The latest frenzy: rise of the token

The advent of blockchain has the potential to be the beginning of a new technological revolution

May 14, 2018 | Evan Jaysane-Darr, Jessica Mulvihill and Mariam Waheed

Bitcoin and other cryptotokens have captivated a large segment of the retail investment world in ways not seen since the dotcom bubble of 1998-2000. In spite of (or perhaps because of) the volatility present in these assets, speculators of all stripes have been attracted to the emerging asset class by the echo of ever increasing prices. It is undoubtedly a speculative bubble. Yet most speculative bubbles have something real and potentially transformative underpinning them, and crypto is no exception.

Blockchain, tokens and initial coin offerings (ICOs) could prove fundamentally disruptive to established hierarchies as the only non-regulatory solution to the antitrust trap created by our incumbent tech-aggregators. They can enable machine-to-machine communication and payments, while mitigating single points of failure. More broadly, they have the potential to further democratize societies while alleviating some of our persistent income inequality.

But utopianism aside, as in prior periods of innovation, the markets may benefit from what could be the next technological revolution.

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