If 2017 was the year of Bitcoin, then 2018 is going to be the year blockchain technology disrupts the technology world forever.
Ethereum, the leading blockchain platform and catalyst for the rampant number of decentralized applications and blockchain-based platforms, has proven over the past 6 months that it is far from a fad. It is more than a trend. And it is everything the Internet always wanted to be: a fair and public way to store and transfer information.
Especially in lieu of the escalating conversations surrounding net neutrality, there has never been a more poignant time for blockchain technology.
Many compare today’s blockchain revolution to the dot-com boom in the 90s.
In many ways, they are similar.
Hardly anyone understood what “the Internet” was back in the 90s, and despite all the media attention around Bitcoin and blockchain-based ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings), very few people truly understand the purpose they serve—or what sort of future they can create.
A great example? Think about how many new companies in the 90s added “dot com” to their names solely for the purpose of perception.
We’re now seeing the same happen with the blockchain, with brands like Long Island Iced Tea changing its name to “Long Blockchain Corp.” The company saw an instant rise in its stock price of a whopping 200%, according to CNBC.
These are the sorts of stories that perpetuate the belief that cryptocurrencies and “this blockchain thing” are nothing but bubbles waiting to burst.
Here’s why they’re not—and why 2018 will be Ethereum’s moment of maturity.
If you look at how much money was raised through ICOs in 2017 alone, the $1.2 billion (reported in August) exceeded what was raised through conventional venture capital. This happened the same year that Ethereum was priced a mere $20, and it’s big brother Bitcoin had yet to cross even $800.
Compare that to where they both stand, and there’s no sense in even citing their current price—because by the time you read this, the price will have gone up again. Ethereum especially is proving itself to be the network that is allowing for handfuls upon handfuls of decentralized applications to be created, many of which are raising funds through ICOs.
As more platforms are built, more money will be raised. As more money is raised, bigger and better platforms will be built. And so on, and so forth, reinforcing Ethereum’s value at an exponential rate.
Why this is not the dot-com boom established financiers want to believe it to be is because of two major differences:
First, you couldn’t buy in and out of companies. You made an investment in an Internet company, and then you waited. But with Ethereum, you can buy in, you can buy out, and you can use your Ether to buy in and out of the decentralized applications built upon it. It’s a marketplace, not a slow and rickety investment vehicle.
Second, when people bought into Internet companies in the 90s, they were speculating on one company. One team. One horse in a much larger race. But when people buy into Ethereum, they are buying into the entire race itself—and all the horses, all the teams, all the companies building on its technology. For every user gained, that’s another person sitting at the table saying, “I believe in this.”
A decade from now we will call this “the blockchain boom.”
True momentum hasn’t even begun yet—but it’s about to.
For example: ShipChain is a blockchain platform aiming to disrupt the severely outdated world of freight and logistics shipping—and already has a partnership formed with Perdue Farms. This is an industry that hasn’t moved (pun intended) in decades, and is now poised for an unprecedented disruption by implementing blockchain capabilities and efficiencies.
A different example is Dragonchain, a blockchain platform, incubator, and marketplace that acts as an open-source ecosystem for other blockchain projects, aiming to spark and further mass adoption. Think of Dragonchain is a catalyst for dozens upon dozens of other disruptive blockchain platforms, making the tools easier and more accessible to developers and innovative minds.
If ShipChain is an example of a company that is using the blockchain to disrupt an industry, then Dragonchain is an example of the whole other slew of blockchain platforms that will be built solely for the purpose of making it easier for entrepreneurs and innovators to leverage the blockchain.
In 2018, we will see both of these kinds of platforms—industry specific and blockchain adoption—exponentially increase. And as they do, we are going to witness a tidal wave of innovation. The difference between now and the dot-com boom, however, is that at the end, there won’t be a crash. There will be no bubble to burst at all.
There will only be a long list of companies that failed to keep up.