Is it time to reevaluate expectations for ICP? Bitcoin integration is pivotal to answering this question.
Is the Blockchain Singularity Near?
When I first got involved in the Internet Computer community in 2021, I saw ICP as a great candidate for achieving moderate Web3 success that would likely attract at least a substantial niche market. I had no illusions that the ambitious cryptocurrency project would end fiat currencies, overtake Bitcoin, or kill Ethereum and BigTech overnight. Predictions to the contrary have not aged well. But in defense of my fellow early adopters, it was extremely difficult not to get swept up in the passion and excitement following the Genesis Launch of a blockchain singularity event.
Over a year later, the Internet Computer has carved out a small but relatively stable place for itself among an ever-expanding offering of strange new cryptocurrency projects with even stranger names, like Big Eyes. However, ICP's market cap has a long way to go to hit $200 billion USD (it currently sits at $1.6 billion), which in my view would constitute moderate success. The blockchain singularity is much, much further off in the future.
Is it therefore time to reevaluate and alter expectations for ICP?
Bitcoin Integration is Pivotal
I've said it ever since the vote passed - the mainstream credibility and adoption of the Internet Computer hinges on the DFINITY Foundation's timely implementation of Bitcoin integration. It was supposed to happen in 2021 Q4, then 2022 Q1, and most recently during the summer months of 2022. It's not unusual for tech roadmaps to encounter delays, but it is nevertheless discouraging.
While good things come to those who wait, bad publicity comes to those who make others wait too long. It's now 2022 Q4, and the narrative around the Internet Computer's delay in showing results is sadly crystallizing. In retrospect, it may have been wise to have emphasize the possibility of delays. Partly due to disappointed hype, many investors and analysts perceive the Internet Computer as a bad investment. We're at the point where sources like AnalyticsInsight can print wildly inaccurate statements without much challenge (e.g., "On launch, ICP’s price rocketed up to $2,831 for a brief second before the token crashed 99% down to $5"). And while it's important to combat FUD, fact-checking will never be as effective as a demonstration of results and an actualization of ICP's incredible potential.
So, is Bitcoin integration finally coming? According to Manu Drijvers, the Senior Engineering Manager at DFINITY, Bitcoin integration is already running on ICP testnets and awaiting some final debugging before public release.
The fact that the DFINITY Foundation is releasing professional videos on a regular schedule is definitely reason enough for cautious optimism. Clearly, ICP isn't a faceless rug-pull, despite the turbulence and controversy of its debut. To achieve modest success, the Internet Computer will need to continue showcasing its talent, intensifying its dedication to transparency, and mastering the art of underpromising and overdelivering.
PR and Marketing are Essential
In the final analysis, however, it doesn't matter what good the Internet Computer accomplishes if no one knows about it. Thankfully, on 4/14/2022, the DFINITY Foundation hired Eva Oberholzer as Chief Growth Officer. If the name sounds familiar, it should. She previously served as Chief Growth Officer for the Cardano Foundation!
Given the Cardano Foundation's outstanding reputation and history of credibility and grounding in the world of academia, it is highly unlikely that someone like Eva Oberholzer would leave to join the DFINITY Foundation unless exciting prospects were right around the corner.
Until Bitcoin integration goes public, the Internet Computer is in the same place as it was in the beginning. There are reasons to doubt. But there are more reasons to hope.
We'll just have to wait and see what happens next!