The World Doubted Steve Jobs Once upon a Time

As some can recall, 2017 gave rise to the ICO frenzy, igniting an unrealistic bull run that was backed by nothing. The resulting crash led many to think that blockchain technology was just a fad with no future. The majority of blockchain-related startup projects have left a promise that never materialized under the cumbersome weight of regulations and other concerns. The ones that gave slight signs of success were called into question by naysayers who had negative perceptions of the startups’ products.

The World Doubted Steve Jobs Once upon a Time

Many of us remember Steve Jobs as an icon of innovation, but even he encountered doubters in his early stages of success. In a 1985 Playboy interview, Jobs was asked why anyone would consider buying a computer: “Aren’t you asking home-computer buyers to invest $3000 in what is essentially an act of faith?” To this question, Jobs responded:

In the future, it won’t be an act of faith. The hard part of what we’re up against now is that people ask you about specifics and you can’t tell them. A hundred years ago, if somebody had asked Alexander Graham Bell, “What are you going to be able to do with a telephone?” he wouldn’t have been able to tell him the ways the telephone would affect the world.

Fast forward to a 1998 writing regarding the pitfalls of making technological predictions. In it, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman stated, “By 2005 or so, it will become clear that the Internet’s impact on the economy has been no greater than the fax machine’s.” We do not have to go into detail about how incorrect Krugman was on that statement.

The point is that, due to a lack of foresight, there is often doubt regarding the potential of new technology. The naysayers from decades ago would be shocked to learn that both the computer and the telephone have been combined into one product that somebody can carry in a pocket. Today, we see the same behavior being exhibited toward blockchain technology.

Shady Projects Fail (Not Technology)

Indeed, as Apolline Blandin from the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance noticed, perhaps only 3% of corporate blockchain efforts involve decentralized projects. The rest of the efforts use shortcuts, and “so-called permissioned blockchains borrow ideas and terms from Bitcoin, but cut corners in the name of speed and simplicity.”

However, one must not confuse blockchain technology with blockchain projects that have failed. Up until the relatively new technology evolves, any early adopters must be careful of suspicious transactions.

Is the failure of some unoriginal startups indicative of blockchain technology on the whole? It might seem so to some, but significant innovations like the computer, the telephone, and the Internet went through similar humble beginnings. By now, you probably will not be able to recall the stars of the dot-com bubble, such as InfoSpace, AltaVista, and The failed startups were part of the story of the modern Internet.

Blockchain’s Benefits Are Still Unclear to Many

Among faithful blockchain technology supporters (including companies that are implementing the technology in innovative ways), there are few doubts that the tech will dramatically affect the world someday. However, the ordinary person still cannot visualize the consequences.

Blockchain Technology: From Abstract to Tangible

To reach its intended goal, a startup must dedicate resources and energy to shaping and refining the final product. To support the process, early adopters need to contribute to an “Experience Roadmap” that will help the startup gradually decrease the level of abstraction with regards to its product. Early adopters (such as retail consumers and governments) help innovators (such as Propy) achieve greater confidence when it comes to early-phase product design decisions. Thus, these early adopters can help us shift one step closer to the new era of technological advancements.

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