Most all the talk in the mainstream media regarding cryptocurrencies surrounds Bitcoin (BTC) but I contend there’s a company that could ultimately be even bigger than BTC. In fact, I believe it could eventually even dwarf Microsoft and Apple as companies.
As is the theme of our website “Reminiscing the Internet”, take yourself back to the 1980s (if you were an adult then; if not, enjoy this true story).
The year was 1984 and the “classic” Mac OS original operating system (OS) was first introduced inside the first Macintosh. Apple as a company was advanced dramatically with this technological innovation. This innovation launched a small company as a challenger to the industry behemoth at the time in IBM (remember Apple’s “1984” commercial that aired during Super Bowl XVIII on Jan. 22, 1984; if not Google it) and was about to change the world as we knew it then.
There was one feature about the original “classic” Mac operating system, though, that led to its initial limited growth relative to its competition, and certainly hampered the growth of the company. That feature was the result of a decision by Apple corporate management that any software that ran on that computer and its operating system would be written by Apple and kept internal to Apple, highly secretive and a “closed” type of operating system.
Previously, in 1981, a Seattle company named Microsoft created its own version of an operating system (OS) named MS-DOS. But they introduced it in quite a different fashion than Apple did with their OS. Whereas the Apple OS was considered a “closed” type operating system, Microsoft ingeniously decided to take what at the time was considered a mistaken and revolutionary approach to their OS.
Microsoft did something that, at that time was unheard of in technological company corporate circles. They took their innovative technology and open-sourced the code to it, that opened it up to the world, to allow any company to write software applications (apps) to run on their operating system. And the race was on, to see who would be the winner, “open” or “closed” software system architecture.
When Microsoft decided upon “open architecture” instead of “closed architecture”, this really was revolutionary. It launched a way of running companies that opened a company’s innovations to others, to write independent applications, to utilize that company’s innovations for the collective benefit of both companies and the greater good of society at large. In hindsight, this was truly brilliant and a revolutionary innovation which led to greater levels of growth on the part of businesses going forward.
The result was dramatically faster, more rapid growth of the use of the MS-DOS operating system running the, at that time, IBM personal computers, that found themselves eventually competing head-on with the Apple personal computer. Software programs were written to run on the IBM computer much easier and faster than the Apple computer, which propelled adoption and growth of the IBM personal computer ahead of the Apple computer at a much faster rate.
IBM’s decision to work with Microsoft also helped put MS-DOS “on the map” and created in Microsoft what would become one of the most valuable corporations in the world. The first IBM PC was based on an Intel 8088 microprocessor and used Microsoft´s MS-DOS operating system. The IBM PC revolutionized business computing by becoming the first PC to gain widespread adoption by industry.
IBM’s PC inspired hardware imitators in the 1980s like Apple, Osborne, Commodore, Franklin, but for software, most licensed MS-DOS. MS-DOS became the most important piece of software through the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s. It is still the standard operating system today, forming the basis for Microsoft’s Windows operating system. Countless investors became rich through buying and holding Microsoft shares. The company was one of the biggest success stories of the computer age. From 1986 (when it went public) to today, the stock is up well over 165,000%.
Now one could argue the same for Apple (market value today: >$2 trillion) compared to Microsoft (market value today: $1.9 trillion), but that would not take into account all the technological and marketing innovations of Apple Corp. (think iPhone, iPad, iPod, App Store), over Microsoft, since the turn of the century (which is a whole different conversation). That factor, in addition to Apple eventually opening up their operating system to external innovators, has resulted in more apps available on the App Store today for the iPhone than any other mobile device.
However, the real story here is, we face a similar, even greater opportunity today, with the benefit of both hindsight and foresight. That opportunity is called blockchain, as opposed to internet. And interestingly, Bitcoin (BTC) operates on its own blockchain dubbed the BTC blockchain while another company, Ethereum (ETH), operates on its own blockchain dubbed the ETH blockchain.
The main difference between the two companies is that BTC has a relatively “closed” blockchain by previously not making it possible (having no interest) and lately even not making it easy (but that’s a work in progress) for outside companies to launch apps to run on its blockchain. ETH has previously and purposely opened its blockchain code to the world, enabling any company to write and launch an application to run on its blockchain, similar to what Microsoft did in the 1980s. The Ethereum blockchain is an open, borderless financial system that represents a wide variety of assets as cryptographic tokens, with more being created daily.
The result is that Ethereum could realistically go on to become one of the largest companies in the world in the next 5-10-15 years, but you still have the opportunity to buy “shares” in the company at “1980s prices” before it potentially goes on to become one of the largest companies in the world at some point in the future and creating life-changing, generational changing wealth for those who buy ETH today or purchased it previously.
All digital asset transactions involve risk, and the past performance of a digital asset or other financial product does not guarantee future results or returns. Cryptocurrencies are highly speculative in nature, involve a high degree of risk and can rapidly and significantly decrease in value. It is reasonably possible for the value of Cryptocurrencies to decrease to zero or near zero. While diversification may help spread risk, it does not assure a profit or protect against loss. Buyers should consider their objectives and risks carefully before buying. Previous gains may not be representative of the experience of other customers and are not guarantees of future performance or success. You may wish to consult with a Financial Advisor.