The Bitcoin bubble has burst more spectacularly than even the dot.com bubble’s demise. But while cryptocurrencies are in chaos, blockchain – the tech that drives them – is merely in need of technology marketing to make people aware how it can change all of our lives.
The value of Bitcoin and its rival currencies has plunged 80 per cent since January, a deeper and faster fall than the dot-com crisis in 2000.
Back then, big business had got excited by the prospect of making money on that-there new-fangled internet. Not understanding quite what they were getting into, they paid ridiculous prices for businesses that hadn’t sold a thing. Share prices soared – but profits didn’t. The scale of the losses was huge.
Take, for example, the fledgling, pre-broadband, pre-YouTube video service Broadcast.com. Bought by web pioneers Yahoo! for $5.7billion dollars, it shut up shop in 2002 – three years before YouTube transformed the way we watch.
Where the first wave floundered, the second wave succeeded. The internet didn’t die because of the dot-com bubble. It learned from its mistakes. The world’s first two $1 trillion companies, Apple and Amazon, are entirely reliant on it, for goodness sake.
Benefits of blockchain
And this is where I see an opportunity for technology marketing to make people aware of the true benefits of blockchain, and the services it can provide.
For all the cryptocurrency hype – remember, one Bitcoin was worth $19,783 at its peak in December 2017 – all blockchain is an extremely secure ledger of transactions. But it can be personal to you, thus eliminating the middlemen who keep the world working at the moment; the institutions who make money out of simply knowing about you.
I see blockchain revolutionising banking and business in general as it takes power over personal data out of the hands of big corporations. But first, the basics.
Blockchain and Bitcoin are completely separate things – but Bitcoin wouldn’t exist without blockchain.
Blockchain is a database that is hosted across a multitude of different locations, not held in one central location. “Mined” using computer power to produce mathematically complicated numbers, its encryption makes it a secure way of doing anything on the web.
Think about how banks work in the digital age. We all need an account. Our bank is privy to our data, it knows what goes out and what comes in, where our money comes from and where it is going. It is holding the ledger and only it should have that data.
But because the bank holds the data, it holds all of the power over us. It could easily “lose” our data. We are subject the bank’s rules and regulations, and that puts the bank at an advantage.
No one holds all the power
Cryptocurrencies already get around this. The beauty of blockchain is that it’s not a centralised system. It’s hosted across a multitude of different servers. No one person or institution holds all the power over your data – you have the only key and the data is yours.
There are already start-ups using blockchain to license content online, from words to photos and video. As a result, people will no longer be able to pass off others’ work as their own as the blockchain embedded in it will allow the creator to trace their work and claim payment for it.
The market for blockchain is in its infancy right now and once technology marketing helps people get their head around what it really is and really does, they will start adopting it.
People will realise the power of having control of their own data and that will change everything from how we do business to how we book flights.
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