A few weeks ago, the World Economic Forum (WEF) published its annual list of the Top Ten Emerging Technologies for 2016. The technologies on the list have been worked on for years. But their inclusion in the Top Ten List indicates that each has now reached a market acceptance tipping point where its impact can be meaningfully felt. The Blockchain is one of the technologies in this year’s list, selected by the WEF panel of global experts because of its emerging potential to fundamentally change the way markets and governments work.
What does it mean for an infrastructure technology like the blockchain to have reached such a tipping point? The WEF report compared the blockchain to the Internet, noting that “Like the Internet, the blockchain is an open, global infrastructure upon which other technologies and applications can be built. And like the Internet, it allows people to bypass traditional intermediaries in their dealings with each other, thereby lowering or even eliminating transaction costs.”
I agree with this comparison and find it useful to help us understand how blockchains might evolve over the years. So, I’d like to compare the state of the blockchain in 2016 to the state of the Internet 25 years ago or so.