Why people are unable to assess the potential of Cardano
Blockchain technology is still in the early stages of development. It is difficult for ordinary people, as well as experts, to gauge the potential of this technology. Everyone agrees that it is also a disruptive technology, but no one knows its impact. Cardano is a protocol that follows the path of innovation. Historically, it has proven to be the only path to success for disruptive technologies.
- Disruptive technology brings new business models and changes people’s habits.
- Disruptive technologies do not come into the world ready for mass adoption. Innovation and improvement are an integral part of future adoption.
- In the context of sustaining innovation, incumbent firms outperform new entrants but underperform in the context of disruptive innovation.
- New technologies may not meet normal standards and legislation may be lacking. Fear of pollution and low efficiency may be reasons for rejecting innovation.
- A typical concomitant of the rise of disruptive technology is exaggerated expectations, hype, and bubbles.
- Blockchain, not Bitcoin is more likely the correct narrative.
- The most possible sectors for disruption are money, financial services, supply chains, health, property rights, telecom, energy and climate, manufacturing, identity, government.
- Some experts think the impact of blockchain on society will be greater than the Internet.
- Blockchain is still in an experimental phase where new solutions and business models are being explored.
- New paradigms are consistently overestimated in the short run and underestimated in the long run.
- The Cardano protocol will evolve according to the wishes of stakeholders. This flexibility will make it possible to respond to innovations in other areas.
- Disruptive technology brings confusion, risk, uncertainty in the beginning, but later on, there is a paradigm shift.
What is disruptive technology?
Disruptive technology is an innovation that significantly changes the way consumers, industries or businesses operate. Disruptive technology replaces or fundamentally changes the old systems or people’s habits because using the new technology has recognizably better features. Adoption is quite natural, as there are advantages in terms of cost, user-friendliness, performance, or simply convenience.
Examples of disruptive technologies are television, the automobile, and the Internet. The Internet has managed to disrupt literally almost every industry in its years of existence. Many global companies have emerged with significant societal impact. Amazon has been disruptive with respect to the business model of traditional bookstores. Google has been disruptive with respect to searching for and verifying information. In fact, disruption happens almost constantly and the blockchain industry can be seen as a logical extension of the success of the Internet.
It is important to remember that no disruptive technology comes into the world with a better solution right from the start. Disruptive innovation creates an entirely new market or model that is initially judged to be inferior based on performance indicators valued by mainstream customers and users. Most people are satisfied with existing services, but new entrants can quickly capture a large market share by serving needs that did not previously exist.
To ensure that the adoption of disruptive technology will continue, it is important to keep working on improvements, efficiency, and performance. New disruptive services must align with what people in mainstream markets already value. In other words, it is necessary to outperform existing solutions on the market. It is even said that innovation needs to be up to 10 times better than existing solutions to be massively successful. The innovation may be the best, but if it does not meet the expectations of a large number of users, there will be no mass adoption and only a small group of enthusiasts or fans will use the technology. Notice that if there is no mass adoption, we cannot talk about disruption, because there will be no fundamental changes in society.
Let’s explain with an example. The first automobiles did not disrupt the market of horse-drawn vehicles in the late 19th century. Most people were very skeptical at the beginning and continued to make extensive use of horses. The first cars were expensive, unreliable, less efficient, and even considered dangerous. Gradual innovations for luxury transportation kept the car idea alive. It was much later that cars began to make their way into the mainstream, at a time when they could be produced more cheaply, were more efficient, more reliable and legislation was in place. If improvements had not been made gradually, we might still be riding horses today. Cars were, at their beginning, an experiment that succeeded. However, success was not automatically guaranteed, and that is true of any other disruptive technology.
Many products considered disruptive take years to be adopted by people or businesses, or are not adopted at all. The Segway electric vehicle was once touted as a disruptive technology until it wasn’t. In retrospect, no one knows exactly why the Segway didn’t become a success. Instead, e-bikes or other alternative vehicles, such as the Onewheel, have proliferated.
