I started my exploration down the Bitcoin rabbit hole with a question:
Who will create the Netscape of the Bitcoin era?
The accepted wisdom is that Bitcoin today is like the Internet in 1992, before the Netscape browser made it accessible to the mainstream.
Maybe Netscape is the wrong analogy. Maybe the better question is:
Who will create the iTunes of the Bitcoin era?
The historical analogy is that Napster blew up the music business with free and illegal, but iTunes reaped the reward with cheap and legal. Bitcoin is blowing up the currency business with free and sort of maybe in some circumstances illegal (in other words, a regulatory hairball that makes the lawyers rich).
Steve Jobs brought MP3 digital music to the mainstream.
Will some entrepreneur or bank do the same with digital currencies?
iTunes scored by offering all the ease of use advantages of MP3 digital music; but rather than make it free, Steve Jobs just made it cheap (well, cheaper than CDs).
Consumers expect to pay something for payments and other banking services. Consumers don’t expect free. But they will probably switch from their current bank (the equivalent of buying CDs in a retail store) for a service that is 10x cheaper than alternatives but also legal, regulated and convenient.
This could come from:
– an existing big financial institution
– a big tech company like Apple, Google or PayPal.
– a startup.
Nothing on the horizon looks close. But then iTunes also took the market by surprise.