Why Bitcoin is NOT like the Internet in 1994

This will be brief – not a whole lot to say, but I think it’s an important point to make. Jeremy Allaire, co-founder of Circle, has often asserted that Bitcoin is extremely similar to the Internet in 1994. I agree with him on a number of levels – it’s decentralized, it’s disruptive, and it has a lot of people inspired to do a lot of really cool things. However, Bitcoin’s revolution will not be like that of the Internet. Why? One simple reason: The Internet in 1994 did not have the Internet in 2014. Sounds silly, but if Internet circa 1994 could somehow have the communicative force behind it that Bitcoin does through Twitter and Facebook, the disruption wrought by the Internet would have taken a vastly different form. People didn’t know about the Internet when it was first invented, never mind anyone understanding it. This is simply not true with Bitcoin – anyone with any interest in finance or technology knows Bitcoin, at the very least. Bitcoin will spread faster than the Internet in 1994, due to none other than… the Internet.

While I have the utmost respect for Allaire and Circle, I can’t agree completely with his metaphor. Bitcoin will certainly have a level of disruption similar to or perhaps even greater than the Internet, but the disruptive paths the two will have followed will prove to not be similar at all.


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