Investors who have just begun to become interested in blockchain and cryptocurrencies may have the sinking feeling that they have missed the boat.

Nothing can be further from the truth. The bitcoin phenomenon has only shown that blockchain is a viable means of protecting important information. What happens next will make the value created by bitcoin seem insignificant.

Forbes came to this same conclusion, noting that even a limited use of blockchain would result in a huge disruption of the financial services industry and a massive increase in efficiencies.

Bitcoins
Bloomberg News

Disrupting industries creates tremendous value. Very large, established industries like financial services have strongly entrenched ways of doing business that, over time, have become inefficient. The internet was an incredibly powerful disrupting influence on the retail shopping industry. Large retail chain stores continue to go out of business, displaced by companies that enable customers to shop at home.

Blockchain can do to other industries what online retailers did to brick-and-mortar stores. Industry analysts see what is coming and have begun to discuss innovative uses of blockchain to secure important information. However, this is only the first application of next-gen blockchain. The most powerful force in human history is the power of a community focused on an important goal, and cryptocurrencies are the means of unifying that community.

America became a nation when it minted a national currency. The European Union took a major step forward when it issued the euro. This is where the real impact of the next-gen blockchain will be seen. Bitcoin was the wrapping paper on the blockchain present, and cryptocurrencies used in mainstream financial transactions that have no need to go “undetected” will bring incredible efficiencies to a wide variety of industries. The value of these efficiencies, the money saved and not wasted, will migrate toward the cryptocurrency that created the value.

Industry-specific blockchains are only beginning to enter the market, and the economic impact will be remarkable. The comparison to the impact that the internet had on brick-and-mortar retail stores is understated. Cryptocurrencies that are properly engineered to disrupt industries and create value through greater efficiency are the real opportunity investors are looking for.