As we quickly approach Bitcoin’s 10th year anniversary tomorrow, enthusiasts and critics alike have begun to analyse blockchain’s evolution: from its inception and tremendous rise to the current state of the industry — one that is faced with challenges including regulatory uncertainty, security concerns, and issues with scalability.
As we look ahead to what the future holds for decentralised technologies and crypto-assets, please find below some commentary from industry leaders on the rise and fall of bitcoin over the past decade, what systemic problems have contributed to the rise of blockchain technology, where we stand in terms of mainstream adoption, and an insight into what the future could hold for the world of crypto.
Fran Strajnar, CEO of Brave New Coin, said:
“Those who have been involved in digital currency since the early days have seen the cyclical rise and fall of bitcoin. I believe that bitcoin’s supply curve will continue to follow the boom-bust cycle, but expect all-time highs following block-halving by 2020. As an asset class, bitcoin’s value has witnessed outstanding upward momentum – with the value far above now what it was in the early days following its inception.
The systematic problems that have contributed to the rise of blockchain and its mainstream adoption have summoned many bright minds to get involved in the industry, which is why I believe that blockchain will scale and is here to stay. When we least expect it, the first ‘Killer Decentralized App’ will be born – it is only a matter of time. And while nobody has a crystal ball to foresee what will happen to this innovative industry, what we do know is that we now have a fourth superclass, which has already been proven useful in transmitting value quickly, safely, and globally.”
Kee Jeffreys, Co-founder and Tech Lead of Loki, said:
“I think the most interesting thing to look at over the last 10 years is bitcoin’s market dominance. Between bitcoin’s inception and late 2016, it consistently encapsulated almost the whole of the crypto market (about 80% to 90%). However, during the peak of the ICO craze, we saw bitcoin dominance drop to its lowest point at about 30%. I think what we are seeing now is a rebirth cycle for bitcoin. With market contraction and many ICOs failing to deliver on promises, investors are more likely to move back to the perceived stability of bitcoin.
Much of the 2017 rise in crypto prices correlated with speculative investment. Many were excited because they could see that the key issue blockchain seeks to solve is generating trust among untrusted parties. However, mainstream adoption of blockchain technology is still struggling – even the most used DApps don’t have user volumes we would expect of small, traditional applications. This is largely due to the lack of convenience for end users. If users have to sign up to an exchange, purchase BTC, exchange that BTC to ETH, and then work out how to use a smart contract in order to use a platform – they may be dissuaded by the inconvenience.
In the future, I think we are going to see a lot of applications like Brave browser, which provides an internet browser with Basic Attention Token (BAT) integration. The key here is that the users don’t need to understand cryptocurrency to use the service, but if they want to interact with additional features they can be easily accessed within the application. This type of integration can be closely modeled on a “freemium model,” where the small percentage of interested crypto users can fund the development of decentralised applications to the benefit of all users.“
Vlad Dramaliev, Head of Digital Marketing of æternity, said:
“Bitcoin has proven that it is one of the most exciting technological experiments of our time. It established the foundations of an entire industry that is currently engaged in extensive R&D in the fields of cryptography, data security, privacy, and self-sovereignty. Perhaps most importantly, Bitcoin has presented an alternative system of global governance, based on tangible economic incentives and decentralization.
By creating a censorship-resistant alternative to money, it has reignited discussions on the nature of money and money creation. It has presented an alternative to an unsustainable global financial system built on debt and inequality. In 10 years, Bitcoin will still be the dominant cryptocurrency, the gold standard in the crypto-world. It will enjoy a much more widespread adoption, and its technological features and user-friendliness will have been greatly improved.”
Jehan Chu, Co-founder of Social Alpha Foundation, a not-for-profit grant-making platform which focuses on supporting blockchain education and outreach to empower communities to utilize blockchain technology for social good, said:
“Bitcoin is currently at a great level to enter the market as the price has been stabilizing and with institutional heavyweights like Fidelity, Nasdaq, and Starbucks getting into crypto, we can expect mainstream investment awareness in 2019. Ironically, Bitcoin volatility is near all-time lows, at around 1.5%, which is not that far off from gold.
I do think that bitcoin will be used widely as a store of value, though currently the technology isn’t developed enough to be used as a payment system. Upcoming projects like Connext, Lightning and others are coming close to solving these problems and making bitcoin useful for everyday use.”
Gabriele Giancola, Co-founder and CEO of qiibee, the Swiss loyalty token protocol which helps brands around the world run their loyalty programs on the blockchain, commented:
“These days, everyone seems to be talking about bitcoin and its future. While bitcoin has seen monumental growth in popularity since the publication of the bitcoin whitepaper in 2008, it has experienced dramatic peaks and troughs since its inception, with the cryptocurrency market as a whole rising more than 1,200% last year alone, and the cryptocurrency market cap amounting to over $230bn.
