The venture capital equivalent of “pics or it didn’t happen” may be the statement, “slide in Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends report or it’s not important.” Sure, it’s quite a mouthful, but that makes it no less true.
Amid the 164-slide presentation, which covered key trends around the Web, mobile, advertising, China, and other topics, the former Morgan Stanley technology analyst and current Kleiner Perkins Caufield Buyers partner found room to call out crypto-currencies as a topic of “extraordinary interest.”
Meeker cites an eight-fold increase in bitcoin wallet downloads over the last year – reaching 5 million bitcion wallets currently in use from Android Bitcoin Wallet, Blockchain, Multibit, and Coinbase – as evidence to “prove” this interest.
The nod to bitcoin came as part of a larger discussion on “Re-Imagining Money.” Meeker mentioned more traditional mobile wallet products like Square Cash and the use of mobile devices in place of credit cards and paper currencies.
Like many of the trends cited in Meeker’s report, the digitization of money is one that has been long predicted and which has taken longer to materialize than many early projections. But the last year have seen explosions not only in Bitcoin, but in the use of products like Braintree’s Venmo, not to mention venture backing for would-be competitors like the perpetually stumbling Clinkle.
Those who follow the space closely didn’t need Meeker to tell them that crypto-currencies have become a big deal. Even the mainstream news media has caught the fever, meaning that Main Street consumers are at least aware of the trend, however unprepared they may be to act upon it.
But with nearly all of the brightest and most influential minds within the technology and media sectors all reading this report, it’s further confirmation that this is more than a geeky fad. Money truly is being reimagined and bitcoin, or something created in its image, will be a large part of that future reality.