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Crypto vs. The Internet – Comparing the adoption curves

By February 11, 2022October 26th, 2022No Comments

There are many parallels that can be drawn between the internet itself and blockchain technology. The internet has allowed the democratization of communication, social networks, financial services, writing, video publishing, and much much more. 

Blockchain technology will have similar effects. It will allow for the democratization and decentralization of money, platforms, undeniable facts recorded on the blockchain, and much much more. 

The parallels can go on and on. So where exactly are we in this “crypto movement”? Some have expressed fear that they have missed out entirely. That it is “too late” to purchase Bitcoin and most of its value/upside has been captured by the early adopters. 

I’m here to tell you that this is a farce. We are still very early in this technology adoption curve. How early may you ask?

There is some debate as to when the internet officially “launched “ but for the sake of argument let’s go with the year 1992, seeing that’s where the data starts for this graph. 

The start of “crypto” can be pinpointed to January 3rd, 2009; which was officially the first day the Bitcoin Network began running as Satoshi Nakamoto started running the software. 

Believe it or not, the adoption rate, calculated by the number of active users, is in lockstep with the internet, just examine the chart below.

Let’s examine this data for a second. The white line is the number of total internet users tracked over the time period of 1992 to 2006. It started around 9 million users at the beginning of 1992. Over this 14 year period, the total network of users grew to about 1 billion users. 

Now let’s compare that to the crypto network. At the start of 2016, the total number of Crypto users was around 8 million. Projecting out its growth rate on a logarithmic curve it’s projected to have around 2.2 billion users by 2030. 

I’ll say this until my face is blue; we are still early. 

There is so much run rate and room for this sector of the economy to grow and have a major impact on our lives just as the internet has. 

Have you asked yourself “where are we now exactly”? If we map crypto growth onto the internet (with the assumption that the internet started around 1992), where exactly are we on that timeline? Just look at the map. It’s 1997. That’s how early we are. 

The only major internet companies that existed in 1997 were Amazon and Craigslist. I’m excluding Microsoft from this conversation because I classify them a part of the personal computing revolution and not the internet revolution. 

Think about all the applications and impactful companies that didn’t exist in 1997 that dominate the internet. Here are just a few: 

  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Uber
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • WhatsApp
  • Spotify
  • Twitter
  • Stripe 
  • AirBnB
  • Zillow
  • Shopify
  • Wish
  • SnapChat
  • DropBox
  • GrubHub
  • Pintrust

Just imagine what that means for the crypto industry. Are Bitcoin and Ethereum the correlating Amazon and Craigslist of today? What needs to be built and what will be built in the future?

Exciting question to ponder.