When people hear about cryptocurrencies, they think about alternative forms of money.
But Lane Rettig, one of Etherium’s (ETH-USD) former core developers, says crypto could change everything – from the way businesses are formed and run, to how tickets are purchased for sporting events and concerts, and how salaries are paid.
“It’s the beginning of a new economy that creates value for people everywhere,” Rettig told Yahoo Finance in an exclusive interview.
“Crypto will have a profound and long-lasting impact on our lives. What we’ve seen so far is relatively superficial. The social impact is just beginning. It’s going to impact every corner of society in our daily lives,” he added.
Although head-spinning volatility has come to be cryptocurrency’s defining characteristic, Retting thinks it’s very early – likely the first inning – for the sector. He likened it to 1980, just before Apple introduced the Mac.
“So, we’re a year or two away from it being more user friendly,” he said.
Crypto could spur a whole new generation of entrepreneurs and start-ups by making it drastically cheaper and easier to start a company. If small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy, crypto could cause them to rocket, fueling growth.
The promise of DAOs
Rettig pointed to a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) as the key to a potential entrepreneurial explosion. DAOs are organizations based on the blockchain designed to be automated and decentralized, using smart contracts in place of traditional corporate structures.
The idea is that the organization becomes democratized, run by those who purchase and hold tokens in the organization as opposed to a chief executive officer or board of directors.
To be sure, the sector has had its share of controversy. Last week, one prominent organization called BadgerDAO was at the center of a Bitcoin (BTC-USD) heist that cost crypto lender Celsius Network tens of millions.
But according to Rettig, DAOs are the new limited liability company or joint stock corporation – a social innovation from a couple hundred years ago that completely transformed the world. “I think DAOs are the next step in the evolution of human organization and I think it’s a generational shift that will take decades to play out.”
Rettig just created a DAO for a project to help social investment in Africa, which has more than 100 stakeholders based in different countries, spanning Europe, Africa and North America.
According to the investor, it wouldn’t have had the chance to take off as a corporation, given logistical and bureaucratic hurdles. Rettig’s organization has a governance structure with nine principals, where five of the nine need to vote on things to move funds around and vote on projects.
“All of this took minutes to set up and cost less than a dollar,” he told Yahoo Finance. “There’s no way this would have happened using traditional corporations. This is an example that shows there are all sorts of projects and applications that are possible now that wouldn’t have been possible before.”
The entrepreneur called it the textbook definition of disruptive innovation, likening the sector to cloud computing that revolutionized information tech, and catapulted Amazon and Microsoft to the top of the industry.
“DAOs have lots of issues, but I stake my professional reputation on the fact that DAOs will take over the world,” Rettig said.
“So I think the metaphor here is a DAO is to a company what a cloud server is to a physical company. You can spin them up and tear them down very cheaply,” he added.