Do you think we have perfect cars today and there is nothing to improve? Cars continue to improve in every conceivable way. Modern cars have more range, less fuel consumption, are more environmentally friendly, are connected to the internet, can navigate and even drive themselves. Do you think there will never be another disruption in the transport industry? We wouldn’t bet on it. With the advent of AI and the demands for a cleaner and more pleasant environment, we can imagine many things including flying cars.
Do you think Uber is a disruptive company? It’s not. Uber has only secured significant market share through technological improvements to an already existing industry. Uber has made it easier to order cabs and make payments. Uber was cheaper and customers could rate the service. It is an improvement, not a disruption. The traditional taxi service still works and Uber has significant competition. In some countries, Uber is outperformed by other services.
Automobiles allowed us to travel long distances, transport goods, or allow us to work further from home. The automobile industry has influenced other industries. No one uses horses for transport in developed countries today. The automobile has completely replaced its predecessor. Uber is not a disruptor in the full sense of the term. Uber has been successful largely because traditional taxi services were expensive and inefficient. Uber’s economic model was on the edge of the law in many countries and legislation had to be changed.
Why does disruption occur?
Why is the disruption happening? Why does a new technology emerge from time to time that turns the world upside down? Let’s try to answer that.
Empirical findings have shown that in the context of sustaining innovation, incumbent firms outperform new entrants, but underperform in the context of disruptive innovation. Smart disruptors gradually improve their products and raise their market level. The focus of established firms on their existing customers becomes institutionalized into internal processes that make it difficult for even top managers to shift investment into disruptive innovation.
This explains why incumbent companies rarely (if ever) responded effectively to disruptive innovations, but not why new entrants eventually moved upmarket and challenged incumbents again and again. It turns out, however, that the same forces that drive incumbent firms to ignore early-stage disruptions eventually drive disruptors to be disrupted as well.
Technological innovation is a process that cannot be stopped, as people are constantly improving and refining everything around them. If an entrant comes into an established market, it wants to establish itself, and one way to do that is to come up with something completely new. Entrants have no existing customers to worry about, so they can focus all their resources on innovation. It’s only natural that sooner or later someone will succeed.
Blockchain projects, or rather their teams, are still disruptors. A fundamental disruption of markets, habits, and business models has not yet occurred. Once that happens, new disruptors will emerge to challenge blockchain technology. Eventually, innovations will emerge on a scale that completely replaces the first generation. Once the team of a given blockchain project begins to focus on existing users and resigns itself to improvement and disruption, it will likely be disrupted itself. The mantra “disrupt or be disrupted” has worked the same way for centuries. The evolution will be very similar to that of banks or large IT giants. The banking sector, in particular, has slept through the development of modern technology. Today, we can transfer information in milliseconds. The same must be possible with value. The internet and blockchain know no national borders. This is one of the many reasons for their success.
In principle, it is not possible to clearly define whether a particular disruption should be evaluated positively or negatively. A disruption will always be desirable for one group and undesirable for another. The overall assessment will therefore always be mixed and will change over time. It is quite logical that people were skeptical about blockchain at the beginning. This is slowly starting to change. The positives and potential benefits are more visible. People’s attitudes are changing.
Isn’t blockchain like Uber? If blockchain, or its second layers, can transfer value faster, cheaper and more reliably than traditional financial services, isn’t this just a significant improvement? At first glance, it would seem so, but it is not. Blockchain technology is truly disruptive, and we will return to this topic.
Disruption is a process full of uncertainty
The term disruptive innovation might evoke the impression that something appeared at one moment and succeeded. The success of innovative technology is rather a long gradual process. The theory suggests that adoption is very low at the beginning and only gradually increases over time as the service continues to innovate. We can even talk about an experiment for a small group of people that either catches on and becomes mainstream or disappears. The adoption process takes time, years, or even decades. Moreover, traditional services can be quite inventive in defending their positions. It happens that a promising startup is acquired by a strong player in the market. Fortunately, this option does not exist in the world of cryptocurrencies. Cardano cannot be bought by a payment service or a bank. The decentralization of the network is a feature that is itself disruptive. Imagine that no one directly owns the global payment network and the profits from its existence are distributed across multiple owners, large or small.
