In 1965, TIME magazine made some interesting predictions about the future of computing. One in particular stands out because it could yet come true.
“Many scientists hope that in time the computer will allow man to return to the Hellenic concept of leisure, in which the Greeks had time to cultivate their minds and improve their environment while slaves did all the labor. The slaves, in modern Hellenism, would be the computers.”
What was missing from this optimistic forecast was how society might store and trade the value its virtual slaves created. Fast forward to 2009 and the introduction of Bitcoin.
Less than a decade after its introduction, the value of Bitcoin now sits at more than $500 USD and it has the very real potential of growing by double digit percentages within just a few months.
There are several reasons for the explosive growth of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general over the past several years, but one of the most significant is growing distrust in governments and central banks. From China’s yuan devaluation (which experts agree is far from over) to the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing, the future of fiat currency is as uncertain as ever, and as the value of fiat currencies decrease, the value of cryptocurrencies will increase.
Humanity has witnessed many seismic shifts in its history, such as the move from monarchy to democracy and from accepting slavery to acknowledging human rights, and the transition from the current hodgepodge of unbacked fiat currencies to the stability of cryptocurrencies may well be an equally significant transformation.
A future based on cryptocurrency may be the start of the vision TIME explored more than a half century ago. This currency can be integrated directly into computers and the internet in what is already being termed the “machine payable web.” Beyond the reach of governments, cryptocurrencies will trade hands with few if any transaction fees and will provide a way for instant and nearly infinitely divisible currency transfers.
In such a world, any action for which there is even a slight demand will have the potential to generate a profit. Playing games, solving puzzles, doing work, viewing ads, and donating surplus processing power for research could all serve as ways for our virtual slaves to generate the virtual currency which may soon power our world.
The future of automatic and easy value creation needs a stable and reliable form of value storage and transfer. Cryptocurrencies are the answer to this growing demand. It’s not just the future of money, it’s the future of mankind.