Adoption Curves


Adoption curves of new technology get ever steeper as communications, transportation, and knowledge improve though radio took just 15 years from the first commercial app to reach 85% of the population. The telephone took 90 years to do the same thing.

Bitcoin’s price chart looks more like the adoption curve of a new technology than a Wall Street bubble.  The chart above shows the speed at which new ideas take hold as more and more people begin to use a new technology.  When Marconi invented the radio in 1895 it took 25 years before the first commercial application appeared.  But it took just 15 years until the radio could be found in nearly 85% of American households, one of the fastest technology adoptions ever to be seen, before or since.  The telephone took 90 years to do the same thing.  However, in general, the chart above demonstrates that adoption of new technology happens at a faster and faster rate.

What we are witnessing since Bitcoin’s inception in 2009 is the steadily increasing adoption of cryptocurrency.  The cell phone started in 1983 but didn’t take off until seven or eight years later. By 2009, after Apple’s iPhone appeared on June 29, 2007, and several copycats in the two or three years that followed, nearly everyone purchased a smartphone of one kind or another in the following decade.  The Internet, another new technology, shot up just as quickly but without the eight-year incubation period.

While there are limits to the speed of adoption, for example manufacturing limits in the case of cell phones, Bitcoin promises to move even faster than these earlier technologies.   It will NOT take 15 years for the vast majority of people to start using cryptocurrency.  If what has happened to Bitcoin in 2017 with 700% growth is any indication, Bitcoin growth will exceed anything we have ever experienced.


A typical adoption curve consists of innovators and early adopters, followed by mainstream folk and finally laggards as new technology is disseminated throughout the population.

Certainly, the money flowing into purchasing cryptocurrency at this time is speculative investors eager to make a quick buck.  However, this only accelerates the adoption curve, but does not change what is happening to a bubble.