Internet and Bitcoin: comparison between two hated technologies

It was 1989. The Berlin wall collapsed, and the cold war ended.

USA created the “Net” twenty years earlier, in 1969 (when it was still called “Arpanet), with the aim of using it even in case of nuclear war. But at that point, there it was not any risk of nuclear war and USA decided to give Internet to the humanity.

Arpanet map in 1969 (source: CSUDH.edu)

On 1990 Arpanet disappeared, on 1991 the World Wide Web was born, on 1993 the first browser appeared, and on 1996 already ten million of computers were connected on internet.

On 1999, connected users are already over two hundred million, Naspter comes out, and the world realizes the Internet existence, ceasing to be just a “game for nerd” but instead, it began to become “mainstream”.

BUT IT’S SCARY…

The Cypherpunks Ten Prophets (source: Medium)

Firsts barricades have begun to form against this new disruptive technology spread, which threatens habits and traditional businesses. Starting from the music business, literally put on their knees by Napster and from the music sharing software based on P2P networks.

Here we are, with P2P networks which is threatening traditional institutions. Today, on 2018, the history seems to repeat itself.

Bitcoin Genesis Block (source: Bitcoin Wiki)

Bitcoin was born in 2009 as a “Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”, a decentralized payment system based on P2P network, where a new currency is created (bitcoin, or BTC). Few years later, first exchanges appeared, where it is possible to change fiat currencies (dollars, yen, euro) into bitcoins, or other cryptocurrencies, then e-wallets for smartphones, and on 2018 Lightning Network arrived to make transactions quick and cheap. To date, April 2018, the number of people using cryptocurrencies worldwide is close to 30 million, roughly the number of people using Internet between 1996 and 1999.

Parallelism seems perfect, especially if it is observed it from the point of view of innovation: Internet has been disruptive as much as cryptocurrencies appear to be today in relation to traditional finance.

Even at that moment, around 1999, many people were worried about the damage that Internet would have caused to human society, and we know well how it ended. Indeed, the same people who protested at that time, today probably can no longer live without WhatsApp!

2017 has been for Bitcoin what the year 1999 was for Internet. The year in which technology begin to become mainstream, threatening the habits of millions of people. However, as well as for Internet, cryptocurrencies fundamentally threaten too, but just for improving people’s lives. In about twenty years, we will probably remember with sympathy the year of 2017, when Bitcoin has started to reveal its real potential, and most likely we will do it while we make an online purchase paying with cryptocurrencies, or after having filled up with electricity our car with an automatic payment of a token, like IOTA token.

CONCLUSION

History is repeating itself, almost in the identical way. Both basic technologies (decentralized computer network) are the same, both phenomenon sizes are the same, and even both speeds of diffusion are similar. Even people and society reaction is practically the same: before you not pretend nothing because it is considered only a “game for nerd”, after you start to observe the news with interest, after with amazement, then with fear, even with terror.

Then, we realize that the process is unstoppable and indisputable, and all those who fall behind, they will be destroyed. Maybe, when you decide that it is appropriate to take a serious interest in the matter, you figured out that the new technology has already arrived everywhere, and you end up using it without even noticing it.

Internet was born and developed, it has arrived and has been established almost everywhere. The exact same thing is happening to cryptocurrencies.

CREDITS

This article was originally written in Italian by Marco Cavicchioli and translated in English by Stefania Stimolo for NovaMining.

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