependent on the email. One thing you must remember is that before getting to these apps, you must have needed your email address at some point, either to sign up for the app, or to sign up for the device that enables the app. So the email is either the father, grandfather or great-grandfather of the current solution that you enjoy.
This is similar to the position of Bitcoin today in the blockchain industry. Just like the email, it is hard to totally write off Bitcoin, it is almost impossible. It may have its own limitations, but it still remains the big brother that supports all other solutions on the blockchain.
We are in another era of technological evolution, and everyone is bound to join the train sooner or later. One thing for sure is that in a few years from now, the mystery about Bitcoin and blockchain will disperse and humans will find regular ways of implementation in the mainstream. The Email changed how we transferred information across the world. Bitcoin and blockchain is changing how we transfer value between one another in a more inclusive way.
Iyke Aru is a seasoned author and educator in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. He has been in the business of crypto content writing for many years with thousands of his articles across several platforms on the internet. Iyke is based in Nigeria where he stands out as one of the most informed and credible figures in the cryptocurrency industry. Outside blockchain and crypto, you will most likely catch Iyke playing or discussing football with friends and family.