The next few years are certainly going to be interesting for cryptocurrency. The rapid growth of technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing are going to transform not only cryptocurrency, but the whole world.
In all of these developments one thing is clear: we are at a crossroads. Either cryptocurrency will completely revolutionize the financial system, or its powerful technologies will become co-opted and suppressed by existing legacy systems which will use them to control us once and for all.
While there is a lot of speculation involved in forecasting the future, there are in fact a few things we can (hopefully) agree on.
- Nothing will stay the same (at least in terms of technology)
- Humans will stay the same (at least in terms of their genetics, tendencies, etc.)
- The technologies which survive and succeed will be those which will be able to adapt to external changes while simultaneously appealing to the simple, primal instincts we all possess
Recognizing these three things to be true, we can say with some certainty that cryptocurrency will continue to exist in some way shape or form in the future. This is in fact regardless of whether totalitarian experiments such as Libra ever get off the ground (and given enough money and time, they probably will).
If all governments convert their economies to centralized digital currencies, the equally immense black market of under-the-table labor, gambling, and other industries will invest heavily into technologies to sustain themselves (look up the numbers, they will surprise you).
As such, the first and arguably most likely future of cryptocurrency is one where everything is regulated, everything is tracked, and you may in fact have some sort of implant and similar device which you will use to interface with not only financial transactions, but potentially even the entire world.
That is quite a ways down the line, but it seems like a likely outcome. This is for one simple reason: people love control. At the individual level, you will love having even more control over your environment. The ones who designed the technology you use will love having the control to control you.
The second potential future of cryptocurrency involves a truly free and decentralized marketplace where individuals and ideas can compete fairly. Many things which were only possible on paper have been made a reality thanks to cryptocurrency (e.g. Ampleforth, an elastic currency).
Creating a robust system where we live a technologically advanced life while simultaneously keeping our autonomy is very possible. It is just unlikely given the sheer force of entities such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon. This also does not account for the fact that we may not like the outcomes of a truly leveled playing field, because we will very quickly see that no two individuals nor groups of individuals are equal.
If you have made it this far then you are probably wondering whether your favorite cryptocurrency will be around when you are old (or immortal). The simple answer is probably not. The fact of the matter is that technologies such as quantum computers and AI will be able to completely undo most if not all of the currency cryptocurrency blockchains we have today. That being said, developers in the future can always find a way to either protect their blockchains from these technologies or even create newer versions of the same cryptocurrencies on quantum powered blockchains.
The evolution of the cryptocurrency space is very much like regular evolution. Thousands of blockchains and projects are competing for dominance and only a few of them will survive. Some will be able to adapt and continue, and each day new projects are being added which challenge the dominance of giants such as Bitcoin or Ethereum.
In this sense it is very unlikely that the cryptocurrencies we see today will be around in 50 years, maybe even Bitcoin. It is hard to imagine something that is “Bitcoin but better”, but given the amount of new projects coming in every single day, it is only a matter of time before it happens.
What does this mean in terms of investing? Well, do not take this as financial advice, but consider almost any investment you see today as something short term (3-5 years). With the exception of aggregated investments such as the S&P 500 index there is really nowhere you could put your money where it will hold its value for sure (except maybe land on this Earth).
Even gold cannot be said to be a sustainable long-term store of value anymore. Why? Consider that countries are gearing up to begin mining on the moon in the next few years. What would happen to the price of gold if a large supply of it was found floating somewhere in our galaxy? Exactly – not good. It will not happen anytime soon, but there is a very likely chance it will happen by the end of this century at the rate things are developing today.
So, what should you do? Diversify and be willing to adjust your position in terms of life and investment as the situation changes. Oddly enough, the way to be successful in cryptocurrency investing as the space evolves is also the same way to be successful in regular evolution: adapt.
Do not fall into the trap of maximalism for any currency, even though they may be dominant for that time. Always be looking forward. Read about new projects. Think about whether they offer something which appeals directly to our primal human brains. So long as you do this, you will be successful in (almost) all of your investments.