as the Internet Protocol (IP), then you'll have a case for it being pretty well established and hard to displace.
For now, the comparison between the bitnet protocol and IP is a stretch, to put it mildly. I think competition between bitcoin and future competitors will be a lot like competition between social networks, because they have a lot in common, except that with digital currencies the barriers to users switching are almost entirely gone so when the momentum shifts it can shift very, very quickly.
But if you want to look at protocol analogies, clunky protocols do get replaced by ones that offer better features, address security flaws, etc. For example, "Gopher" was a popular 1990s protocol. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gopher_(protocol)
Initially it was widely adopted, but it's hardly used these days.
Experimental protocols rarely get the details right. IP wasn't the first communications protocol, and even though the barrier to change in that case was huge, IP replaced the one that came before it because it offered better features. https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc801 History isn't on your side if you think that the bitcoin protocol has any realistic chance at all of being the long-term winner.
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