All eyes will be on the approval of a bitcoin ETF by the SEC in the new year, which would arguably be transformative for bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, since it would boost overall investor interest and provide stability to the crypto market. If the ETF was to be approved, institutional investors are likely to cash in on the new product, given that it is relatively safer than directly investing in bitcoin.
The question of custody and regulatory oversight, as well as whether there are solutions to fundamental technological issues, including scalability and processing time, will be decisive in whether bitcoin and cryptocurrencies see mainstream adoption in future, and will no doubt impact their market prices as well.”
Brent Jaciow, Head of Blockchain Affairs at Utopia Music, commented:
“Like all other “public” markets, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have seen their fair share of manias and panics. I think bitcoin’s highlight over the last decade is watching it grow from its humble beginnings as an obscure “idea” embraced by a small group of hardcore tech engineers to the massive force it is today that is so large, Fortune 500 corporations and governments alike are forced to understand and learn how to embrace the new technology.
In the short term, bitcoin and other top cryptocurrencies will likely face continued selling pressure as year end tax loss harvesting has investors selling what has lost money in order to offset potential capital gains. Into the new year, along with better design interfaces and greater ease of use, we will continue to see an ever larger acceptance and use of cryptocurrencies by the general population which will benefit the long term price appreciation of bitcoin.
Cryptocurrencies will be more widely accepted and used like fiat in future, but not necessarily with bitcoin as the main currency of choice. As the crypto space evolves and the technology improves, a front-runner in the stable coin sector will emerge and likely be used as a substitute given the reduced volatility relative to the current most liquid cryptocurrencies. This would seem to be the most natural progression as most developed economies move away from cash and further into electronic payment solutions. For example, Sweden is even seeking to move to a purely electronic system and do away with the burden of maintaining physical fiat currency.”
Angel Versetti, CEO and Co-Founder of Ambrosus, commented:
“Due to trying to take the market share away from one of the most important tools of power – money – central banks and governments all over the world tried to kill Bitcoin, albeit unsuccessfully. Having failed to kill bitcoin, they have decided to become its champions and proponents. Not only has this established Bitcoin as a unique financial phenomenon and a new asset and a social construct, but it also showed the resilience and power of the underlying technology, blockchain, spurring countless transformative innovations using distributed ledgers, ranging far beyond the financial sector, with use cases such as identity management, data ownership, decentralised autonomous organisations and the digital commons – all underpinned by the same promise of resilient technology where trust is established by all the participants jointly updating the ledger, but with no particular party being able to take control.
Despite the resilience of the blockchain, Bitcoin itself is purely a social construct, which means that its intrinsic value is only based on what the general consensus about its value is, i.e. what the global society – via marketplaces/exchanges – value the Bitcoin at. Seeing as things are right now, with institutional investors flocking in and a lot of early Bitcoin adopters having an opportunity to build their fortunes and become the elites of tomorrow, there is a fairly big chance they will push Bitcoin to become a must-have asset for any sort of portfolio or a financial institution. However, maybe not, maybe the push of Bitcoin Cash with their narrative of being the true Bitcoin and ownership of key bitcoin domains and handles of social media will make Bitcoin Cash overtake Bitcoin, or maybe – God forbid – some centralised cryptocurrencies like Ripple will become the new standard. I hope the latter does not happen though, as hopefully people will become more educated about what blockchain is and how it should work, and people will be making the choice for freedom from censorship and control.”
Shiv Malik, Head of Strategy and Communications at Streamr, said:
“Though it’s been a turbulent evolution, Bitcoin’s mark on this world is already profound. Without knowing it, Satoshi Nakamoto and the rest of the cypherpunks kick-started an entire multi-billion dollar industry which we now call blockchain. Their distributed ledger, a novel form of recording millions of transactions between individuals without the need for banks, is the most notable accounting revolution since the Venetians’ formalised double entry bookkeeping in the late 1400s.
But a number of clouds now hang over Bitcoin’s original vision — chiefly the speculation around whether it can make it as a general service for payments. If Bitcoin fundamentally stays as it is, electricity will never be cheap enough for the network to process sufficient transactions to reach any significant scale. The mission statement, “be your own bank” will probably have to be downgraded to “be your own safe deposit box”.
But Bitcoin now has many children – altcoins and digital tokens of all sorts – and they will eventually serve as the basis not just for money, and money transfer but for accessing all sorts of vital digital services in the future. The crypto revolution – open source, and decentralised – is here to stay.”
Cristian Gil, Co-founder of trading firm GSR, commented:
“The space is evolving at such a rapid pace that it is difficult to make predictions even two years out. That said, we believe that within a decade, digital assets will have become an integral part of our everyday lives. We will continue to see the proliferation of the internet of things (IoT), and the ability to transfer value seamlessly across various mediums. Whether bitcoin itself is used in the pipes for these systems or not, when history books are written about this period of time, bitcoin will have earned the first page mention.”
