Great Satell writes
2017 was a strange year, for many reasons. Politically, of course, it revealed things below the surface of our society that few of us realized were there. In terms of technology it has been seemingly quiet, with no real blockbuster launches of new companies or products, but under the radar big things are brewing.
Here are a few
IBM announced a 50 qubit quantum computer, up from just 5 a few years ago, promising quantum supremacy in 2018, at least in the lab. The steady success of Amazon Alexa and Google Home point to a serious shift to voice interfaces. JCESR came up with four prototypes for next generation batteries.
And there is one more innovation that popped up on the radar screen that may become the one we remember from this year. Want to hear the story? Here we go!!
Going back to the 1920’s a basic fact of human inclination was proven. People want to participate in creating value. During the 1920’s that translated into buying publicly traded shares of stock. Errr … as we all know, that came to a rather bad end. There was a bubble and crash, followed by rather onerous but effective securities laws that put a damper on things.
The added expense that securities laws imposed on the market was ok for the 120th century. After all, the trick was to get big, and so it made sense that only big firms would be raising capital on public stock exchanges. It took huge work, lots of capital and time to get to the point of doing an initial placement offering (IPO) on a public exchange.
But things began to change in the 1990’s. With tech, one could get into markets without a lot of capital. “Startups” went from fad to mainstream. We saw 2+ something millionaires and then billionaires. With that came a new class of investors — seed and early stage investors who pick winners form pre-prototype ventures. We all read about it, but relatively few folks played this game. It was mainly for rich people — because of securities laws.
Then along came crowd funding (Kickstarter etc.). Lots of people thought this would be a fad. But crowdfunding opened the door to participating in value added processes. Remember that basic human urge? Crowdfunding was a step forward to satisfying it. And it took off. Kickstarter now has a platform in Tokyo.
But crowdfuning has a limitation. If you pitch in a few bucks, you can get a reward. But it is a one off reward. You do not get ongoing participation.. And we know from the 1920’s that people want to participate.
So it is no huge surprise that with crypto, initial coin offering (ICO) markets are exploding. Are these scams?Most are. Will the ICO market crash? It is highly likely to see a serious correction. Will it disappear? I think not.
I think not because ICO’s meet a basic human demand — to participate in small but exciting new ventures. For that reason, I see the ICO explosion of 2017 as one of the biggest innovations of the year. Stay tuned on this one!
And that illustrates a funny thing about innovation. We won’t know if I am right for a few years. So it goes!