How Bitcoin Becomes Money in the Next Decade
I have followed bitcoin for over a decade now and one of the best quotes I have seen is from Paul Buchheit, “Bitcoin may be the TCP/IP of money.” Just as TCP/IP facilitated the free flow of information and transformed how we communicate and access data globally, Bitcoin will have a similar impact on the transfer of value and the way we perceive and use money, MoIP, money over Internet protocol! When will we see mainstream adoption though? There are three big factors: time, the 4th industrial revolution and SMBs.
What about time? Well, Bitcoin is still very young. Less than 15 years old, merely a teenager! It is also fairly inflationary by Bitcoin’s standards. For a protocol where there will only be 21 million bitcoins, we are still mining 6.25 every block reward. At about 1.8%, that’s still fairly inflationary for money that is ultimately deflationary! Look at 2032 though (table below), over 99% of the bitcoins in existence will have been mined! The inflation rate will basically be zero! Why does that matter? Bitcoin hasn’t reached maturity yet to be money for the whole world, it’s still growing itself!
What was that about the 4th Industrial Revolution though? In “The Singularity is Near,” written by Ray Kurzweil, he posits an acronym: GRANT. This stands for genetic, robotic, artificial intelligence and nano technologies. He suggests that the advancement in each of these fields will lead to a future truly of science fiction. As smart as Ray is, he forgot the “S” to “GRANT.” It should be “GRANTS” and the “S” stands for “software.” In his defense, yes AI is software, but he forgot the other type of software…Bitcoin! MoIP or Bitcoin is the money of the 4th Industrial Revolution. As AI and other technologies advance, so will Bitcoin, look at the lightning network. Bitcoin will advance and improve because it is software and more software can be built on top of Bitcoin. It’s inevitable in the same way that AI is inevitable, it’s here. Believe it or not, Bitcoin too could experience an overnight explosion the same way AI has with the advancement of Chat GPT. It only takes a simple improvement or some type of spark that takes it everywhere. The usage of Bitcoin is far more complex. It isn’t just a question you type into some AI prompt, it’s money! It’s 50% of every transaction at mass adoption. It’s the lifeblood of an economy, that’s why bitcoin is still early. The growth of Bitcoin will continue alongside other technologies of the 4th Industrial Revolution over the next decade.
What else will happen over the next 10 years? The continued crawl of adoption from the top, middle and bottom of society. While many people have heard of bitcoin at this point, the amount of people who own it is less and the amount of people who use it to transact is fewer again. I have heard the same narratives for the last several bitcoin cycles, yes since 2014: “the increasing adoption of bitcoin, the institutions are coming and all we need is regulatory clarity!” This is what I call “top down adoption” and it has been building for a long time now. With regulatory clarity, comes institutional investment and thus greater bitcoin adoption! This is happening, but it will still take time and it won’t be enough. We need “bottom up adoption” as well. That trend is happening concurrently and has been a strong force for the global adoption of Bitcoin. The grassroots movement, word of mouth and stories of bitcoin fortune and plunder. Books, memes, GIFs, articles, videos, movies and stories all related to Bitcoin have exploded among society. Along with this messaging, are real world forces leading people to find Bitcoin. Economic and geopolitical factors of economic and political uncertainty, capital controls and the solution of banking for the unbanked. You can’t say more people didn’t start thinking about Bitcoin and where their currency or assets live when regional banks started failing? We know that people have turned to Bitcoin in the “Global South” as well, where numerous currencies are failing.
Finally, this is where Bitcoin meets mass adoption…in the middle! It happens with small and medium sized businesses across the globe! This is the X-factor and why we are so excited at Federated about Bitcoin adoption because we support SMBs. Real Bitcoin adoption will come on the lightning network. When you can buy ice cream at the local ma and pa shop on the corner, the local pet groomers for that dog wash or the beach side food stand in El Salvador. That’s mass adoption and the lightning network makes that possible for Bitcoin. The SMBs are the way, it will be supported from the top with greater corporate adoption and from the bottom through people all over the globe, this is the Bitcoin crawl it could but won’t likely happen overnight.
I say, be patient, Bitcoin is doing great! Adoption is coming, but it will still take some time. Time, technology and SMBs will get us there. What’s the rush, Bitcoin hasn’t even been around for 15 years yet. Let it mature so it’s ready when the whole world is!