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AI or Crypto: Which Has Had the Bigger Impact?

Many experts are speculating that 2023 will be “The Year of AI.” Beginning with the release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT in November 2022, media outlets have reported that everyone from educators to regulators should be paying close attention to the potential impact of the emerging technology.

In many ways, AI’s rapid rise in popularity mirrors that experienced by cryptocurrency when Bitcoin burst into headlines in 2017. The skyrocketing value of Bitcoin at that time sparked an escalation in interest in all things blockchain, elevating the conversation about decentralized finance and the various other ways the new technology could be applied. It was even suggested at the time that blockchain might be “the holy grail” that the business world was searching for to effectively track the movement of products in the global economy. The possibilities seemed endless.

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With both crypto and AI, many of the advancements that they promise have yet to be realized. However, one can’t deny that they have made an impact in the tech space and beyond. Which has had the biggest impact?

At this point, even though it has only recently begun its ascent, it would appear that AI has the advantage.

AI: Sprinting toward mass adoption

AI’s groundbreaking adoption point was marked by the release of ChatGPT, which amassed its first million users in just five days. That number grew to 100 million users in the two months following its release. In January 2023, ChatGPT was attracting 13 million unique users every day.

The widespread use of the new tech tool has generated some concern. Italian regulators ordered a ban on ChatGPT on March 31, 2023, citing concerns over user privacy. Despite the resistance, OpenAI — the company responsible for ChatGPT — has pushed forward with development.

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The rapid progression from GPT to GPT-4 has caught the attention of influential business and tech leaders, such as Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak, who are now advocating for a six-month moratorium on further releases due to the disruptive potential of GPT-5 on society. Time magazine has dubbed the frenetic pace at which the tech is advancing an “AI arms race.” 

 Crypto: Still looking for its “ChatGPT moment”

Cryptocurrency and the blockchain technology upon which it is built were heralded as the key to empowering decentralized finance systems that would revolutionize the business world. In addition, the smart contracts that can be built upon blockchain were projected to bring widespread disruption to real estate, healthcare, supply chain management, and more.

Despite its transformative potential, blockchain technology has yet to experience its own “ChatGPT moment.” No single application has emerged to bring about rapid advancement and global utility in the blockchain space. However, this tipping point may be on the horizon, as the growing power of AI and data mobilization threaten to erode human sovereignty over personal information and content.

As AI continues to advance and reshape our world, the importance of data ownership and privacy will become increasingly paramount. This could be the catalyst for blockchain’s long-awaited moment of global significance. By harnessing the power of distributed ledger technology, we can empower individuals to regain control over their own data, even as AI’s influence expands.

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