The development of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can be viewed with some clarity using Darwinism and evolution as an explanation, writes Shanna McEachern in the Global Banking and Finance Review.
McEachern refers to the massive numbers generated by cryptocurrency, seemingly out of nothing, to predictions that the digital currency market will evolve to USD 2 trillion by the end of this year. She asks, “is this the natural step in the evolution of capital markets?”, or are they in danger of extinction following in the dinosaurs’ unfortunate demise in another era of giants.
As McEachern points out, evolution occurs through the survival of small, inheritable mutations that render a species better able to survive and flourish through slow change and impact of initial change makers. There is no “eureka” moment, she claims. This is true as, over time, careful research ideas are developed, considered, tested and finally released into the public domain. Such was the case with Newton, only releasing his theories on gravity 20 years after he commenced his research.
It was exactly in this way that Bitcoin was born, emerging from the technology of DLT behind it after years of development. Although official records will inform that Bitcoin was invented by an unknown person or group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto and released as open-source software in 2009, it came from a much earlier seed. Some of the more colorful commentators even claim that it was created through rogue AI but if it was one person’s brainchild, it was the result of much time, thought and development before its exposure.
McEachern draws an interesting analogy to woodpeckers making holes in trees, later inhabited by another bird species, as an example of “ecosystem engineers”, as one species supporting one another without intent to do so; a kind of natural by-product. She draws this comparison to Bitcoin, fundamentally changing, in this case, a financial environment, which in turn benefits other aspects of it through DLT and blockchain, thus creating another evolving world.
“From Bitcoin, the ecosystem thus evolved to include a diversity of other species: from thousands of other cryptocurrencies to coin-based economies and blockchain technologies,” McEachern argues.
Where does this leave Bitcoin in the evolution of things? Returning to the dinosaur analogy, is there a financial cataclysmic event followed by its evolution facing dramatic closure or is it to evolve again into something even more innovative born from the original idea? McEachern indicates it could more than a beginning than an end, as social interaction and the desire for development and innovation perpetuates change:
“…just as molecular and organismal interactions bring novelty in the world of genetics, our media and social interactions (even when they feel redundant) bring innovation in modern ideas and technologies.”
McEachern concludes that it will be institutions that play the major role in cryptocurrency’s survival by investing in the “wealth” of concepts created by its evolution.
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