This post is the third post of mine on things I've learned in the 3 years I have been in crypto. So far I have only posted them in the EthFinance
daily since I didn't think they were worthy of dedicated posts but I have since figured I may as well post one here and see what you all think. Links to the first two posts are at the bottom.
Here’s part 3 of my thoughts and what I have learned after 3 years in the crypto space. Enough with the embarrassing stories for now. Today I’m going to talk about one of the most fundamental rules in emerging technologies. It is very simple and goes as follows.
- The network effect is king.
I cannot emphasise this enough. Coming into the crypto space I was already aware of the network effect. Just incase anyone here is unaware of the network effect, some dictionary app built into my MacBook defines the network effect as a phenomenon whereby a product or service gains additional value as more people use it
. It’s why everyone uses Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp despite the incredibly invasive data tracking and despite the existence of private, secure, end to end encrypted alternatives such as Signal or Wire which are just as easy to use. Nobody wants to be “that guy” who makes their friends sign up to a new service just to stay in touch with each other (for the sake of helping people take online privacy more seriously, please be “that guy”, I will love you long time). The fact that you can join and have all of your friends already there in the app ready to interact with gives these platforms more value than other platforms which are fundamentally better.
Unsurprisingly, crypto is no different. It’s why Bitcoin is still #1. The vast majority of people in crypto have a Bitcoin wallet and most people on the street have heard of Bitcoin even if they don’t know what it is. So if your store wants to accept Bitcoin or your website wants to accept donations, Bitcoin is the most obvious go to since most people will recognise the Bitcoin logo and anyone who owns crypto will almost certainly own some Bitcoin. However, if you display an ETH address, only those who truly delved deep into crypto and understand the advantages of Ethereum will have an Ethereum wallet. Just like how only the more privacy conscious individuals will have heard of or use Signal or Wire for messaging apps.
Now here is where the network effect is important for us. As everyone in this sub should know, Ethereum is a turing complete ‘world computer’ whereas Bitcoin is strictly a payment network or digital store of value depending on who you ask. This clearly indicates that Ethereum’s potential market is much larger that Bitcoin’s since it can do what Bitcoin does and has dozens of other use cases like being a global settlement layer, tokenisation of digital and real world assets, insurance, supply chain tracking etc etc. The list goes on. Most importantly, in the field of this ‘world computer’ ultimate use case for blockchain which Ethereum is chasing after, Ethereum has by far the largest network effect.
So what will it take for one of the many Ethereum killers to flip Ethereum? If you ask me, Ethereum’s head start is so large that even if the Ethereum ecosystem were to tear itself apart over a contentious hard fork I still wouldn’t be betting on a competitor to flip Ethereum’s largest fork unless we start to see some real adoption and infrastructure such as DeFi on these ETH killer chains. Ethereum being flipped seems about as plausible as Signal flipping WhatsApp. It’s pretty much a pipe dream.
But what about Bitcoin then? Does this mean that Ethereum will never flip Bitcoin either? No, of course not. In fact, Ethereum has already flipped Bitcoin in terms of daily value transfer on the network thanks to stablecoins.
As previously mentioned, Ethereum has a larger market to fill, so assuming the success of both Bitcoin and Ethereum, the flippening is almost inevitable. Like smart phones flipping basic mobile phones, it may take a while bit it will happen. It will take more time than many of us expected back in 2017.
As mentioned at the beginning, this is part 3 of a series of posts I will be making. You can find part one
and part two