Suppose that the only public key cryptography schemes that we knew were Diffie Hellman, RSA and ElGamal. How much would this set civilization back? Are there important applications of elliptic curve cryptography [specifically] without viable substitutes?
[Edit: I came across this question which gives some information, but I'm looking for more. Specifically, I would like to know how much better elliptic curve cryptography is/(would be) than more classical encryption schemes for the applications where elliptic curve cryptography is superior.