- Andrew Kiguel is the CEO and cofounder of Tokens.com, a publicly traded company that invests in Web 3.0 assets.
- He says that while bitcoin is the biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, its technology is dated and it consumes too much energy.
- Newer cryptocurrencies, like ethereum, are more adaptable and will dominate the market.
- This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.
If the latest slew of cryptocurrency commercials at the Superbowl is any indicator, crypto is officially mainstream. Advertisements featuring stars like LeBron James and comedians like Larry David show that everyone is getting in on crypto. Coinbase, one of thelargest cryptocurrency exchanges, has even offered new users a promotion of $15 worth of bitcoin to sign on. But most of this excitement isn’t focused on bitcoin. Last year, the venture, over $33 billion of capital flowed into crypto, but very little went toward bitcoin development.
While bitcoin was initially perceived by the mainstream as a mysterious and nefarious form of payment for drugs and contraband, those who evangelized the cryptocurrency spoke of it revolutionizing our financial systems and our concept of money. It was the beginning of a financial counterculture in response to a distrust of government and financial institutions in the wake of the Great
in 2008. Today, veteran investors like Ray Dalio and financial institutions like Fidelity and Goldman Sachs are embracing bitcoin.
While bitcoin remains the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, its representation of the overall market capitalization of cryptocurrencies is in decline.
So what has changed that is driving development capital away from bitcoin?
For one thing, as a usable consumer payment system, bitcoin hasn’t succeeded. While bitcoin is a mainstream asset, its inherent flaws rarely allow it to be used as a common payment system. For example, it’s slow. Let’s face it: No one wants to wait 20 minutes at the coffee shop for their bitcoin payment to go through.
The first bitcoin traded in 2009 — a year when the latest feature on the iPhone was 3G and 32 gigabytes of storage was considered luxurious. Thirteen years on, the technology behind bitcoin is dated. It isn’t built to process the high volume of transactions we require from it today. Its narrative has also pivoted from a payment system to a storage of value, primarily because its supply is maxed out at 21 million. Its verification process is also heavily criticized for its vast electricity consumption.
While the technology behind bitcoin is a historic technological achievement, the use cases for the crypto are one-dimensional. New, exciting ways to use this technology have emerged. Nonfungible tokens are changing the way art and music are bought and sold. Decentralized finance is changing the way consumers manage their capital. And the metaverse is seeking to redefine social media, online gaming, advertising, and shopping.
Every form of consumer technology will be affected by these new crypto use cases, none of which are related to bitcoin.
New cryptocurrencies are dominating the market
Ethereum launched in 2015 and is now the second-largest cryptocurrency by
. And just like bitcoin, it represents a pivotal change for blockchain technology. I dislike calling ethereum a cryptocurrency because it is much more.
Ethereum is a global computing-engine powerhouse capable of being programmed, akin to Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android operating system. Similar to how developers create apps for iOS or Android, developers can create decentralized apps with the ethereum blockchain. Today, the ethereum blockchain is the building block for consumer crypto products. It is used to create everything from NFTs to video games.
This new breed of cryptocurrency can simply do many things that bitcoin cannot. Ethereum also consumes far less electricity and is deemed more environmentally friendly.
I love bitcoin and what it represents. But the crypto utility has leaped beyond the digital value it provides.
The future of crypto belongs to the creation of a wide variety of consumer applications with use cases far more significant than bitcoin’s.
Andrew Kiguel is the CEO and cofounder of Tokens.coma publicly traded company that invests in Web 3.0 assets.
Disclosure: The author has positions in Tokens.com, Metaverse Group, Bitcoin, and Ethereum.