A recent Vox article reads, “Bitcoin was supposed to change the world. What happened?” Those are some amusing words to use. “What happened?” They insinuate that bitcoin hasn’t changed the world, and that everything it set out to do hasn’t been accomplished.
Titles like these make us realize just how misunderstood bitcoin really is. Despite the world its developed over the last eight years, it’s still rendered a failure by the majority of observers.
Let’s take a look at a few pointers. Bitcoin has given people all over the world an entirely new financial walkway to tread. Companies like Uber, Overstock and others now allow bitcoin payments to satisfy the costs of goods and services. Anyone short on cash or unable to attain decent credit now has an entirely new (and simple) way of paying for what they need without the hassles of background checks, credit checks, and perfect histories. How is that not changing the world?
One of the things the article mentions is that bitcoin has not rendered fiat currencies or traditional banking institutions obsolete. To an extent, that’s true. Fiat currency is still being used today, and not everyone tossed their checking accounts in the name of bitcoin, but it did start a financial revolution – a revolution so strong, it’s causing banks to rethink how they do business. Top-tier establishments like Deutsche Bank, UBS, BNY Mellon and Banco Santander are now creating their own cryptocurrencies and harnessing the same technology that makes bitcoin so popular and versatile.
The major issue is that people expect too much at once. If you look at bitcoin as something that was supposed to swoop in and change everything overnight, no doubt it would be deemed a failure, but bitcoin has only been around for eight years. That’s a fortnight in the world of business, and less than 24 hours in the arena of financial regulation. Banks are reexamining their methods and processes, and over time, the banks we know today will be null and void. Financial institutions are always likely to exist; the world can’t run on its own, but they’re likely to change so drastically that in a way, the traditional banking methods we’re so used to now will ultimately die.
And in that sense, banking as we know it is bound to become obsolete. Bitcoin deserves to be given appropriate time. If we remain patient, bitcoin will undoubtedly “change the world” like it said it would.