The Gartner Hype Cycle is a model that explains the reception of new technologies in our society. The market researcher Jackie Fenn invented this model working for the market research company Gartner. Hence the name Gartner Hype Cycle. In our first article, we explained how the Gartner Hype Cycle doesn’t fit perfectly to Bitcoin. It is not a mere technological innovation but it is also revolutionary regarding politics and our society.
Read Part 1.
Slope of Enlightenment
If you have and still follow developments in the market you will know about a few projects that you still find useful and that you are excited about. There are probably quite a few projects under the radar that will only prove their utility in a few years. Right now they are beneath the radar as they are still developing their products. Currently, you could describe all cryptocurrencies as unfinished. Including Ethereum, Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash. Only half a year ago, Vitalik Buterin estimated that Ethereum is finished by only 30%. Yet it was one of the cryptocurrencies with the highest gains in value until December 2017.
Currently, the crypto space is in the phase of trying out which ways of finding consensus, scaling etc. are viable. Therefore, the rivalry between Bitcoin Core and Bitcoin Cash is not bad but productive. The fundament for the slope of enlightenment is being built right now. And hopefully, this way we’ll reach the next stage of the Hype Cycle.
The Plateau of Productivity
In the Gartner model the Plateau of Productivity describes a stage where technology has calmly made it to its second or third generation. There is no hype around it and its integrated into our everyday life without causing much fuss about it. This is where we want Bitcoin & Co. to be. As this would alleviate some of the causes for volaitlity in the market. But it is likely still a long way until then. Given, the revolution that a widespread adoption would mean for our society we are likely talking about decades here.
Where are we now
Given that Bitcoin has entered the bear market, we are prone to say that we are on our way to the Trough of Disillusionment. However, I would like to argue that we are still in the time of technology trigger. How many of your friends that do not have an affinity for either libertarianism, a cypherpunk attitude or investing have actually adopted cryptocurrencies? Likely a minority. Bitcoin is more than just a technological innovation. It involves political and social changes as well. Therefore, we might currently experience a local through of disillusionment but it is almost sure that Bitcoin will create several more hypes when it wants to be mass adopted.
Sometimes, people call Litecoin e.g. the second generation of cryptocurrencies. Ethereum is than already the third generation. But it is more likely that all of these cryptocurrencies still belong to the same first generation. So far, there is no technological advance that made a first generation of cryptocurrencies obsolete. Which also reveals the nature of cryptocurrencies. They evolve in micro changes and steps, much more like organisms in nature than ordinary technological devices. However, that does not mean that cryptocurrencies will never radically change.
To apply the Hype Cycle correctly also proved to be difficult for its inventor. In 1999 Jackie Fenn correctly predicted that the Dotcom Bubble would come. However, in 1995 she also said that the “information highway”, the internet, had already seen its heydays. However, since that time, the internet has not stopped growing and being adopted by more and more people.