The cryptocurrency space has been highly saturated with various experts in different financial and technological fields since its emergence, especially during the peak of 2017. From Jordan Belfort to Jack Ma, such people have given their mixed opinions on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology and their potential to disrupt the way things are traditionally done in several industries.
After the ICO boom of 2017, this year saw a new wave of blockchain projects targeting privacy in transactions, supply chain, and logistics management, remittance, asset management, holding and tracking, amongst other things. At the current rate, disruption may occur faster than everyone expects. This expectation, along with watching events unfold in both positive and exciting ways, has made the cryptocurrency industry the topic of so much hype and buzz.
Naturally, field experts are drawn to either dispute or support the hype and Apple’s renowned co-founder and a heavily followed figure in the tech space, Steve Wozniak, is no different. According to Wozniak, at the WeAreDevelopers conference held in Vienna, Austria in May 2018, he is highly interested in Ethereum because, unlike Bitcoin, it is a platform where several actions can be carried out on. Wozniak was thinking differently when he said that Ethereum was the next Apple.
The Ethereum platform is a general favorite for several reasons. Proposed in 2013 by Vitalik Buterin and released in 2015, Ethereum is an open source, decentralized and distributed platform on which decentralized applications (DApps) can be built. Ether, the platform’s cryptocurrency is transferable and plays a massive role in consensus and functionality of such apps.
The platform also hosts the Ethereum Virtual Machine, a decentralized Turing complete machine that executes scripts written by independent developers. The network is protected through a Proof-of-Stake minting protocol as well as a pricing mechanism known as Gas. Long before other projects emerged, Ethereum was the first one with a programmable, buildable modification to the original Bitcoin code. This, along with several other elements, are what make the platform so popular, especially among industry experts.
Wozniak went ahead and compared Ethereum to Apple, saying that the former is just like Apple, especially in its long-term potential and may become just as influential as Apple is today, in the near future. He spoke on how Apple disrupted and completely transformed the entire personal computing space, and now Ethereum is mimicking a similar disruption in the blockchain industry by allowing smart contracts to be built on its platform.
In addition to expressing interest in Ethereum, he also described it as “the next major IT revolution,” due to the number of solutions to pressing issues that can be solved using apps created on the platform. He also predicted that cryptocurrency and blockchain technology will reach full potential in about 10 years.
Despite his revelation that he had been hit by a credit card scam earlier in 2018 in which he lost 7 BTC, Wozniak remains a supporter of Bitcoin. He has alluded to the idea that Bitcoin may be better than the U.S. dollar and even gold because gold is continuously mined and although the global supply of the mineral is finite, the exact amount isn’t as certain as that of Bitcoin, which is limited to 21 million tokens.
For a long time, he has been an open Bitcoin admirer because of its lack of government manipulation and the freedom it gives users to make transparent transactions on its blockchain network. He has also openly praised the fact that Bitcoin has a mathematical foundation set in stone and cannot be altered. However, Wozniak is not just an open praiser of the cryptocurrency; he once held quite a significant amount of it.
When Bitcoin’s value was about $700, he bought some tokens to experiment with paying for things when traveling without the need to use credit cards or cash. He spent time studying hotels and other service providers that accepted Bitcoin but at the time, adoption had not reached the state in which it currently is, so it was and still remains difficult for him.
Wozniak admitted that he also dabbled in online trading and tried to buy items online using Bitcoin. Unfortunately, he eventually got tired of the extreme volatility and sold off almost all his BTC in early 2018. During that period, Bitcoin saw frenzied jumps in price levels from its peak of almost $20,000 back to about $6,000. This quality makes it difficult to adopt cryptocurrency as a store of value, whether for long or short-term purposes.
Crypto redditors and other members of the online cryptocurrency ecosystem have expressed mixed opinions on Wozniak’s comparisons. While some support his claims, others have shown frustration and are annoyed by what they deem a lack of critical thinking within the industry.
At the conference, Wozniak also spoke about his renouncement of Facebook, tying the decision to “cultural intentions,” stating that it was not due to the recent Cambridge Analytica data breach issue. Currently, Wozniak still holds one Bitcoin and two ether so he can’t experiment with payment anymore.
Who is Steven Wozniak?
Steve Wozniak, known in popular circles as Woz, is a Silicon Valley technology expert, icon and philanthropist and has been active in the tech industry for the last 40 years. Along with Steve Jobs, he shaped the face of modern computing with the creation of Apple. Wozniak designed and developed the first line of Apple products including the Apple I in 1976 and Apple II in 1976 and played a significant part in the 1970s – 1980s personal computer revolution.
In 1981, Wozniak took a break from the company due to trauma from a plane accident, leaving the development of the Apple Macintosh to Steve Jobs. In 1985, he left Apple for good and went on to found CL 9, creating the first universal remote in the process in 1987. Since then, he has been an active contributor in tech, giving talks, and pursuing various philanthropic ventures. The tech guru is still active in the industry and has made several large strides since leaving Apple. He recently created the Woz University in Arizona, 31 learning centers as well as a program that provides learning grants to students.
Currently, Wozniak is the Chief Scientist at Primary Data, a popular data virtualization company. He has also remained on the Apple employees list and still represents the company at events. He holds shares within the company and still receives an annual stipend.
One half of the Apple pioneer duo, Steve Wozniak has made a name for himself on the tech scene. His latest opinion on cryptocurrency is one that paints it in a good light, irrespective of the negative parts associated with the market, such as high levels of volatility and theft. His comparison of Ethereum to Apple also gives further credibility to the vision that Ethereum founders have for their platform.
Steve Wozniak’s support for Bitcoin, Ethereum and blockchain technology in general, is a source of encouragement, especially to younger blockchain founders who often doubt the long-term use cases of their technology. Although Wozniak holds Bitcoin, he has made it clear that he is not an investor, just an industry participant. Maybe in the future, he will dabble in trade and experimentation again, just like he did before. However, whether or not this happens, his positive outspokenness and open attitude towards cryptocurrency is enough to influence the industry positively.