Traditional strong market players in the industry, but also people, are not able to recognize disruptive technologies in time. They tend to be skeptical about them. Big players are often strong in sustaining innovation because they want to retain their consumers. They are nearly always unable to invest in disruptive technology. This is because they want to minimize risk and invest mainly in maintaining and expanding the business.
Blockchain is still a relatively new technology. Experts agree that it is a disruptive technology. However, this does not mean that success is guaranteed. It is common with disruptive technologies that people fail to get a good sense of the potential. There are many reasons for this. People are generally afraid of new things and reject them. People have been afraid of cars, but also of the Internet. The Internet was associated with scams and with the adult industry in its early days. The media was very skeptical of this innovation and one of the reasons was that the Internet media was a threat to the print media. The first e-shop purchases and the scams associated with them were reported in the newspapers. Now we shop on the Internet quite routinely.
The advent of disruptive technologies brings many risks and uncertainties. Disruption brings changes in business models and financial flows. It puts jobs at risk and can shift wealth into other hands. New technologies may not meet normal standards and legislation may be lacking. Regulations must therefore be addressed. Fear of pollution and low efficiency may be reasons for rejecting innovation. People may not properly understand disruptive technology and its significance, let alone be able to see all the changes it can bring. It is therefore common for people to think that current solutions are the best possible and that replacing them with new technology is not possible.
Blockchain meets the criteria of disruptive technology in this respect. People are still uncertain about how far adoption can go and what all industries blockchain can change. The low scalability and therefore unusability for the masses is pointed out. PoW consensus is seen as a threat to the environment. Lawmakers still do not know how to approach cryptocurrencies properly and how to regulate them well so as not to stifle innovation.
Cardano can unleash the potential of blockchain
Scalability and utility are the main prerequisites to use blockchain technologies for economic and social activities. The main focus is put on decentralization and security but users take it for granted and above all, they require fast and useful services. Read more
Blockchain will evolve like any other innovation in the coming decades. Scalability won’t be a problem, PoS is significantly greener than PoW, and regulation will hopefully come soon. As the technology improves, it will become increasingly clearer what we can specifically change and what industries will undergo fundamental change. We may not know all the answers at this point, just as we didn’t know them in the early days of the internet. Could anyone have foreseen, for example, social networks or even internet banking? How many people were able to predict the arrival of cryptocurrencies? Strong and unsubstantiated opinions are also a typical example of emerging disruptive technology. Some people will always try to defend their positions, but they cannot resist innovation.
If innovation is technologically capable of disrupting an industry, there is a good chance it will happen. If the reader isn’t sure what all blockchain can bring to the world, that’s perfectly fine. No one knows. Those who claim to know may not be right. Things that are obstacles today may be a solved problem tomorrow. Estimating the rate of adoption is very difficult, as no one knows exactly how quickly obstacles will be overcome and what other obstacles will be encountered. There may be new demands from users which will be new challenges to overcome.
Let’s try a little thought exercise. Imagine that Cardano is infinitely scalable, the blockchain uses sharding so there is no problem with its size, every transaction happens in under a second, regulators won’t prevent blockchain adoption, governments and financial systems decide to decentralize their infrastructure. Every person on the planet can participate in decentralization. When you think about it, it’s really all about the development of technology. Once the current technological obstacles are overcome, many doors will open.
Disruption takes time and doesn’t happen overnight. The IOG team knows well that only pushing the boundaries of what is possible can lead to the success of the blockchain industry. Just a few years ago, people liked to say that blockchain was an expensive and slow database. Computers were like that in the beginning. That is no longer true in the case of computers. In a few years, it won’t be true of blockchain either. We’ve already moved up several orders of magnitude in many parameters. In the case of blockchain, once the technical problems are solved, we can start talking about solving financial and social problems.
