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What Crypto Can Learn From the Internet’s Playbook

The relationship between cryptocurrency and the internet is deeply ingrained in the digital foundation that characterizes our contemporary age.

A recent report from Architect Partners delves into how the internet’s evolutionary journey can provide valuable insights for the advancement of cryptocurrency. It draws parallels between the 28-year history of the internet and the initial 8 years of cryptocurrency development.

Authors Eric Risley and Arjun Mehra note, “These networks, on their own, may offer limited practical value, but much like a blank canvas inspires art, these networks have ignited the creation of numerous software applications.”

Risley and Mehra propose that cryptocurrency can glean valuable lessons from the internet’s historical trajectory, given their shared “familial DNA.”

This report’s relevance is underscored by the ongoing efforts of cryptocurrency to establish itself, despite garnering significant attention from traditional financial institutions (TradFi).

This topic is also explored in the recently published book by billionaire venture capitalist Chris Dixon, titled “Read Write Own: Constructing the Next Era of the Internet.”

The Internet’s Rollercoaster Ride in the Late ’90s

Initially, the internet may not have appeared promising, but it ultimately evolved into the cornerstone for a multitude of essential contemporary applications. In retrospect, it has become the fundamental infrastructure supporting numerous critical applications on which we depend today.

The report from Architect Partners underscores that the foundation for the internet was established in the 1960s. However, a dependable means for computers to communicate with one another was lacking. It wasn’t until March 1992 that the internet protocol suite TCP/IP finally bridged that gap.

Birth of Companies We Can’t Live Without Today

The evolutionary journey began with basic web pages and culminated in the emergence of platforms such as AOL, Yahoo, and Netscape in the mid-1990s, a period often referred to as Web1.

However, the narrative didn’t conclude at that juncture. In the late ’90s, the internet experienced a substantial influx of investment, driving technological innovation, widespread adoption of personal computers, and the creation of new software tools.

The authors noted, “During this time, some of today’s most prominent leaders were founded, including Amazon, Google, Salesforce, Equinix, Expedia, and Netflix.” Eventually, as the ’90s came to a close, over 400 million people were using the Internet on a daily basis.

Will Crypto Follow the Internet’s Path to Wide Acceptance?

Between 1995 and 2000, substantial investments flooded into internet companies, propelling the tech sector’s total value to a staggering $5.6 trillion by 1999. However, this internet boom came crashing down in the year 2000, vindicating the doubts of skeptics.

By the turn of the millennium, there was a noticeable shortage of risk capital, and the skeptics’ concerns seemed justified. A staggering 74% of what had appeared to be inflated value had evaporated by 2002.

Despite these formidable challenges, innovation continued to thrive. The likes of Facebook, YouTube, Skype, Workday, and DocuSign flourished by harnessing the capabilities of the internet. By 2006, it had become abundantly clear that the internet served as the cornerstone for nearly everything of value.

The authors of the report aptly noted, “What felt like a breakneck pace of innovation actually spanned 34 years – nearly half a lifetime.”

The report concludes with a fundamental question that lingers: Will cryptocurrency ultimately be embraced on a scale akin to the internet or will it remain an outlier?

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What we write about

I want to save money. Will cryptocurrency work?

Cryptocurrency is essentially virtual money that operates in a decentralized manner, not through a bank but directly on multiple independent computers.

Every cryptocurrency has two main components: the units of digital exchange called “coins” and the network within which the exchange takes place. These units can be transferred between wallets and exchanged on exchanges. The networks in which these coins exist are called blockchains, which translates to “chains of blocks.”

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