Like the Internet in the 80s

80s Computer

More and more people are coming to terms with the idea that the underlying theme for the cryptocurrency movement is progress.

As ex-PIMCO CEO and CIO Mohamed A. El-Erian noted this week, it’s the democratization of finance through technology and innovation:

This, of course, is what has been occurring in media for several years. The result is a proliferation of platforms for producing, aggregating, disseminating, and consuming content. Falling entry barriers and lower access costs have significantly democratized participation, whether in production or consumption. And, as hard as they try, many traditional media outlets — especially those unable to claim quite distinctive content — find it increasingly difficult to compete.

Now something somewhat similar is starting to happen in finance as well, albeit at a less frantic pace and — at least until now — in a less disruptive manner. And, as with media, the main innovations are being spearheaded by those outside the traditional institutional setup. Most consequentially, an emerging cohort of technology entrepreneurs understand the power of online/social media innovation to disrupt components of traditional finance, and are now leading efforts that include behavioral scientists and finance experts.

It’s only apt then that Ezra Klein’s recent media venture, Vox—built from the ground up with the digital world in mind—has been heavy on its crypto-coverage. Their latest video, an excellent primer for newbies on how bitcoin works and what it means, concludes that the scene is a lot “like the internet in the 80s”—since an open platform is the main selling point.

Photo: Adrian Pingstone