Another concomitant of the rise of disruptive technology is exaggerated expectations, hype, and bubbles. At the beginning of adoption, people may think that the impact and scale of disruption will be greater than they actually will be in the end. People invest in dreams and expectations and like to believe the hype. This is why bubbles are created in terms of market capitalization. Because technology development and adoption are slow processes, markets are very volatile. There are alternating phases of excitement and disappointment.
In 2018, after a massive bull run, came the crypto winter. At this time, technology was catching up to expectations. Everyone thought blockchain would change the world, but there were still PoW project clones in the top 10. At that time, technology was not ready for the major changes in society. It is possible that we will go through at least one more such period before challenging goals can be realized.
In 2017, people invested in promises and dreams. The main difference in 2021 is that people want to try projects and are looking for real jobs. Companies, businesses, and countries are considering the use of blockchain technology. Cardano, as one of the few projects that are ready for adoption, is a logical choice. However, expectations are still higher than what technology will allow. The trajectories of expectations and the real possibilities of blockchain technology will one day meet. No one knows exactly when, and we are talking in orders of magnitude of years. Don’t be surprised if we see more bubbles and crypto winter. Do not think that it is over and that technology will disappear from the world. Teams just need more time to make technological progress.
It is also quite normal for some projects to fail. New projects emerge that learn from the mistakes of their predecessors and succeed. This iterative approach is also quite normal. Many people want to piggyback on the success of emerging technology. But only the best or the most tenacious will succeed. Out of thousands of projects, only three may succeed in the long run. In the meantime, new ones may emerge.
Is blockchain disruptive technology?
Are blockchain and cryptocurrencies really disruptive technology? The consensus among experts is that it is. Despite the many reservations mentioned above, it seems that blockchain and cryptocurrencies can disrupt existing business models and established orders.
Various crypto-community groups and experts are arguing over whether the phrase “Bitcoin, not blockchain” or rather “Blockchain, not Bitcoin” applies. With each passing year, it becomes more apparent that it is the latter phrase that applies. Bitcoin is just one of many possible implementations of blockchain technology. Decentralized networks and blockchain are no longer something that companies and governments should be afraid of. At the time of writing, Charles Hoskinson and his team are in Africa meeting with state representatives and presidents. They are talking about the digital transformation of countries and Cardano can play a significant role in this. These countries will skip using traditional client-server-based solutions and blockchain can be the backbone of these countries.
Of course, there will be representatives of the group that proclaims “Bitcoin, not blockchain” and will challenge these efforts. This is perfectly normal. Once the first successes are apparent, these petty debates will end. Decentralization itself is a disruptive concept. Decentralized networks and blockchain is the technological solution that will make decentralization possible. Cardano, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others are implementations of the concept with different characteristics that will find application to different problems. There is no point in trying to fit a single, unsuitable solution to all problems. In practice, the opposite is true. We look for the best solution to a particular problem. Decentralization primarily solves problems associated with loss of trust, abuse of power, and inefficiencies associated with slow processes involving people. These problems can be seen almost everywhere around us.
We need to ask a key question to get an answer to whether blockchain is a disruptive technology. Which industries might be transformed via blockchain? It is still a hot topic of many debates. The most possible and discussed candidates are money, financial services, supply chains, health, property rights, telecom, energy and climate, manufacturing, identity, government.
Do you have doubts about the disruption of any of the sectors on the list? That is perfectly fine and appropriate. No one knows exactly how or when it will happen. It may only be a partial success. We may need more time than we now think and more technological innovation in other areas. The reason for the uncertainty is that blockchain is changing the way trust and ownership work from the bottom up. The disruption is about trust, which is an absolutely essential attribute of human interaction and the functioning of society.
The Internet operates on the basis of trust in a centralized entity that is further controlled by the legal system. This structure has been used by mankind for centuries. Decentralization undermines this basic concept. If there is disruption at a technological level, i.e. on the Internet, the legal system will probably also have to change. Experts in blockchain technology may have an idea of what disruption may occur at the technological level. What is difficult to predict is what change or disruption will occur at the level of regulations, laws, and states.
