Microsoft Switches Off and On
Blockbuster headlines never come easier than ‘Business [X] Announces End of Support for Crypto [Y].’ Sure crypto enthusiasts and more cautious souls know better, but for avowed cynics — or perhaps those who just ‘business as usual’ and worry that crypto and blockchain innovations may outpace their business — every journalist knows an article like that will get eaten right up.
Unquestionably, any fair assessment of the current state of crypto and blockchain needs to acknowledge some fundamental realities. That is, in some areas its potential hasn’t yet been fulfilled by its proof, and just because it’s new doesn’t mean it by default should overtake anything that is old.
Previously Microsoft has oscillated between accepting and not accepting bitcoin payments in its online stores. In fact, in just a brief period of 48 hours, coverage between January 8th and 10th stated Bitcoin payments were now a no-go in the online store before confirmation was given only two days later by Microsoft of the crypto’s acceptance resurrection.
While (notwithstanding the above) Microsoft’s current generation of leadership led by Satya Nadella appears more receptive to Bitcoin and blockchain, Microsoft founder and its former CEO Bill Gates have made headlines for calling Bitcoin “rat poison squared.” To what extent Gates’ ethos still echoes around the halls of Microsoft HQ is know only to employees, but it does illustrate the sharp divide that can exist between one generation to the next and one corporate leader to another.
Nvidia Calls Time on Crypto
In August news emerged renowned graphics card and computer chip maker Nvidia would put an end to its previous crypto venture. Just nine months before Nvidia had kicked off a big bold plan to win miners from near and far with the sales of its Nvidia’s GeForce chips.
Yet it all ultimately came to a short and sudden stop, with Nvidia citing revenue concerns. While the profits they made, hitting over $289 million before mid-2018, were cited as unsustainable, and Nvidia’s presence in the crypto world ended almost as soon as it began. In the short term it may be said the team at Nvidia got out at the right time, but what of the future?
More ASIC Chips incoming
If you didn’t know any better, many articles that go into print about businesses ending support for cryptocurrency have severity and certainty of tone that seems to suggest not only the end of crypto support (for the time being) but the world as we know it. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse would be forgiven for mounting up and grabbing their reigns given the coverage.
What’s critical to understand in these cases is this end for support can indeed very much be for the time being, and subjective to review. Especially because given crypto tech is still emerging, there remains the potential what businesses today viewed as unsuitable could be viewed tomorrow as a sure bet.
With perpetual advances and innovations currently pursued in numerous areas, most notably in ASIC Chips, the frustration many crypto enthusiasts feel with businesses that play “red-light/green-light” with their embracing of the tech is one that sees decisions taken today (seemingly) close the door on advancing innovations for tomorrow. Despite coverage of such shutdowns often being saucy, in reality, it’s unquestionably also a matter of vision. There’s a division between companies which commit to crypto in the long term and those who are just flirting with it.
A New Start
There can be numerous reasons a business ends support for the cryptocurrency. The experience of Nvidia and Microsoft shows this. Nonetheless, it also can’t go overlooked, even if not privy for the inner sanctum of strategic planning (or simply a look at their accounts and balance sheets), that businesses are rarely at their best when in the business of stop starts on future planning.
Especially ones with sizeable resources at hand, and the capacity to plan for the future in a way small competitors may not. There’s also the potential for their businesses to not only merely benefit here and now from embracing crypto, but also to firmly establish themselves as recognized leaders in the space. It’s a position that could be immensely profitable, not only in the near term but far into the future.