Cryptocurrency and the Killer App
Merchants and consumers are not what will ever make Bitcoin and blockchains a success. The vision of a decentralized ledger goes way beyond just posing a challenge to paypal, credit cards, Western Union, etc. It is incredible how revolutionary it is for the economy, especially at this time in history.
Of course, many people regard the Silk Road being the initial killer app because it demonstrated a use of Bitcoin to address a fundamental problem that many have- the high risk of trading in gray and black markets. But that is obviously limited in scope because not everyone deals in those markets. For everything else, there’s Mastercard- centralized systems will always win the payments race.
The true value of blockchain technology can be seen through the context of what I understand as the motivation of Bitcoin’s initial development- the last financial crisis. It was a smoking gun, final proof that we can no longer trust the incumbent, monolithic governmental and financial institutions as stewards of the rule of law and a supposedly equitable and non-rigged economy. Now we have a technology to challenge the status-quo that led to that disaster, and it doesn’t even require politicians and regulators to function.
In my opinion, what will bring Bitcoin and blockchain technology to the global mainstream won’t necessarily be an endless stream of apps filling out the “long-tail” as is often described (though it will help!). It will be when businesses take to the new ways of doing business with far less overhead sucking everything away from the productive economy because of fraud or barriers to entry. When supply chain transactions are being done with cryptocurrency and blockchains, when crypto credit markets and crowdfunding through cryptoequity keep opening up new avenues for financing and reach critical mass, we can finally demonstrate how this technology can replace the traditional financial underpinnings of society that has become obsolete and detrimental.
The true cryptocurrency killer app will be the crypto-economy itself and the business conducted with it.