Why Cryptocurrencies Will Make the Next Decade Billionaires
If you look at the Forbes billionaires list, you will sure notice the omnipresence of Tech and Finance tycoons. Fashion and retail owners, who once were leading this ranking, are now sliding down from the first seats.
A Bit of History
Cryptocurrencies were created about 10 years ago by cypherpunks, crypto-anarchists or libertarians in a political movement of rejection of banks. If I want to give you some money, why do we have to depend on some central authority or third-party to execute this exchange? Why do we have to wait two days for this transfer to be completed for true? Why can’t this transfer be instant and unknown from the central state just like it would be if I gave you some bills?
During years, it remained a fully unregulated Far West where geeks were mining and exchanging coins on a network for the sake of it. Some major hacks, from MtGox to CoinCheck, were reported from times to times but only impacted a tiny number of sorcerer’s apprentices. No big deal in the public opinion. Then came the 2017 rally, when Bitcoin went above $20,000 and then attracted light onto it for the first time. In April 2021, it reached an all-time high at $62,000.
It Is Now Changing
Cryptocurrencies are now attracting massive amounts of cash, and the total market capitalization recently went above 2 trillion dollars in April 2021. Stocks global market capitalization is about 90 trillion. Trading tools are also being built: Options, margin trading, leverage factors, stable coins. From an anarchist project it has become an asset just like the many others. Regulators are also showing up. Some cryptocurrencies are now officially registered at SEC. ICOs have been very popular in the last three years as a mean to raise capital as opposed to venture capital and bank funding for startups. There are now specific instructions in the tax forms on how to declare our gains on cryptocurrencies.
But we are still at the very beginning of the story and blockchain technology is much more than cryptocurrency. The use cases are many and various.
The blockchain that is behind Bitcoin was the first generation (started in 2009) and works basically like a secured and distributed database. Its aim was to solve the question of trusting a network of actors when you don’t trust anyone of them individually. It is a Distributed Ledger where all moves or transactions are recorded and cannot be tampered.
The second generation of blockchain that is behind the Ethereum (started in 2015) tried to solve some issues from Bitcoin’s chain, it is slow and resource-consuming, and introduced the smart contracts. They are distributed apps. When the first generation was a database, the second adds the process of these data and widely opens the fields of possibilities: from diplomas to deeds, from traceability to ownership.
Thousands of startups, in the Valley and all around the world, are exploring this new West searching for the Eldorado. Who will find a few nuggets? Who will climb to the top? I wish I knew, but I alas cannot tell. But blockchain technology is for sure going to disrupt many long-established industries and institutions in the coming decade.