Let’s talk briefly about what sectors can be disrupted. Blockchain came up with the idea of creating alternative money. If we allow for success in this area, the disruption of the entire financial sector is the next logical step. DeFi is exactly about this sector, so it’s already happening. If we’re going to own money and do without intermediaries, there’s no reason not to do the same for stocks. If governments allow alternative money to exist, why should they prevent stocks from existing on the blockchain? Will governments even exist in their current form if people use non-state money? Or will governments mandate the use of cryptocurrencies by the constitution, like in El Salvador? Clearly, if cryptocurrencies and blockchain succeed, governments must necessarily change somehow. Cardano will enable the creation of a decentralized identity through Atala PRISM. This solution is used by the government of Ethiopia and also by a Fortune 250 company Dish. Governments in developing countries are adopting blockchain solutions into their governance.
Does the disruption of the financial sector depend on the disruption of money through Bitcoin? Financial sector disruption can occur through stable coins. Cardano will have its stable coin Djed whose value will be derived from a basket of assets and the Djed will be backed by digital assets, primarily ADA coins. Bitcoin is not needed to stabilize value, tokenize stocks, make loans, and many other things. In other words, the disruption of different sectors can take place on different blockchain solutions. It is even almost certain that companies or countries will use different networks. In the future, we may see new payment networks and banking services existing on different blockchain networks and competing with each other. This is beneficial for everyone as the whole financial world will be more robust. It would be very dangerous if the whole world were to rely on a single network.
Let’s play the visionary. Do you still remember the 2020 US presidential election? Even at the time of writing, the outcome of the election is still in doubt. In some states, people who are long dead have reportedly voted. There are questions about the quality of the vote count. Voting is an absolutely essential process in democratic states and it has to be said that it does not work well. Blockchain is an infrastructure that is perfectly suited to vote collection and counting. Since the blockchain is decentralized, no party or entity can control it to influence elections. The blockchain is ubiquitous, so no one can stop anyone from voting. Anyone voting can verify that their vote has been counted. No one can cheat in the counting process as everything will be automated. Election results will be available immediately after the polls close. We can imagine that blockchain will also be applied at this very crucial level for the state. Experiments are underway at this level as well. Hundreds of thousands of people vote in the Catalyst project. There have been several rounds and no one has reported any fraud or other problems. Digital voting cannot be created on a client-server architecture, as someone always controls the servers. A decentralized infrastructure is suitable for many tasks in the relationship between people and authorities.
Some experts even think the impact of blockchain on society will be greater than the Internet. The Internet brought upon a revolution that would change the way the world would operate forever, and since its initial inception in 1983, the year often considered to be the official birth year of the Internet, it has evolved from a simple military communication network to the world’s central cyberspace. In almost 40 years, the Internet has changed fundamentally, and it is almost certain that blockchain technology will do the same. Probably faster.
While one of the primary factors for the creation of the Internet was to make the transfer of data between computers effortless and seamless. Blockchain’s purpose is to verify the authenticity of digital data and allow people to own it without third parties. The distributed network allows for programmability and data operations. Thus, it is possible to create, for example, a monetary system where a decentralized network oversees the pre-set rules of the game.
Let’s illustrate this again with an example. Paper records are not suitable for the Internet because paper cannot be transferred. The documents, therefore, had to be digitized. The documents reside on a server and are available at client request. The server can find the document and it is displayed in the client’s browser. It is relatively difficult and expensive to ensure the authenticity of the document and it is not possible to clearly identify the owner if this is required (unless it is part of the document itself). With blockchain, physical paper records can be fully replaced with trusted digital records. The blockchain can ensure that an existing digital document can be linked to a digital identity (for example, to a publisher or owner), ensuring that the original content of the document never changes (more precisely, it is easy to determine the original content). The blockchain is not there to store documents and take care of digital transmission. Blockchain can provide confidence in the authenticity of a digital asset and hold the information associated with ownership. Smart contracts can define the processes associated with these assets. Oracles or AI can provide a layer of understanding of document content.
