In a way, it is both easy and natural to compare bitcoin with a whole range of things. For more than five years, which is half of the bitcoin network’s existence so far, it continues to be regularly compared to gold. This is mainly related to the way it is used to store value and always completely disregards the idea that BTC is also a means of transporting financial value. Besides this, there are also other comparisons that come to mind, but which are more related to the technology of blockchain and its general place in the modern world. Thanks to this, the issue of whether or not is bitcoin similar to the Internet in its early days.
Currently, the issue is divisive in the crypto community, but also outside of it. For many of the cryptocurrency evangelist, the two technologies bear an uncanny similarity in many different ways. However, other analysts and even some in the crypto development circles think that the similarities might not be as important as many evangelists believe them to be. Here is an overview of this interesting notion and how its implication might not just affect the way the past is understood but also what can the said past showcase about the coming future of cryptocurrencies.
The Start of the WWW
There are no fixed definitions when precisely did the World Wide Web became an accessible service instead of being one limited to universities and a handful of individuals. However, 1991 is held by many as the year when WWW went live for everyone. In the first decade, this ecosystem grew much faster and it pulled in more users than bitcoin accomplished in the same period. Lucky for any comparative analysis, there is a precise date when did the bitcoin network goes live. The same occurred in 2009 and the network recently reached the milestone of being a decade old. However, the internet goes a lot further back.
In 1994, the influential New York Times stated that many companies are in a rush to set up their presence on the WWW. This happened in spite of the fact that the same online experience was both, as the NYT labeled it, crude and slow. Here is the first similarity between the early internet and blockchain – both ran into big problems with scalability. The article from 1994 shows that the internet was demonstrating some signs of its own success. Popular databases are under constant pressure from an always-growing population of users. At the same time, again reminiscent of the modern age, many businesses were already working on putting up pay walls and measures for paid content distribution.
To them, the fact that the core infrastructure was weak did not hamper their desire to monetize the same crowded space. Also, the insiders and analysts were aggressively bullish on the future of the internet. In 1995, some predicted disposable digital products that would be defined on a pay-per-use principle. This shows that the state of any infrastructure does not need to necessarily align with the true state of the same field, Instead, the perception of value is all that is needed to define the pathway of a certain market, even though it sometimes, like in this case, led straight to the catastrophe of the dot-com bubble.
Elements of Usability
Through the uncertainty that was on the horizon for the early internet, there was another big and important element – its usability. The same parallel can be created with cryptocurrencies today. Yes, the bubble of the late 1990s was growing and developing, similar to the inflated prices of crypto that started forming in 2017. The value of both entities was about to drop significantly at that moment and the cycle repeated to a lesser degree for the internet. It will repeat itself for the cryptocurrencies once a new full bull run forms on the price charts.
However, the dot-com bubble did not erase the fact that the internet was a revolution for the domains of communication, commerce, education, and marketing in those years. It did not take long for these elements to establish themselves in the general culture and once they were there, there was no going back. This applies to bitcoin as well. Today, esports and many other organizations, as well as individuals, use cryptocurrencies because it provides them with a lot of benefits. Further, in many locations across the world, it offers a frog leap towards banking possibilities that many never had. No one needs a bank account to get and send bitcoin or to hold it in their personal digital wallet.
Ease of Adoption
One thing is undeniable – the early internet had some big hurdles when it came to adoption, but these were minuscule to those that are facing cryptocurrencies. These are much more complex for ordinary users in terms not just their technical elements, but also the way anyone actually employs them.
While it was easy to show anyone in 1996 how they can visit a media website and use the internet as a physical newspaper, using bitcoin does not have any kind of parallel to that most basic kind of adoption. This is unrelated to the price of bitcoin or any other such factor, but only the sheer user-friendliness.
Long Road Ahead
In the end, the comparison of these two entities is important because it shows that even one of the most important things in the modern world had a rocky path of getting there. The same can be expected from bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as well, along with the possibility that their road will be even longer.
However, the benefits are unmistakable and just as with the early internet, they will only grow in size and relevance. At the same time, this does not mean that the process will be painless or that it will not include some serious hurdles. Crypto winters are just some of them, but they will also encompass many others in possibly in the near and certainly in the distant future. Yet, there is no doubt that the journey will continue no matter what.