Bitcoin maximalists, who believe that blockchain's very first application is the only one of value, angrily condemn those who envision a competitive process fueling cryptocurrency adoption. Others see the conflicts among miners that defined 2017 as a point where the dream died.
But somewhat counterintuitively, if blockchain and the concept of cryptocurrencies truly has world-changing potential, we should still have very little idea how to use it. Blockchain is a foundational technology, useful primarily for the applications (like Bitcoin) built to run on top of it. As the dot-com crash illustrated, the discovery process of just what apps people want can be a painful one. But history shows the road from foundational technology to world-changing applications can be much bumpier still.