Ethereum was ready to conquer the world. But is he living up to his full potential? We hear about the "new Ethereum" from people like Stellar and NEO all the time – what's wrong with the old one?
And what should Ethereum do to overcome Bitcoin, put these suitors in their place and settle the topic for good: the king of the dApp and the blockchain of choice?
The answer lies in the ecosystem of Ethereum, rather than in the token of Ether. Ethereum is smarter, more sophisticated and more talented than the Bitcoin protocol. Smart contracts and dApp could form a completely new Internet and Ethereum is waiting for the world to reach the concept.
Big business is starting to create applications that are built on Ethereum's blockchain or interact with it. It is hard to believe that Vitalik Buterin built this decentralized network when he was only 19 and that the engineering teams kept looking at him and scratching his head four years later.
Unless smart contracts are really coming for Bitcoin, it's all about transactions, while Ethereum is much more nuanced.
Everything from financial and encryption to games and advanced payment systems is already available. So what are the big changes – both technical and business model – that could send Ethereum through the roof?
1. Pole validation test
Proof of work is an obsolete concept that needs updating. The new Casper FFG is not like that, but it's a great security upgrade and a step in the right direction. It does not completely replace extraction, but only shifts the power and gains to the validators.
The hybrid version of Casper is a tentative step, but Buterin does not see the test run down the road and this cheaper the quicker system takes its place.
The big problem with Bitcoin is the transaction costs and the time it takes to process it. Ethereum is trying to reduce the cost of a transaction and to create a usable system.
The simple truth is that transaction algorithms, protocol alignment centers, and mining processes must be more efficient. Cheaper and faster transactions will lead to widespread uptake and bring blockchain into the real world, rather than simply into the investment space.
This goes beyond the validation of the Pole Test, but this is a strong starting point.
2. Better dApp
On our phones, most of us simply want a working system and the apps we like. It's the same thing on the blockchain and its dApp are the key to its success.
We get lost in a world of prices, investments, bulls and bears. At the heart of the crypt, however, there is functionality. Ethereum was not built to make money, it was built to change the world. The first is simply a happy by-product of this last.
At the moment there are many more Ethereum-based apps than people realize and you can do anything from the purchase of art to the license of music and photos. Smart contracts mean that we are able to implement complex agreements without human involvement.
A work contract based on Ethereum, for example, could fully derive trust from the equation. If the contract itself ensures the initial funds and pays for the completion of the work, the workers will always be paid and the work will be monitored. This requires a level of middle management and greed and human laziness out of the payment chain.
At the moment, there are more than 40 dApp available in Apple stores and Google Play. But we need a landscape of thousands of people and they need to improve and take full advantage of the exceptional talents of Ethereum. At this moment, simply is not the case.
3. Increased availability of ether
The fact is that the public does not spend its time on the exchange of cryptocurrencies. They do not need to know that they are on the blockchain, but a high-profile cryptocurrency that people could buy physically, could change the public's relationship with the entire cryptographic environment. Buterin believes we should be able to buy a prepaid card at any store and that day is almost certainly coming.
Whole cryptocurrencies have been created around the concept of bridging the gap between fiat and cryptocurrencies. The idea of entering a store and buying encryption as easily as phone credit is an attraction that will bring Ether and the framework on which it is built into the mainstream.
Once Ether is available in stores, it becomes an international currency by itself and this turns it into a more practical payment option for multinational corporations. Inevitably, they will have to accept the legal currencies, but the frictionless nature of an Ether payment could lead to discounts that the public is tempted to en masse.
4. The adoption of mass beyond the cryptographic ecosystem
And speaking of … human beings are herd animals and the blockchain is new and frightening. Put simply, the vast majority of people, companies and even governments want others to take the risk and make mistakes on their behalf.
When the blockchain is out there, working perfectly, there will be haste. Estonia and Dubai are pioneers who are leading the way. Australia has now joined with IBM to create blockchain services and the business world is catching up.
The blockchain is gaining momentum, but the various protocols are still digging a new market between them. Ethereum is perfectly positioned, but the encrypted world is so new that it would not take much to overturn the balance.
Just as cryptocurency itself needs to reach critical mass, Ethereum must do the same. A simple public relations campaign could be the difference between domination and death at this point, which takes us to the last point …
5. A lively social network
Facebook has not driven exactly the Internet, but has become an outsized force. Now, however, a bad row of censorship will not go away and Facebook suddenly faces a world where #DeleteFacebook has made its way into public consciousness.
Could it be the right time for Minds (or another similar social network?) To take charge? We think it could be, and this would help bring Ethereum to a whole new level. If the social network is based on Ethereum, it is a small step to promote it to the masses.
Minds was launched in 2015 and has just 1 million users compared to Facebook's 2 billion, but has some clear advantages. In addition to committing himself not to censor political opinions, Minds also wants to pay its users for their contribution.
At the moment, tokens can not be exchanged and can only be used to buy shares, but the framework is ready to pay for you on social media in good time. A Patreon style tipping system is also in place and there is much to be appreciated about Minds.
The mind runs on … Ethereum.
Ethereum will continue to evolve, smart contracts will improve and the current race of developers will learn how to use this new exceptional tool. As they do it, the public, the big business and governments will learn to accept it. The blockchain will gain legitimacy, technical excellence, flexibility and exposure. If Ethereum remains on its current course and incorporates these changes, it could be the horse to bet on.
The author is not currently invested in any digital currency