The basic building blocks of the Internet are actually very simple. The whole Internet is really just about data transmission. All the companies and services you use every day take advantage of this feature built on a client-server architecture. You can think of every server on the network as a point of centralization and an entity you have to trust. Blockchain mainly brings decentralization. Instead of one specific and known entity, you trust the network when it comes to owning and dealing with data. The basic building blocks of blockchain are also very simple and allow for many implementations. Every single blockchain project is like trying to create a new company or business model in the early days of the internet. Most projects will die out, some successful ones will be around for decades and will be used by the whole world.
Blockchain is still in an experimental phase where new solutions and business models are being explored. This makes it difficult for people to point to a winner. Once a given solution proves to be workable and adoption increases, uncertainty, FUD, and volatility will be replaced by certainty and stability. New companies similar to Amazon, Google, or Facebook will emerge from the blockchain space, but they will be fundamentally different structurally because they are based on a Peer-to-Peer architecture. These networks will be owned and operated by the same people who use them. If the network becomes centralized, people will simply go elsewhere. The main criterion for success is likely to be the quality of decentralization and the quality of other features that are important from a usage perspective. Blockchain is a disruptive technology and we are just looking for the limits of disruption.
Cardano is being built for the long run game
Blockchain is a disruptive technology, but the extent of the disruption is difficult to estimate at this point. New paradigms are consistently overestimated in the short run and underestimated in the long run. Cardano is being built slowly and with careful consideration in order to be around for several decades and deliver the functionality needed to disrupt several industries.
Don’t expect to disrupt money, financial services, property rights, identity, or even governments in a short period of time. None of this is purely about technology, but also about people, current habits, laws, and regulations. Money and the current financial system have the largest network effect in the world. Everything is protected by laws and regulations. This cannot be overcome by technology alone. China decided to drive the miners out of their country and it has done so in a short time. Then it made it impossible for people to access the crypto exchanges. Don’t expect DeFi services to thrive in China. People won’t be able to access them. The Chinese are not likely to protest and fight for cryptocurrencies in a big way. Adoption of cryptocurrencies will generally be much easier in countries where there is a need for modern technology (there is no traditional financial system) or where there is a democratic regime.
Cardano will participate in the disruption of society, but laws and regulations will affect the extent and possibilities. Shares or property ownership on the blockchain is not so much a technological hurdle today, but a regulatory one. If the law makes it possible to own shares and other things on the blockchain, Cardano and other networks could be the global backbone of the financial world. Regulators may have certain requirements for functionality, privacy, or transparency, but in principle, they have no reason to prefer a conventional database over a blockchain. Once the requirements are clear, the IOG team can deliver the necessary missing functionality. Will it take a year, five or ten years? It would be nice to see a few countries in the world that would approve such regulations. It could happen in developing countries. The system will need to work reliably for let’s say 5 years. Then others will rush to follow.
Obviously, many other technical problems and issues will arise during the adoption process. People still encounter the complexity of using cryptocurrencies and blockchain services. The loss of wealth or personal data when private keys are lost is unhappy. The low or unclear link between the digital and physical worlds might prevent usage. Clearly, the scope for innovation is large. It makes sense to point out things that are not working well today. But it also makes sense to look for solutions.
The development is definitely not over, and if Cardano and blockchain as a concept are to succeed, we still have many hurdles to overcome. People need to be able to use blockchain services with similar ease and security as they use internet banking. The strength of the blockchain lies mainly in the fact that asset owners hide certain cryptographic secrets. If the secret is lost or stolen, the wealth is also lost. You may lose the token representing the house, but it will continue to exist. What about it? Obviously, some more complex system and solution will have to emerge. Working with identity and biometrics may end up being absolutely crucial for many scenarios. Is working with biometrics a great thing for traditional services? Well, it will be a great thing for blockchain too.
