When I first learned about Bitcoin sometime in the early 2010s, I didn’t invest in it because I couldn’t find a meaningful way it improved my (or anybody else’s) life. It was slow, ugly, clunky and used by the kinds of people that I hadn’t seen since I used Usenet or the Compuserve BBS. They were fanatical about the future of this currency, and I don’t remember anybody really discussing value until the first major crash. People insisted that this was the future of money — that this would simply be how people sent money to each other in the future.
About a decade later, Bitcoin is now slow, ugly and clunky, with the added benefit of one BTC being extremely expensive for no good reason. Buying things with Bitcoin (or other cryptocurrencies) rarely if ever happens in real life — El Salvador’s Bitcoin experiment has failed, with vendors quickly switching back to taking real money instead of BTC — and transacting with Bitcoin online is equally painful. Bitcoin isn’t even really anonymous anymore. The supposed future of money is still significantly worse than the aged wire transfer system that every bank offers, and between Zelle and Venmo, there really is no reason to send or receive Bitcoin as a form of money.
I also believe that most people don’t really care about anonymous payments. The average person is not trying to hide every single thing they do, and other than “I don’t want anyone to see my stuff” as a default setting for your personality, the likely reason you want anonymous transactions is that you’re doing something weird or bad.
The same goes for Ethereum and other “smart contract” blockchains. In the years I’ve been paying attention to this space, I have yet to see one use case that made me believe that crypto had to exist. Putting aside the hundreds of vaporware products that exist to trick investors into buying their token, the few actual, functioning products on the blockchain are either terrible and costly games or financial services products. There are no killer applications, no standard-bearers to point to and say “this is what the future looks like!” and, frankly, no visible innovation other than the amount of money that venture capitalists can shove into a non-existent system.
Many people respond to this by saying that it’s “like the early days of the internet” (which writer David Gerard has also eloquently debunked), to which I respond “no it isn’t.” The early internet (I started using it in the late 90’s) was very clearly…