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Trickle Up Innovation; The 3rd World is Leading the Crypto Revolution


Innovation has always had strange way of making its way into the mainstream. It tends to emerge from the highly skilled fringes of society, especially in the tech world, where academics and bedroom engineers hatch ideas and nurture them into being. Early versions of any new tech often have either a high entry barrier or restrictive price tag, severely limiting the pool of early adopters to those with either the know-how or the cash to get involved.

Eventually, word spreads and price points come down, opening the floodgates for mass adoption. The tech usually becomes commonplace in middle class households before finally finding its way to low income users and developing nations.

For the most part this model has held true, from phones to cars to televisions. Take the refrigerator for example. In 1922, one of the first home refrigeration systems cost $714. At the time, you got to pick up a Model-T Ford for $450! This limited buyers to only the most affluent individuals.

Five years later, General Electric’s “Monitor-Top” unit reduced the price tag to $300 and over a million refrigerators were sold. It doesn’t take a rocket scientists to conclude that the lower the entry barriers falls, the more accessible a technology becomes.

However, crypto adoption is defying this trend…

While crypto’s founding fathers are similar to other innovations, restless inventors at the top of their fields, it is taking its own unexpected path to mainstream adoption. Mass crypto adoption isn’t slowly trickling down, but bubbling up from developing nations embracing the technology’s revolutionary potential.

Crypto is flourishing in the developing world for two main reasons.

1 – Economic instability has caused people in developing nations to welcome cryptocurrencies with open arms. Because crypto networks operate on a global scale and are decentralized, they are immune to the mismanagement of monetary policies by governments.

In Zimbabwe, although cryptocurrency is banned, citizens are still turning to crypto as an alternative to their nation’s fiat money, which at one point had a hyperinflation rate of 79,600,000,000 percent per month.

In developed nations crypto is infamous for its volatility, but in less economically stable areas, crypto provides a financial safe haven. Crypto also allows for access to greater financial services. Unbanked people can now secure their assets and transact digitally.

2 – Infrastructure, or lack thereof, also plays a major role in developing countries’ adoption of crypto. In developed nations, users quickly gain access to the latest iteration of a technology. Apple releases new, slightly modified iPhones annually to take advantage of this market.

However, this access to cutting-edge products due to wealth creates a barrier to the adoption of the latest and greatest. If the iPhone you bought last year still suits your needs, you have little incentive to upgrade immediately.

This problem is exacerbated by costly infrastructure and business models. Developed nations are littered with outdated phone lines, bloated businesses and quickly aging systems, but because so much money was poured into creating these systems, an effort is made to squeeze every bit of functionality out of them long after they are obsolete.

Crypto adoption is slowed to a crawl in developed countries because they already have a workable solution (stable banks) and a plethora of outdated infrastructure  that will continue to be used until it fails.

Developing nations do not have either problem. Smartphones are now affordable in even the least prosperous nations and any infrastructure that is built is new and cutting-edge. Nations like Nepal, which were left behind at the dawn of the digital age, now boast fiber optic networks that put America’s cable lines to shame. As long as you have access to a phone and a signal, the crypto world is yours for the taking.

It’s only matter of time before the levees break and the crypto floods the market. We’re seeing pressure from the some of the largest corporations in the world as well as up-and-coming nations. The developed demographic sitting in the middle is the last piece of the puzzle and this may be the first time in history that they are the last people to the party.

ICOBox is helping all kinds of businesses navigate the crypto space and prepare for blockchain revolution. We’re looking at everything from the latest technological developments to inadvertent use cases springing up in the most unlikely places. Examining the technologies the developing nations are employing could, for the first time, signal what is next to come for the countries at the top.

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