The IOG team and other associated developers will be absolutely essential to the future of the Cardano ecosystem for pretty much the lifetime of the network, as the requirements for technical solutions grow with increasing adoption, usability, and new application ideas. As we have already explained, a given solution must be continuously improved and innovated by the team. Should this not be the case, a competitor or even a disruptor will emerge.
The Bitcoin community believes that the protocol must not innovate too quickly if it should innovate at all. Bitcoin is the only one that can afford to do so if it becomes a store of value. For other projects, the situation is very different. Cardano aims to create a new financial and social system primarily for people in developing countries. Adoption can happen in cooperation with governments. Adoption is all about communication and certain requirements can be expected to be met. The goals and mission of the Cardano project differ from Bitcoin in almost every way. Cardano must be a scalable, versatile, and 100% reliable system. It will have to be able to do a lot of things because traditional financial services and authorities do a lot of things. A simple loan is a more complex financial service that cannot be reliably implemented on Bitcoin in a decentralized way. Cardano will have to be able to handle that.
Disruptive technologies provide an opportunity for other technologies or services to emerge, or for existing ones to be used in a slightly different way. Cryptocurrencies, for example, have led to hardware wallets that have fundamentally improved the security of safekeeping. It is possible to innovate further at this level and new players will quite naturally emerge. People are even willing to build a chip into their own bodies to protect their wealth. Could this be the norm in 20 years? It may well be.
With the adoption of blockchain technologies, the demands for quality of service and requirements for new functionalities will increase. The presence of teams and decentralization at the development level will be an essential part of projects. The Cardano protocol will evolve according to the wishes of stakeholders. This flexibility will make it possible to respond to innovations in other areas. This will continue to strengthen the Cardano protocol.
Why people are unable to assess the potential of Cardano
It is difficult to estimate Cardano’s potential unless we look to the future. No one can predict the future, and most of our predictions end up a little different than we expected. From a certain perspective, the advent of cryptocurrencies and their targets may look somewhat bold. Would you bet on cryptocurrencies replacing all the financial systems in the world within, say, 20 years? I assure you that most people on the planet would not bet on it. It’s a too disruptive idea and no one can fully estimate the consequences. Moreover, this idea raises many questions. For example, what will happen to governments, what will happen to banks, what rules will we follow, how will elections be run, etc. It is only natural that we do not believe in such fundamental social changes, because we know that the current system is relatively stable in most countries on the planet. There are countries that may not be stable or free. These countries would need major social or political transformation. Change can be much more difficult in these countries.
As we have already said, new paradigms are constantly overestimated in the short term and underestimated in the long term. Blockchain will fundamentally change society, but change takes time and the outcome may be different than we currently think. People think that cryptocurrencies will only succeed if we pay with them. Maybe that will happen in the long term, but in the short term, it makes more sense to build alternative financial services. For this use case, we don’t directly need volatile cryptocurrencies. Stable coins are enough. The same can be said for tokenized stocks, or platforms that allow us to take out a loan. In El Salvador, they need a primarily cheap network that allows them to send cheap cross-border transactions. It makes sense to build decentralized networks and services, but it does not make sense to force people to risk their wealth in the wild world of cryptocurrencies. The need to hold cryptocurrencies must not be a prerequisite for using a decentralized network.
There is a fierce struggle between different crypto communities not only on the technological level but mainly on the ideological level. Some people believe that the coins of their projects will be the only universal money on the planet and nothing else matters. They think we need to replace the money and then get rid of the states. They even think that technological progress in other projects is a scam and a hindrance. This noise and personal financial incentives to promote projects that people have invested in also make the market less transparent. Ideology is part of adoption, but at a certain stage, it can become a problem. The blockchain revolution is built on technology. It makes use of distributed networks, cryptography, and blockchain. It doesn’t make much sense to build a strong new ideology over technology. Of course, technology has an impact on society. If we want to replace the financial system, there must be social pressure and demand. However, the social pressure must have one voice, the common denominator of which will be technological progress.
