Bitcoin, Coke and Other Major Breakouts on the Road to Adoption

Bitcoin, Coke and Other Major Breakouts on the Road to Adoption

History is full of revolutionary ideas, products and services that were slow to spark and take off. Here’s a look at some of the biggest successes that took the long road to adoption and success – despite skepticism, challenges and detractors.


Coke was produced as a medicinal syrup in 1886, courtesy of Dr. John Stith Pemberton, a local pharmacist. It sold for roughly five cents a glass and contained cocaine. The first year moved nine glasses per day or 25 gallons. Today: 1.4 billion servings every day. The cocaine was removed in 1903.


The early Macintosh personal computer was sold by Apple in 1984. The line was discontinued in 1993. By 1994 Compaq became the top PC manufacturer. Macintosh took third place as sales continued to decline. Steve Jobs had already resigned from Apple in 1985. He resurfaced in 1997 and in 1998 Apple introduced the iMac. It was a smash hit, selling 800,000 units in 139 days, and paving the way for Apple’s dominance. In 2017 Apple sold more than 19.25 million Mac computers.

The revolutionary iMac G3, introduced in 1998
The Electric Car

A series of breakthroughs and developments in battery and electric motor technology by innovators in Hungary, the Netherlands and the US eventually led to the first electric street car. In the US, the electric car debuted in 1890. The wheels of adoption have been churning slowly ever since. More than 125 years later, electric car sales in the US were up more than 25% in 2017 compared to 2016, with EV sales at nearly 200,000. That’s a significant number but it’s still only a fraction of last year’s US auto sales: 17 million.

BMW i3 launched in 2013.
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Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

These cars have been inching along in the sales department. Global sales for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles reached a total of 6,364 since 2013 when the cars first became available commercially.

The Mirai debuted at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 2014, with global sales totaling about 5,300 as of December 2017.


The world’s number one cryptocurrency has had multiple breakouts and declines.

Back in 2013, Bitcoin made headlines on November 29 when the price topped $1,242 per coin. That same day, spot gold prices hit a low of $1,240 per ounce. Forbes reported “that at the start of the year a single bitcoin could have been purchased for around $12,” according to Guillaume Babin-Tremblay, executive director of the Bitcoin Embassy in Montreal, Quebec, “a gain of 10,250% from the year’s high. However, since hitting its all-time high, prices dramatically dropped, and on Dec. 10 prices were hovering around $961 per bitcoin, a drop of 28% in less than two weeks.”

Bitcoin sold for $.0015 in 2010. Today it’s trading around $7,656.

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