Chapter 1: The Four Most Transformative Innovations in the History of Commerce Chapter 1 The Four Most Transformative Innovations in the History of Commerce
All human advances are due to innovation—from new ways of thinking to the invention of new tools. In the world of commerce, it’s been suggested that the four most impactful innovations are:
- The wheel
- The internet
- The blockchain
It’s easy to agree that the first three changed history. But blockchain? “You shouldn’t have asked me to show you how it works.”
Yeah, blockchain. Think of it as Internet 3.0. The first internet connected people on a mass scale—think Facebook and social media. You know how impactful that was (and still is). That led to Internet 2.0 (more commonly called IoT, the Internet of Things). This internet connects things to each other—my dog wears a collar that tells my phone if she leaves the yard. And at the grocer, a QR code tells the automated checkout kiosk that I’m buying a banana.
Internet 3.0 is the Internet of Money, aka blockchain. Connecting money via the internet is as transformative to commerce and society as the Internet of People and the Internet of Things have been, and because “money makes the world go ’round,” Internet 3.0 will prove to be even more impactful than its predecessors. The wealth-creation opportunities on a global scale are truly unprecedented.
Indeed, Nasdaq says blockchain technology “holds great promise in allowing capital markets to operate more efficiently with greater transparency and security.” The Bank of England (Great Britain’s central bank, comparable to our Federal Reserve) goes even further, saying blockchain technology could transform the world’s financial system. More than 90% of the world’s banks are developing blockchain technology; in 2021, Bank of America alone filed more than 160 patent applications involving digital payment technologies. JPMorgan Chase says banks will save $120 billion a year. Banks and other companies spent $6.6 billion on blockchain R&D in 2021 and will spend $19 billion annually by 2024, according to market intelligence firm IDC. Already, almost all the nation’s top colleges and universities offer courses in blockchain and digital assets, and blockchain engineers are now the highest-paid programmers in the country, earning $175,000+ a year. (According to LinkedIn, US job postings for “crypto” and “blockchain” positions skyrocketed 1,000% in 2021. Major financial services firms, including JPMorgan Chase, BNY Mellon, Deutsche Bank, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Capital One, UBS, Bank of America, Credit Suisse, and Barclays, hired 40% more crypto employees in 2021 than in the prior year. Jobs include sales professionals, workers designing crypto offerings for consumers, and engineers building blockchain platforms for banks.)
Excitement isn’t limited to the financial sector. MarketsandMarkets reports that the blockchain market will grow 53% per year, reaching $3.2 billion by 2026. For example, Billboard
magazine says blockchain “offers solutions to intractable problems, such as song rights monitoring and reliable distribution of royalties and event tickets.”
All this helps explain why PricewaterhouseCoopers says blockchain technology will add nearly $2 trillion to the $80 trillion global economy by 2030. Transformative, indeed.