Cardano is certainly not a project whose primary use is based on paying by ADA coins. That is of course possible, and people can do it. However, this use case is very limiting in terms of possibilities and disruption. If you want to pay for music, for example, you may be put off by the very fact that you are getting rid of a cryptocurrency you would rather continue to hold. If you pay for music by cryptocurrencies and everything will be the same as by paying by fiat, nothing will change. You will probably pay some middleman, not the artist directly. In this scenario, the medium of exchange has been replaced, but there is no disruption at the business model level. Of course, there would probably be a disruption at the level of money or national sovereignty. But then we might ask whether there would be an entity that would protect copyright. It is certainly possible to change the business model without blockchain and look for ways to pay the artist directly. However, this is not happening in a big way and blockchain offers completely new and unexplored possibilities.
Cardano wants to succeed through its versatility, utility, and ability to build new layers of trust over the Internet. Cardano’s job description is to disrupt existing unfair business models and improve them. The ability to cut out the middleman is essential to success. Trust must be established directly between the seller and the buyer. Can this be done through tokens? Hard to say, probably yes. At the moment, there is no question of how exactly some things will happen. Rather, it is interesting to ask whether it is even possible to disrupt existing orders and allow entirely new business models to emerge. It makes sense to try different concepts.
Which is more likely, to disrupt states and national monetary systems, or to disrupt business models and the financial and social worlds? From our perspective, it seems more likely that traditional business models will be slowly dismantled and replaced by new ones. On this basis, and with slow, perhaps somewhat subtle and boring changes, it is possible to achieve fundamental social change. It is the long-term horizon that is important, not the short-term.
Estimating the potential of Cardano, and other projects are very difficult because we do not know the specific methods, speed, or form of disruption. All we have here and now is the current technology and its possibilities. So we can compare individual projects and estimate what is suitable for what and what form of disruption is possible. But possibility alone is certainly no guarantee of success. Success is almost always determined by multiple factors. Often the right time, place, and cost must meet. It may well be that we need more trials and iterations before mass adoption in any particular area can be achieved. Any failure can be seen as a failure of the whole technology, which can be a false impression. Conversely, partial successes may be overlooked or underestimated.
Cardano is just getting started in terms of releasing new features and other innovations. Many people often get stuck on the debate regarding, for example, the consensus algorithm. From the users’ point of view, this is too technical and a completely unnecessary debate. Users want useful services or improvements and don’t need to know the technological details. The important thing is to correctly name and analyze the current problems. Then we can consider whether they can be solved through decentralized technologies.
Atala PRISM, a decentralized identity solution, is considered the 14th influential project out of 50 across various industries in 2020. Who would have thought 5 years ago that we would use blockchain in this way? Atala PRISM is being used by Ethiopia and a Fortune 250 company. Will others join in? How important will this technology be in finance? Who dares to guess the potential of this technology? Technological progress will only ever surprise us and the conclusions we draw today may be completely irrelevant tomorrow. Cardano will approach success slowly, step by step. It is necessary to see the process and future plans.
Disruptive technology brings confusion, risk, uncertainty in the beginning, but later on, there is a paradigm shift. The manifestation of major societal changes is the uncertainty and complexity of predicting future developments. Even the fact that it is now difficult to navigate the blockchain industry is evidence that change is slowly coming. If you want to gauge Cardano’s potential, you need to follow the project closely. Be very cautious of the opinions of others. Also keep an eye on other projects and the demand from people, businesses, and governments. Never underestimate technological progress, as only with it do new possibilities open up.
Blockchain as a technology, not Bitcoin as one possible implementation, is our future. One of the reasons adoption is relatively low so far is the slow pace of technological progress. Teams must continue to innovate and improve the technology. Smart contracts are one innovation that has emerged quite naturally and is now an integral part of the entire cryptocurrency movement. There are probably more to come. The future will belong to many blockchain networks and future success will depend mainly on the abilities of the teams. IOG is one of the strongest teams in the cryptocurrency space, which makes Cardano a strong player.