The advent of Bitcoin, a few years ago, and the consequent boom in its popularity has been nothing short of a fairy tale. Bitcoin’s creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, provided the world with a platform where they could instantly transfer money, indulge in financial transactions under the shroud of privacy, free of charge. He achieved this feat by anonymizing the transactions, and having the system in the control of its, now 24 million active users, as an alternative to a system managed by a Central Bank. Nine years later, the value of Bitcoin rose from 1 Bitcoin = 1 USD to as high as $19,700 in late 2017.
In the highly globalized world that we now live in, keeping an idea behind closed doors is increasingly difficult. I can’t even go anywhere without anyone finding out, goddammit! They’re onto us!!
Where intellectual property rights exist, they do not offer enough protection to publicized business schemes, point in case, cryptocurrency. No one can copy a bitcoin, but they can definitely copy the blockchain technology itself. With the rise of any new technology in a competitive market, people are sure to follow suit. If, there was a way to take over the blockchain industry, particularly Bitcoin, how would one go about it? Well, there are three possible ways that Bitcoin could dominate our lives:
Scenario A: Multiple alternatives to Bitcoin
Companies already offer their own gift cards, and it is only a matter of time, where your local Starbucks would come up with something dubbed Star“bucks”. Their version of a blockchain currency, that can be used to buy coffee. This, experts say, would give rise to a barter economy. To some, this might sound like going back to the stone ages, but now that we have an efficient network, tokenized goods and services, backed by blockchain, would make the whole process extremely efficient.
The middleman business model is already a popular scheme, evident from the rise of Uber and Airbnb. Similar industries would aid harmonizing the barter experience. If your corner shop would not accept Apple shares, a middleman could help you broker a deal, and provide the corner shop guy with a coin they accept. The ball has already been set in motion; in January, Kodak announced a new coin, that photographers can use to license the rights to their photography.
Scenario B: Centralised control by governments
A lot of people have moved towards a cashless way of living. Contactless bank cards and Apple Pay, have made it easier to go cashless. With more and more people not having to go to a cash machine, to get cash to pay for their coffee, it is only a while before governments totally phase out physical cash. Leading central banks of the world have already started researching about cashless options for their citizens.
The major difference in operating this system would be that instead of unaffiliated peers, the government’s blockchain currency would be controlled by the central bank of a country. To get people to shift from cash to these new coins, all a government would have to do is, offer the coins at a one-for-one scheme. This would make it easier for governments to collect taxes. And it would take only a single line of code to drop five hundred dollars into someone’s bank account.
Scenario C: Social Media Takeover
Since blockchain relies on the internet as a medium of running the tech, social media platforms, especially behemoths like Facebook, could play a vital role in taking over the blockchain scene. Facebook popularity, evidenced by its 2 billion user base, could easily ensure a smooth transition to being the leader in the blockchain. All it would require is an update in the Facebook app’s interface, a Facebook wallet if you may, which would allow people to transfer their Bitcoins to its native wallet. It could also utilize it’s users extra processing power, to mine more coins.
Facebook could take the credit for making blockchain mainstream, and eventually could shift their users towards a coin they made, effectively replacing Bitcoin. The real Bitcoin, the one that everyone is using would be in Facebook’s control, and they would sit at the top, of other wannabe blockchain pioneer.