Cryptocurrencies' collective market caps have shot up as high as $177 billion, as of the time of writing this piece. Considering the year started in the low tens of billions, that's a considerable jump. That's a lot of growth in less than 10 months, and things don't appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
Since the advent of the internet itself and the subsequent digital gold rush, people have been looking for the next big thing.
You may remember this video, when hosts of the Today show were asking, "What is internet?" That was back in 1994, when most people didn't understand what the internet was.
The same thing is happening now, but it's called blockchain.
The characteristics are similar. Blockchain is a technology that is new to most people (except insiders), and hardly anyone actually understands it. The technology is infinitely complex (cryptographic hashes and deep algorithms) and extremely simple (a decentralized ledger) at the same time. Just the way the internet was to people back in 1994.
Blockchain is creating an avenue, so to speak, on which technology can catch up and disrupt outdated industry and add on to sophisticated industries in a disruptive way. There are lots of outdated industries that just haven't had the right technology yet to disrupt them.
"Blockchain is going to quickly make its way into a lot of old industries and replace traditional processes -- everything from manufacturing to farming, to oil and gas, and especially my favorite, shipping," said Blockchain World Conference speaker John Monarch.
The entire venture capital industry has been taken over by token sales (ICOs) this year. More money has been raised recently through token sales than all of VC combined, according to calculations I've seen.
If you had asked anyone a few years ago if something would come along that would disrupt the venture capital industry, the person would have thought you were crazy.
But now, as Uber did to the cab industry, blockchain is doing to other industries. Banking is in the crosshairs of blockchain right now. You have CEOs of major banks desperately attempting to discredit blockchain tech, as they know it could take over their industry and make them redundant. Unless, of course, they accept what is happening and embrace it by using the technology.
Wall Street is already wise to blockchain and cryptocurrency in some regards. For example, it appears there are several ETFs attempting to create funds that would allow people to get into Bitcoin or Ethereum through traditional accounts. This brings a lot of money, notably institutional money, into the space.
Blockchain and cryptocurrency are right around that early 1990s moment when others were wondering what the internet was. It's happening, and it won't be stopped now. The snowball effect is well under way, and the mainstream is learning more and more about the technology and currencies every single day.
Every single day it feels like we see another notable figure weigh in on the technology, cryptocurrencies, ICOs, or some aspect of the industry. An area nobody at all understood now has more than one million people a month signing up for Coinbase alone to buy cryptocurrencies.