One of the many contentious questions about cryptocurrency is whether the technology can really shift paradigms and revolutionize the way the world views traditional concepts like money and value.
The power of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology is centered on complex algorithms crunched by computers to verify transactions and establish secure and reliable ledgers. But the power of crypto is also equally centered in the mind. Can we really create a reality where people earn crypto all the time and use it to get the resources they need?
Can we craft a world where we earn cryptocurrency just for powering up our smartphones and computers? For sharing our browsing habits on the internet with advertisers? For adding our computer and smartphone processing power to a worldwide supercomputer? For creating a popular song, a viral video, or killer content on social media? A world where we earn crypto around the clock – just for doing whatever we enjoy doing?
For the believers, the answer is yes. Projects like Basic Attention Token, Golem, Substratum, Steemit, Po.et and many more are working to make the above goals a reality. Yet, the seismic shift in the metaphorical, technological tide goes even further.
The New Paradigm Is Already Here
Employees at some of the biggest companies in the world are already getting paid in crypto. Banks are creating international payment systems on the blockchain. People are buying what they need with cryptocurrency and selling homes for Bitcoin. Countries are planning to run their entire governments on the technology. Medical researchers are creating secure networks to store patient data. And companies like Apple, Google, Coca-Cola, Porsche and Walmart are all building on the blockchain.
One of the most controversial aspects of cryptocurrency – the ICO – is a revolutionary sea change in its own right.
Initial coin offerings are notorious for fraud, and for good reason. They give everyday people from around the world a way to invest at the earliest stages of a company’s growth. No longer is the right to be an early investor in a cool new company open only to the 1% or for accredited/qualified investors with enough money and power to gain early access.
As ICOs continue to reel in billions of dollars in capital, and venture capital investment in blockchain startups continue to rise, investment banking revenue is falling at companies like JP Morgan Chase.
ICOs open the door to huge scams, require a massive amount of diligence and research, and inherently pose the risk that you may lose all your money. But even the naysayers of cryptocurrency know that cold hard cash and Wall Street didn’t stop the dot-com bust with fortunes lost, or prevent some of the biggest money scams in history.
Cryptocurrencies are a method of exchange, just as fiat is a method of exchange. As people keep being people, both methods may be preferable. Or maybe all of these new developments are a sign of things to come. Crypto could be building something entirely better – more sustainable, fair, equitable and less susceptible to fraud. The start of a new era. Time will tell.