What the Wright Brothers Taught Me About Bitcoin
On December 17, 1903, the Wright brothers flew the first successful heavier-than-air powered aircraft.
A short four years later, both the U.S. and French armies contracted the brothers to build a flying machine for military use.
In World War I, there were 50 different aircraft designs and over 200,000 planes constructed for reconnaissance and combat missions.
And although the first scheduled passenger air service traveled between St. Petersburg and Tampa, Florida, in 1914, it wasn’t until the 1950s that commercial air travel really took off.
It took a few decades for the modern jet engine to replace the early piston engine airliners, making flights faster and more comfortable.
Today, life would be unimaginable without planes that allow us to travel to far-off places and receive our Amazon orders within a few days.
This wasn’t the only time that a new technology’s commercial use was overlooked.
Take the case of the internet.
It was developed in the 1960s as a way for government researchers to share information with one another. They did this over mainframe computers that filled an entire room and cost over $3 million in today’s dollars.
That’s why the internet didn’t gain popularity until there was widespread ownership of affordable personal computers.
Even the modern internet’s use case has changed in the past two decades.
Initially, the internet only allowed us to connect with friends and family via email and messages. Broadband speeds were slow, and there wasn’t much content.
Today, however, the internet is our portal to the modern world, connecting us with news and services.
When I think about investing in growth, I always look for new technologies that have the most potential upside but are still underappreciated by the market. That’s where the big profits are made.
That’s why I believe investing in cryptocurrencies now, before they go mainstream, offers the biggest potential rewards over the next decade.
Big Tech’s Monopoly Is a Problem
There’s an existential flaw in the internet currently.
The more we put our lives online, the more control we give to Big Tech. Right now, Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook have monopolies on our virtual lives.
For us to use services such as Gmail, Airbnb and Facebook, these tech giants collect our likes, photos and even intimate conversations.
Google Maps maintains your travel record and knows where you are. Amazon even has a patent on a predictive algorithm that will ship you items before you buy them.
I, for one, do not welcome our robot overlords.
Thankfully, Big Tech’s monopoly is a problem that blockchain and related cryptocurrencies are aiming to solve.
Blockchain technology allows users to exchange something of digital value without the need for a middleman.
You can send bitcoin without the need for a payment processor or a bank. You can place a wager on an NFL game without the need for a sports book.
In the near future, you’ll be able to opt in to social media and e-commerce sites without turning over your private data.
That’s because blockchain is not a way to transact money, as most people think of bitcoin. It’s a way to communicate.
Sending a Message With Bitcoin
Money is simply a message. The amount of cash you have in a bank account is a message on whether or not you can pay for something.
When you send someone bitcoin, you are sending a message through a decentralized network of computers.
When you post something on Facebook, you are sending a message through a centralized entity (Facebook) that’s monetizing your digital value.
When you use Google Maps, you are telling Google where you are likely to go, as well as being tracked by its algorithm if you follow its directions.
Blockchain is a new way to store and communicate things of digital value. It represents the core of Web 3.0, the next generation of the internet that will allow users to take their data back from Big Tech.
Instead of storing our private data with mega-cap tech companies, we will opt in when we want to use a particular service.
This will cause massive disruption in areas such as real estate, insurance, health care, energy, supply chains, media and government, to name just a handful.
Here are some possible use cases we’ll see in Web 3.0:
- Decentralized property registries. Proof of ownership of real-world items such as houses, cars and other assets.
- Decentralized computing. This will replace the corporate monopoly of cloud computing and web hosting with the unused hard drive space and processing power of everyone’s computers.
- Decentralized Internet of Things transactions. Devices can securely communicate and transact without an intermediary, leading to massive changes in transportation and energy.
- Decentralized content. Musicians and artists would no longer rely on platforms such as Spotify and YouTube to monetize their digital content. They would be able to track and manage it as a digital asset.
- Decentralized finance. Centralized exchanges would be replaced by smart contracts, and banks replaced by immutable vaults. Plus, algorithms would do away with your local mortgage broker.
Building this decentralized future won’t be easy, and it won’t happen overnight. But as with all new technologies, blockchain’s final use case isn’t always obvious from the start.
Editor, Automatic Fortunes
My career on Wall Street started while I was in college. I spent a summer interning for Merrill Lynch in the middle of the ‘90s bull market. I was fascinated with trading, and as a result, after college, I joined Salomon Brothers in the famed mortgage bond trading department. Later, I spent time at Citigroup working with credit derivatives. Eventually, I needed to walk away from the excess of Wall Street. That’s when I joined Banyan Hill in 2017. Now I help readers get ahead of the market and build their retirements.