Apple’s “backroom genius” Steve Wozniak recently told a crowd in Vienna that mistakes made by Facebook and Google spell even better times for the tech giant, but what captivated his audience most was his upbeat take on Ethereum, which he compared to Apple itself “because it can do things and because it’s a platform”.
Speaking at the Vienna WeAreDevelopers conference earlier this month, Wozniak said Ethereum could potentially become as big and powerful as Apple.
And during his opening speech, he called blockchain “the next major IT revolution that is about to happen”.
Within a decade, the full potential of both blockchain and cryptocurrencies will be realized.
It’s not a shocker to anyone who has been following Wozniak lately. Last year, he said bitcoin is better than gold or the U.S. dollar.
But that doesn’t mean Wozniak is playing free and loose with Ethereum—or any other cryptocurrency, for that matter. He understands the risks, and the timing, but that doesn’t stop him from seeing the future.
There are plenty of others who would agree with Wozniak on Ethereum, even if there is no consensus on the timing for something as big as Apple to take shape.
Predictions are a tricky business, and those who were calling the ‘Great Flippening’—the point in time when Ethereum would overtake bitcoin in terms of market cap—for late 2017 or early 2018 were clearly wrong.
But Wozniak is a more cautious soothsayer: When it happens exactly is not the point. But as he sees it, because Ethereum is different it will play a major role in our crypto future. Related: The U.S. Dollar Is Set To Continue Its Rally
So what makes it different?
The brainchild of then-19-year-old Russian programmer Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum went live only in 2015, four years after bitcoin got off the ground. But it’s not a pure-play cryptocurrency like bitcoin—nor is it a currency at all, really: It won’t really work as a means of exchange or a store of value.
This is why Wozniak sees big things ahead for Ethereum. It’s a platform, not a currency, and it’s purpose in life is to create blockchain-based contracts and smart contracts. The cryptocurrency aspect of Ethereum is just a side hobby.
Wozniak isn’t terribly interested in the currency itself. According to Monty Munford, writing in an op-ed for Forbes after interviewing Wozniak more than once, the Apple genius got rid of his cryptocurrencies holdings a few months ago and now keeps only one bitcoin and two Ether in order to “experiment with paying for different things”. “[he] does not want to be an investor and constantly watch the prices,” Wozniak told the Vienna conference.
So, to understand fully where Wozniak is coming from, we need to view Ethereum as a blockchain platform and separate it from bitcoin and other digital tokens. By doing that, we get to the core of the future ‘Apple’.
While blockchain technology underpins cryptocurrencies, it’s much more than digital tokens.
And Wozniak’s predictions about blockchain and Ethereum may already be coming true. Consider this recent cryptocurrency index from China's Center for Information Industry Development. It ranks Ethereum #1 and bitcoin’s blockchain comes in at only #13.
From this perspective, Ethereum has both technological and organizational advantages over bitcoin.
By Jan Bauer for conil.me
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