Professional border crosser. Preoccupied with crypto, design, travel and anything that turns on.
Each year, Kleiner Perkins publishes a riveting report on Internet Trends that’s put together by Mary Meeker. As always, the 2018 report was full of interesting data points and fascinating bits of info. However, there was one glaring omission: a multi-billion-dollar Cambrian explosion experiencing sector of seemingly limitless growth that was given just a single slide (out of 294) as it related to just one company and their growing user base.
For whatever reason, Meeker seems to have missed the memo that cryptocurrency is changing everything, despite having 3 slides on the grocery business.
So, I’d like to help by offering up the five slides that were missing from this latest Internet Trends report.
One easy way to measure the growth of cryptocurrency markets is by looking at the market capitalization.
Back in January 2016, the global market cap for all listed cryptocurrencies according to coinmarketcap.com was just over $7 billion, compare that to today’s mind blowing $345 billion, with just under 40% of that value belonging to bitcoin alone. Try to name another company or asset class that increased in value by such a drastic amount in just a few short years — you can’t! Sure, crypto prices have had their ups and downs, but over the long-term they’ve had a fairly consistent upward trend.
For decades, the only way for startups to get funding was to go with hat in hand to Venture Capital firms in exchange for massive amounts of equity and control of their company. Startup entrepreneurs had to convince a small room of finance bros that their revolutionary idea was not completely insane.
But that all changed in 2016 when ICO funding began picking up steam, and the market exploded by mid-2017. By then, ICOs were raising more than double the amount of capital that VC firms funded. This trend seems to be continuing with an almost endless number of companies and startups preferring to use ICOs as their fundraising vehicle to avoid having to go the VC route.
Is the threat to Kleiner Perkins business model the reason that trends in the cryptocurrency and ICO space were suspiciously absent from their latest report?
Cryptocurrency is, in many ways, a manifestation of the Internet itself. It exists entirely on the Internet, all transactions are processed through the Internet, and all blockchain assets will live their entire lives on the Internet, regardless of who owns them.
With that in mind, a number of major financial players from the old world are starting to see the value (or threat) of cryptocurrency and are clamoring to get on board. Players like the CMOE, CBOT, Goldman Sachs and Bloomberg are just a few of the major bigwigs investing in crypto. There’s no doubt the biggest opportunities in finance right now are in the crypto space. A few months ago, Binance announced they were more profitable than Deutsche Bank despite being just a year old.
Ethereum, the second largest and arguably fastest-growing cryptocurrency project and platform saw a parabolic growth spurt that still hasn’t stopped.
According to blockchain data, Ethereum saw an increase of 352,888 addresses in a single day, and the number of unique active addresses now stands close to 40 million. This is important because Ethereum now powers an ever-growing army of DApps that run on its platform.
Surprisingly enough, the number of active Ethereum addresses has surpassed the number of active bitcoin addresses. One individual can have more than one Ethereum address, but data from providers like Coinbase suggest that 35 million Ethereum investors is likely not too far from the truth.
According to Finance Magnates, 1,090 DApps (decentralized apps running on the blockchain) and 700 tokens were launched on the Ethereum network in 2017. While it’s difficult to estimate, some DApp tracking sites claim that there are at least 1,500 DApps already.
But what is a DApp, and why should we care? DApps are decentralized applications. Think of them like websites, software, or as the names suggests, apps. DApps are powered by an army of miners and network nodes across the globe. DApps are flexible, powerful and almost impossible to stop.
DApps can be almost anything, from financial services like a decentralized bank, to online games with millions of players, to almost anything else one could imagine (like a way for complete strangers to stay at each other’s houses in order to avoid staying in a hotel).
We’re still waiting for blockchain’s first true “killer DApp.” But in the next 6–12 months more and more projects funded by ICOs will become operational, and the entire space should begin to show more true value to end users.
Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency will be as transformative as the Internet in the next 20 years.
In the ensuing decades, it’s possible that we will look back on the current web as being nothing more than a series of walled gardens and siloed resources controlled by a handful of overly powerful centralized corporations. Cryptocurrency and blockchain are changing all of that, and soon the Internet of the future will be one that is created by and powered by all of us.
And so, Mary Meeker, please don’t forget about us next year, for your own sake. Or perhaps we should say, we know you won’t have a choice on the matter, simply because the growth of this sector is unstoppable.
Needless to say, I’ll be eagerly awaiting your next report.
Keith Baumwald is the CMO & CPO for Celsius Network, a fintech company building a borrowing and lending platform for the blockchain.
Create your free account to unlock your custom reading experience.