Cryptocurrencies are a pretty new phenomenon. After all, they’ve only been around for just over a decade. But in this time, the growth in their capabilities and adoption has been nothing short of astounding.
In less than the time the iPhone has been around, they’ve gone from being niche tools used by computer experts to a global phenomenon making headlines and disrupting the way we think about money, business, and practically everything else.
Although it is true that cryptocurrencies are an ideal speculative instrument, due to their long-term price growth and volatility, this is far from their only purpose. They’re slowly being woven into the fabric of our everyday lives, and many people aren’t aware of just how quickly this is happening.
With between 21 and 45% of companies now investing in blockchain technology, the future is clear — blockchain will be everywhere. But what would a crypto-powered world look like? Well, join us as we jump to the year 2040 to take a look at a possible crypto future.
Right now, cryptocurrencies suffer from a couple of limitations. For one, they generally have trouble scaling — which essentially means they’re not yet capable of sustaining potentially millions of users simultaneously. The blockchains behind some cryptocurrencies also often get congested when there’s too much activity, leading to slow transactions and high fees — not ideal.
But by 2040, this will almost certainly be a thing of the past. Thanks to advances in more efficient consensus mechanisms (the way participants in a blockchain network agree on how to update the blockchain with new transactions), and both on-chain and off-chain scaling solutions (like lightning, plasma, Polygon etc), cryptocurrency payments are now practically instant and irreversible — making them the preferred mode of payment for both personal and commercial applications.
While just a small fraction of stores accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies now — including Microsoft, Tesla, AT&T, and even Burger King in some places — you’ll likely struggle to find a place that doesn’t accept cryptocurrency in the future.
Practically every payment made in the future will be conducted over a blockchain, using either public cryptocurrencies like BTC and ETH, private cryptocurrencies (like store-specific cryptos), and even digital versions of most prominent regular currencies, like the digital dollar or euro.
With payments now powered by the blockchain, fraud, counterfeiting, and inflation are becoming a thing of the past, and people now have more control over their personal finances — for better or for worse.
Getting Things Done
Given that blockchain is becoming increasingly recognized as an incredibly cost-effective and secure way to store data, it’s looking likely that cryptocurrencies will be incorporated into a huge range of public and private services.
Need to get a medical checkup? Your doctor might pull up your medical records from a private blockchain-based database. Gotta get somewhere, fast? Your next ride might be a self-driving taxi powered by cryptocurrency payments. Your entire computer might even be accessed over a blockchain — with platforms like Ethereum looking to produce the world’s most powerful cloud computer.
Practically everything we do will rely on the blockchain to some degree. Whether that be relaxing watching movies through an IPFS-powered video streaming platform (essentially a decentralized version of YouTube where files are stored and accessed peer-to-peer), interacting with friends and colleagues over decentralized social media, and even working and collaborating over a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) — a new way to organize people in a decentralized network (like a company, but managed over a blockchain).
There’s a good chance that most governments will have incorporated blockchain and cryptocurrencies into major public services — think blockchain-based identity cards, paying your taxes in cryptocurrencies, and even voting over the blockchain.
Depending on how far blockchain evolves by the year 2040, there is even a small chance that we’ll see the early stages of a truly decentralized government — which uses blockchain-based decision-making and transparency to cut down fraud, mismanagement of public funds, and carrying out decisions on the behalf of voters.
Whatever happens, one thing is certain — getting rid of the middlemen involved in most processes will reshape the world as we know it; making it both more efficient and faster-paced than ever before.
The Decentralized You
Now, you’re probably thinking… If physical money is obsolete and everything is digital and based on the blockchain in the future, how do you even interact with the financial world?
Well, for starters, it likely won’t be through your credit or debit card like it is today. Remember, the future will be based around decentralized finance, which means you’ll need to use a wallet capable of interacting with these applications. This means you’ll need a cryptocurrency wallet.
Although the cryptocurrency wallets of today will likely differ considerably from those in the future, it’s easy to see how most people will be carrying around some future version of a Ledger Nano wallet or a similar device. Even today, they allow you to store practically every major cryptocurrency, and enable you to securely interact with the expansive DeFi landscape — this functionality will only expand with time.
But in the future, cryptocurrency wallets will likely be far more pervasive and will be used for more than simply storing money — after all, cryptocurrencies won’t just be used for payments, but for interacting with the world and with others. With that in mind, it’s only natural to seek out the best tool for the job.