I believe Katie Martin (“ Year in a Word: Crypto”, December 22) will later find herself in the awkward category of “predictions that people really regret”, much like Clifford Stoll, who once confidently claimed that “no online database will replace your daily newspaper”.
Ms Martin argues that the value of cryptocurrencies has collapsed and that one bitcoin now only fetches a “measly $3,380” (the equivalent of three shares in Alphabet). Unfortunately, she fails to grasp the potential effect of cryptocurrencies and the underlying blockchain technology on the infrastructure of the internet, the architecture of software systems and, eventually, society itself.
Being an information systems researcher myself, I have been investigating the impact of blockchain technology on our existing software and database systems and can sometimes only marvel at the future solutions this technology can offer us (think smart contracts, for example). Cryptocurrencies, and the start-ups behind them, are the first generation of companies exploring the use of blockchain in our everyday life.
Ms Martin concludes that “ultimately it was common sense that killed crypto. An internet search on the subject yields the frequently asked request for someone to ‘explain cryptocurrency like I’m five’.” Does that mean she believes that the inherent difficulty of explaining other complex concepts, such as artificial intelligence or the internet protocol, to a five-year-old will eventually bring about their downfall?
She ends by saying that those who do understand cryptocurrencies are surely clever enough to know the game is up. I would dare to say that the game has only begun!