- >A Look at Five Massive Changes to Crypto Over the Last Decade
A Look at Five Massive Changes to Crypto Over the Last Decade
There is no doubt about it, crypto has changed since Bitcoin started in 2009. Unless you’ve been in it the whole time, it may be hard to tell exactly what has changed, and whether or not it’s been for the better.
There are definitely folks within the industry that will tell you that things would have been better if Bitcoin were the only crypto ever invented. Others will say that the diversity of assets creates a rich, thriving ecosystem not dissimilar to biological diversity found in the Amazon rainforest. In this article, we will explore 5 ways that cryptocurrency has changed in the last 10 years.
Keegan Francis | Apr 14, 2021
There Are Way More Tokens
There are more tokens now than ever before, with more being created everyday. Not only are there more tokens, but there are more token types. NFTs, DeFi Governance Tokens, stablecoins, and synthetic assets just to name a few.
I am personally grateful for the plethora of tokens. I think that the experimentation with creating other assets will lead to broad-reaching financial prosperity. I believe this because innovation in general has led to a higher quality of life in general. That being said, there are a lot of tokens that were created for the sole purpose of pump and dumps, or scams. One thing that hasn’t changed in the last 10 years, is how cautious one needs to be.
Bitcoin is Much More Mature
Bitcoin has matured on virtually every dimension it can be measured on. The Bitcoin hash rate is higher, the number of connected nodes is higher, and the number of Bitcoin holders has increased. When talking about price, we see similar maturity. Bitcoin’s volatility index according to analyst Willy Woo is much lower than it was during the 2017 bull run. In other words, the price is climbing higher, the network is becoming more stable, and we are seeing less volatility than ever before. Ten years ago, few could imagine a world where Bitcoin didn’t experience 80% swings in the price.
The Bitcoin lightning network is well underway and is hailed to be the solution to scale Bitcoin. Ten years ago, people didn’t really even know that Bitcoin had a scaling problem that needed to be solved. The lightning network was ideated and proposed in 2015, and then launched in BETA in March 2018. In 2021, the lightning network is growing, but not as fast as other viral phenomena such as NFTs. Nonetheless, its growth is inline with a core ethos of Bitcoin, “slowly, then suddenly”. One day we’ll wake up and the lightning network will be the predominant method for transacting with Bitcoin. This will be a hallmark in the maturation process for Bitcoin as it is aimed at solving high fees, and low transaction throughput for the network.
It is Way Easier to Buy Crypto Now
There are countless ways to acquire Bitcoin in 2021. Dozens of exchanges exist in almost every country of the world. It is still possible to acquire cryptocurrencies in countries where bans or heavy regulations have been put in place. Take India or Nigeria for example, P2P trading is at an all time high because of the regulations. These countries can shut down exchanges, but shutting down each and every holder is a much more difficult task.
In the rest of the world, exchange infrastructure is only getting better. Early exchanges were subject to hacks (MtGox) and just generally poor user experience. Now, exchanges are multi-billion dollar enterprises offering institutional-grade services to their clients. Hacks are becoming more rare, and these exchanges are even securing insurance in the event of an untimely breach in their security. All of this suggests that crypto exchanges are establishing legitimacy in an industry that was notorious for fueling illegitimate activity.
More Ways to Use Cryptocurrency
The cryptocurrency space is now made up of much more than the exchanges and the end users. There are companies offering a whole range of services to end users of cryptocurrency.
Lolli for example offers cashback in Bitcoin for purchases at hundreds of popular companies such as Nike, and Home Depot. If we look to companies like Binance and Crypto.com, they tend to look more like crypto banks than crypto exchanges. When browsing their service offerings, we can see that we have access to dozens of financial services.
Not only can we buy cryptocurrency from them, but we can also borrow and lend. We can stake our tokens and bypass the technical knowledge required to stake “on-chain”. These companies offer a crypto VISA Debit card where we can spend cryptocurrency from our accounts directly. Rewards and incentives are abundant as cryptocurrency projects that are a part of the ecosystem vie for the attention of consumers. What it ends up creating is a rich and diverse ecosystem wherein there are endless ways to spend and use your cryptocurrency.
Smart Contracts Have Expanded What is Possible
We mentioned above that there exists several new types of cryptocurrencies (ex. NFTs, Stablecoins). These types of tokens are made possible by smart contracts, an innovation that Ethereum is responsible for bringing to the mainstream. Smart contracts are not only responsible for creating new types of tokens, but also creating new ways for individuals to financially interact with one another. DeFi illustrates this example quite nicely. Users no longer need third parties in order to perform complex financial agreements such as loaning and trading. Smart contracts can now provide the trust layer of any financial contract. Loans can be given out in stablecoin upon the locking of collateral.
Outside of the world of finance, companies are planning on applying smart contracts to a range of different use cases. Supply chain management, automated invoice payment, and data verification to name a few. Ten years ago there simply was no discussion about how the technology supporting cryptocurrency could be applied in other areas. Now, smart contracts, and private blockchains are dominating conversations in boardrooms such as Walmart and FedEx.
How Will Crypto Change in the Next 10 Years?
This decade will be looked back upon as the 10 year span where cryptocurrencies earned their place in the world. They will demonstrate their potential through their ability to perform in global financial markets. This will be the decade where Bitcoin becomes a money by solidifying its position as a Store of Value, and maturing as a Medium of Exchange, and Unit of Account.
A dominant smart contract platform such as Cardano, or Ethereum will emerge as the victor and be the primary platform for DeFi. We will see a billion users join the cryptocurrency industry as savers, traders, and hobby investors. Lastly, at the end of this decade, we can celebrate Bitcoin’s 21st birthday on January 3rd, 2030.