What will crypto look like in 10 years?

Tuesday 07 July 2015

Will bitcoin make it? What will become of blockchain tech? Here’s an interesting set of predictions from William Mougayar of Startup Management.

‘Cryptocurrency-only banks will emerge, offering a variety of financial services based on virtual currencies… Digital or hardware e-wallets will become mainstream, or embedded in smartphones and wearables... There will be 10 widely and commonly used, global virtual currencies that will be considered mainstream, and their total market value will exceed $5 Trillion dollars, and represent 5% of the world’s $100 Trillion economy in 2025 (Bitcoin will still be the largest one of them).’

Read also: 21: step forward or back? 

These are just three of the predictions from a recent article, The Next 10 Years: 42 Macro Predictions in Cryptography, Blockchains and Consensus Protocols. It’s a high-level view of what might happen in the cryptocurrency sector in the next decade, and why.

Crystal ball

Yep, that's definitely a blockchain in there.

The author, William Mougayar, has a background in start-ups and venture capital. He holds - accurately, in my opinion - that the emerging suite of technologies we might call ‘Crypto tech’ will have an effect broadly analogous to that which ‘Info tech’ had on traditional businesses at the dawn of the internet, now some 20 years ago. These areas of impact fall into four main categories:

  • New Internet-only companies have emerged.
  • Existing organizations (and governments) have adopted the Internet inside their operations.
  • Some industries were threatened by the Internet, and it radically changed them or hurt them.
  • Web-based software development became a staple for any software application development.

We’re likely to see a similar picture with blockchain technology, which includes but is not limited to financial protocols such as bitcoin.

Few of Mougayar’s predictions are as specific as his belief that bitcoin will remain the undisputed king in 2025, and that the top 10 digital currencies will have a total market cap of over $5 trillion. (And, indeed, if anyone tells you the precise future of anything crypto-related, especially 10 years away, take it with a truckload of salt.) Instead, he places his insights within a relevant framework - that of the internet on the 1990s business landscape - and takes a broad-brush approach that is a welcome change from some of the finger-in-the-wind stuff we’ve seen from those hawking their own vested interests over the past couple of years. Rather than focus on a single application or technology, he paints a picture of how life might be different.

‘Global remittances will be routinely performed from smartphones or computers, and as easily done as sending an email... Healthcare medical records will be instantly and permanently shared between patients and doctors, securely and routinely... Any business that doesn’t combine its real-world information into a blockchain (just like the Web mirrors and extends an existing business into the online and mobile worlds) will be threatened. Writing decentralized applications will become as popular as writing Web apps today.’

It’s a brave new world in the making, and it’s happening faster than most people ever thought possible. Again.


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