Technological advances take time. While it’s tempting to view cryptocurrency as cutting edge and the harbinger of dozens of fascinating use cases, the reality is that in terms of absolute development, crypto has not even taken off yet. Let’s have a look at how that can be, and what we can learn from the development of the internet to better understand where crypto is headed.
The Perez Surge Cycle
There is some debate about where cryptocurrency falls on the Perez Surge Cycle, a useful approximation for determining into what stage a technology exists. Some people claim that 2017 and early 2018 marked the frenzy period, with a parabolic bubble and media attention like never before.
However, a more conservative estimate is that crypto is in fact still in the gestation phase. Daniel Heyman, author of this post detailing why we haven’t yet seen the frenzy stage, makes the following claim, “2018 was not a Perez-style frenzy and bubble because it did not include key outcomes that are necessary to reach a turning point: significant infrastructure improvements and replicable business models.”
If Daniel is correct and we’re still in the gestation phase, it means the real frenzy and bubble will be larger than anything we’ve seen so far.
The Timeline to Mass Adoption
In about twenty-five years we went from nothing to more than half of the world’s population using the internet. It appears likely that crypto will at a minimum follow this growth pattern. However, what’s more likely is that crypto adoption will happen ever faster. Thanks to the internet development can take place at an accelerated rate and ideas can spread as fast as it takes to send an email.
If we consider crypto to be roughly at 1994 or 1995 levels of adoption, as compared to the internet, we can see that the number of users today is only a shadow of what it will be in just a few years. Adoption is not linear either, each year more people will get involved. It will take twice as long to go from zero to one billion users, as it will to go from one billion to two billion users.
The customer adoption phase graph shows how new products and services are adopted. When we use this graph to track crypto adoption it’s quite apparent that people using cryptocurrency today are among the first of the innovators.
Statista claims that at the end of 2018 there were 31 million crypto wallet users in the world. When compared to the world population of about 7.6 billion people, we can see that just .42% of people on this planet are involved with cryptocurrency.
What it All Means
Having determined that by almost any metric crypto is still in a very early stage of development, it’s easy to see that the growth that’s going to happen in the coming years and decades is going to take place on an unprecedented scale.
Each year more people are going to use crypto than the year before. As that happens there will be more developers improving the technology and those advances are going to lead to price rises that may be hard to even conceive of now.
While this bear market has been tough Joseph Lubin summed up the future of crypto perfectly when he said, “if you could see the landscape through my eyes, you would have to wear sunglasses.”
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