Cast your mind back twelve years ago. To 2003.
The Internet in 2003 was a very different place. Commercially available broadband was only two years old, and the speeds of ADSL left a lot to be desired. Suffering from lacklustre download and upload speeds, simply transferring a 2GB file from the web to your computer could be a painful wait spread out across a few days.
Across the pond, computer science graduate Bram Cohen decided to try and do something about this issue.
Cohen developed BitTorrent, software that enabled users to download files from many different locations, therefore reducing the download time by simultaneously sharing the data and uploading to other users.
In the years that followed, BitTorrent’s popularity soared but it also became branded with enabling piracy. However, in my opinion, the reality is that in 2014 BitTorrent has had the opposite effect, with artists now utilising the programme as a powerful promotional tool to turn heads, and wallets, their way.
This shows us just how solving one problem can in turn create many more solutions to other problems. Artists and industries that choose to embrace, rather than shirk new technologies, often come out on top in terms of public image and bank balance.
So what now for 2015? Well, our money is on Bitcoin, continuing to turn heads and shake things up just as much as BitTorrent did.
Over the past two years, Bitcoin has made a huge name for itself by challenging traditional centralised currency with its real, decentralised alternative.
Thanks to Bitcoin, a number of exciting and interesting projects have appeared.
For instance, take Ethereum, a platform that allows developers to build decentralised applications for a huge range of products and services. Ethereum has been earning lots of recognition as being an incredibly ambitious project with the ability to challenge established platforms such as Google and Apple’s app stores.
Ultimately, the aim of Ethereum is to solve real world problems – and its limitation is only that of the developer’s imagination.
Another Bitcoin inspired project and ‘crypto-currency’ is Monetas.
Monetas is particularly special because it can be used for issuing currencies and stock, making international payments and transfers, and writing and depositing cheques, along with a range of other monetary actions – all without being tied to a bank account. This builds further on what BitCoin itself introduced.
Monetas also has the added benefit of being completely open source, which means that compatibility with existing banking technology and services such as PayPal is unhindered.
Essentially, this means that even people in the most underdeveloped or remote parts of the world will be able to have their own bank account tied to their mobile phone. There’s no doubt that the ability to make international, cross-currency transactions and payments in seconds will provide a massive advantage to people working abroad who need to send money home to their families too.
This is a fantastic development that moves tech savvy users away from the traditional modes of banking, which, generally…use a bank!
BitTorrent and BitCoin were both ultimately born out of the need to solve a problem, and have both changed the digital landscape and the wider world itself. This is the power of problem solving.