At this point in time, comparing the Bitcoin cryptographic market with the first days of the Internet is trivial because both phenomena are examples of new technologies. But perhaps it is worth wondering if this is at all reasonable. And if so, what should we improve in order not to suffer some of the failures experienced by the first Internet users.
Internet – the birth
Some difficulties are already associated with determining when to count the start of the Internet. Since the genesis when something we can call the prototype of the network was developed? Then we would have to go back to the 1980s (or even earlier). However, the literature recognises that the year 1990 is a certain start of the web.
During the first decade, the ecosystem developed faster than today’s cryptocurrencies. Those who lived in the second half of the 1990s and the first two thousand years remember that already then you could meet internet cafés on Polish streets. Not to mention the school gods – people who had a permanent link at home and could burn your favourite band’s discography on CD.
In 1994, the New York Times reported that companies were “racing” to set up their own online store. And this despite the fact that the first Internet users then confirmed that the Internet is “slow” and “raw”. Like today’s blockchain technology, early Internet companies had problems with scaling. A 1994 Times article described the Internet as something “showing signs of suffering from its own success”. Doesn’t that remind you of something again? Maybe the end of 2017, when BTC and ETH networks were clogged up under the influence of excessive transactions?
During the first decade it became clear that the Internet could be used in trade, interpersonal communication, marketing and education. Companies have been established that use it to generate profits. Initially modest…
Christopher Allen of Blockstream has now told Coindesk that he is “concerned” about the lack of adoption of Bitcoin on the market and the immoral success of Lightning Network.
“Lightning Network could potentially be the tool with which you can buy steak and bread,” said Allen. He added that it doesn’t matter until ordinary citizens – and not Hawkins – start using BTC in their daily lives.
Is he all right? Frankly, the cryptocurrencies have already proved their worth. But you have to look at the matter further and look at the markets of Central or South America or even Africa. There BTCs and ETHs save people’s lives because they are a storehouse of values in times of crazy inflation. The Internet was born in developed countries, digital currencies are gaining in importance at the start in developing countries.
The roots of the community
However, bitcoin may be considered to be lagging behind the Internet in terms of commercial use. On the other hand, it probably outclasses it in terms of the community built around it.
In 2001, the New York Times described Internet services such as email and chat rooms as platforms for building relationships with colleagues and classmates. Startups were pioneers of video and music streaming services.
One group on the Yahoo platform reportedly included 600 people “exchanging hundreds of messages a month about bankruptcy proceedings, health insurance and the fate of their retirement plans. This can be compared to modern crypto communities that write on forums, GitHub and social platforms like Twitter.
According to Allen, who previously focused on basic Internet protocols, the Internet was also designed to give users “more freedom of choice” – although by consolidating large technologies around the giants of the market, it ultimately failed to achieve this vision.
In this respect, Bitcoin is much closer to this idea. It has even become a political theme, which confirms the strength of its community. An example? In 2017, demonstrations took place in South Korea, whose organisers and participants demanded the resignation of the Minister of Justice, who in turn wanted to ban the crypto in the country. History rather does not know of any cases where people joined forces to fight for it in the early days of the Internet.
BTC will help the Internet?
Some programmers believe that blockcain and BTC can still help decentralize the network.
“Protocols could have much more flexibility in terms of the types of security measures needed, etc., and the operation of a central certification body (CA) could be designed along the way… You could choose which CA you trust”.
– tells Allen about the idea itself.
Marco Peereboom, a Dell graduate and Linux fan, who is now also head of new systems development at Decred, agrees with Allen that the Internet was built by idealistic young people who wanted to “lift humanity. (Not unlike today’s cryptic followers).
“I am very disappointed with the current situation,” he told Peereboom. “I didn’t expect how much [evil] government would do. … More cryptography would bring much good and more support on the Internet.”
Today, Allen’s focus is on user-friendly but secure key management and identity standards based on blockchain.
“As long as the Internet doesn’t move away from a model based on sponsored ads, it will only get worse,” Peereboom said.
“I believe that anonymous payments are an essential function of any cryptographer. I hope we don’t make the same mistake twice. But I really believe that cryptographers can change the world.”
– he added.
From the perspective of experienced programmers such as Peereboom, many of whom are now focusing on altcoin projects, Bitcoin’s weakness is how difficult it is to update BTC software. He believes that there must be a golden mean between “continuous change and almost impossible change”.
“Writing error-free software simply doesn’t happen,” he told Peereboom. “You need a mechanism to deal with consensus changes.”
Internet and crypto
So, as you can see, the cryptographers are not in a worse position than the Internet when it started. The information that during the first decade of its existence it developed faster than BTC is not entirely true. It may well be that it has been present in the everyday life of ordinary citizens faster, but a wider application and adoption could be seen only a dozen or so years after its launch (if we stick to the year 1990, although this date may also raise doubts). Anyway, if you are at least 30 years old today (if you are less, ask your parents or older siblings about it), you remember how the market for digital sales was born, sharing files over the network or what a feat it was like to have a permanent connection in your own apartment. Not to mention how this link in practice often – from our current perspective – worked badly.
In general, bitcoin will probably go the same way as the Internet. Anyway, like any other brilliant invention. It is also possible that eventually the crypto ones will become a form of improvement of the Internet, improving its anonymity in terms of payment. In the age of cookies or harsh advertising, it can be a salvation.