BLOCKCHAIN AS INTERNET 3.0
Blockchain technology, having existed for over a decade, is still experiencing early-stage adoption. Recent data suggests that the adoption curve of cryptocurrencies resembles the early stages of the internet in the 1990s, providing insight into the potential future of mass adoption.
In the case of the internet, adoption rates took decades to soar. Only 1% of the global population and 14% of Americans were using the internet by 1995, despite its invention in 1983. Experts propose that these numbers mirror the current rates of cryptocurrency adoption.
Updated data from triple-a.io reveals that by 2023, nearly 4.5% of the world’s population had become crypto users, with the total number of users exceeding 450 million.
The report emphasizes a shared factor among users approaching new technologies in their early stages. Many require time to “figure out what the technology is, what it can do, and how it can benefit them.” For crypto, data indicates that newcomers perceive the space as being in its early adoption stage, as they find the technology intimidating and use cases unclear.
Nonetheless, the adoption rates of cryptocurrencies could follow a similar trajectory to other advanced technologies, particularly the internet. The internet’s inflection point of hyper-adoption occurred in the mid-to-late 1990s. After a slow start in the early 1990s, internet use skyrocketed from 77 million in 1996 to 412 million in 2000. By 2010, global internet use had grown to 1.98 billion, and as of 2023, it sits at approximately 5.3 billion.
A Wells Fargo report presents a chart comparing the growth of internet adoption from 1993 to the present and the rise in crypto users since 2014. Experts contend that cryptocurrency use today might even be slightly ahead of the mid-to-late 1990s internet, indicating a strong likelihood of escalating adoption that could soon reach a hyper-inflection point.
As the adoption of this new technology transitions into the early majority, more investors are likely to overcome their apprehension of the crypto industry. With increasing demand, the value is anticipated to surge. However, the absence of a clear regulatory framework for the industry may hinder the path toward adoption, deterring investors and consumers. Nevertheless, governments can no longer afford to ignore the issue, and regulatory clarity is expected to arrive soon enough, further driving adoption.
In conclusion, blockchain technology is being adopted in a manner akin to the internet in the 1990s. The adoption curve is in its early stages, but as adoption progresses into the early majority, more widespread adoption can be anticipated. Challenges, such as the lack of clear regulation, remain to be addressed. However, governments and consumers cannot overlook this new technology much longer.