There are very few opportunities to harness the capabilities of a new technology to change industries, to create a new set of companies and to enable established companies to better service their customers. We have seen only two such large opportunities in recent history:
- The internet, which enabled information sharing around the globe;
- Voice Over the internet (VOIP), which enabled telephone/video sharing around the globe as well.
We are now at the cusp of the third, and perhaps most influential technological opportunity of the 21st century: bitcoin, a technology that will take the world of payments to new experiences that have never been imagined to date.
The Web created a platform for information to be created in one country by a person, group or corporations and to be disseminated around the world instantly. VOIP enabled voice and video to travel without borders and created a set of rich applications; consumers can now click to talk, engage in real time video calls and make group calls from any device.
Bitcoin will produce similar positive effects in the payment industry. It has the foundation to provide powerful new applications as well as move money on the web without borders or the usual friction involved in payment systems. Bitcoin has the opportunity to become a global payment scheme, a highway that moves payments in a real time, secure environment with on ramps and off-ramps to traditional payment types and with applications that simplify what gets done today with traditional payments (e.g. escrow services). Perhaps the most fascinating is the world of new applications that will be opened up. Just like mobile operating systems and the millions of apps that sit on these system, there will be millions of payment applications that sit on top of bitcoin that will push the boundaries of what is done today.