Daniel Peled, President of Orbs, commented:
“It’s impossible to look at the progress of the entire blockchain industry without recognizing the foundational role that bitcoin played. Every business use case, every major step forward on the infrastructure front is ultimately a credit to the initial starting point of bitcoin. Bitcoin proved that there is an application for blockchain and that it has real and tangible value. Because of this central role, it’s difficult to to see any reality where the technology continues to progress and expand in importance while bitcoin doesn’t enjoy the benefits of this rise. Even though the industry has expanded far beyond producing a digital currency, bitcoin was still the use case that established the legitimacy and potential of the entire blockchain enterprise.”
Eiland Glover, CEO and Co-founder of Kowala, commented:
“Ten years later we’re still talking about Bitcoin and its impact. Why? Because it’s one of – if not the most – exciting developments in financial technology in the last 20 years. However, even though the Bitcoin network is still an incredible and disruptive way to remove middlemen from transactions in the global financial system, its limitations have certainly become more apparent with age. Its price volatility, coined with its slow transaction speed, means that it is now mostly referred to less as a currency used as a payment method and more as a store of value, a sort of digital gold.
The frenetic value of bitcoin has led to the rapid development of “stablecoins” – cryptocurrencies built to retain a stable value. Though some have attempted to solve the Bitcoin network’s current volatility problems via features that increase centralization, like maintaining certain prices by working with banks, others continue to adhere to Satoshi’s ideological focus on decentralization, and we’re already seeing a revival of Bitcoin-centric principles in the stablecoin space. Over the next ten years, I predict that bitcoin as a currency will continue to thrive, and will also bring with it those stablecoin projects that adhere to its similar asset-less, decentralized, miner-friendly principles.”
Ken Lang, CTO of Cosimo Ventures and early ndau collective member, said:
“On the tenth anniversary of bitcoin, we reflect on how far the space has come. Bitcoin was a groundbreaking innovation, and it’s caused us to learn lessons about how, why, and in what contexts people use digital currencies as a unit of account, a means of exchange, and a store of value. The rise in popularity of bitcoin – and consequently, other tokens – has also taught us about the shortcomings of particular digital currencies for particular purposes. It’s led to trends that try to solve for the governance and volatility problems with bitcoin and ethereum – e.g. stablecoins – that show that the industry is maturing and attempting to solve its own problems over time.
After ten years of rapid development and adoption, we believe that the next step for this industry will be to interrogate what the best solutions to these shortcomings will be, and that means designing digital currencies that incorporate the best elements of bitcoin along with innovative economic ideas that can help protect against the excessive volatility that puts investors at risk, and casts the industry in a negative light.”
Frank Wagner, CEO of INVAO, said:
“The development of blockchain since its invention 10 years ago show how far-reaching the possibilities of this technology are. We are only just beginning to understand and harness the potential of this technology, which we believe will change how society functions, and will alter our everyday life in increasingly indispensable and sustainable ways.”
Marshall Hayer, CEO of Metal, commented:
“I have been involved in crypto for nine years now, when I first discovered Bitcoin my curiosity was piqued, I didn’t see how people could transact with it. Over the past 10 years, the cryptocurrency ecosystem has seen many ups and downs (both in price and in industry maturation), and while I don’t see that stabilizing by the end of this year, I truly believe that this technology is the way of the economic future.
The introduction of Stablecoins are a huge innovation and will play a critical role in blockchain, especially now. However, one task that has yet to be fully accomplished is ensuring the general public is sufficiently educated on how to utilize this technology — which is desperately needed. We have spent the last 10 years improving upon the existing software, and we need to dedicate the next 10 years educating the world how to use it.
I believe in the vision for a decentralized web, and I am very excited to be a part of this ecosystem, bringing crypto to the mainstream. Looking to the next decade, I believe we will be living in a crypto-integrated, world — and I am very humbled to be a part of the vision.”
Max Kordek, Lisk Co-Founder and Lightcurve CEO, said:
“The publishing of the Bitcoin white paper by Satoshi Nakamoto a decade ago kickstarted a new era of technological innovation and global disruption that is continuing to this day. Through community consensus, Bitcoin’s protocol has evolved through the years and has remained the standard for the cryptocurrency market and Bitcoin purists.
However, the whitepaper is also responsible for the emergence of the underlying blockchain technology. Back then, the technology was simply a concept, a potential vehicle for technological innovation and inspiration. Ten years later, we have a robust global community forging the path ahead, carrying the technology forward.
Blockchain industry has propelled Satoshi’s initial vision to new heights. It has been responsible for so many landmark technological developments that expand on the initial protocol, catching the attention of elite educational institutions, financial institutions, and government bodies. It has fuelled debate among leading economists and inspired the creation of an EU-wide partnership.
Reflecting on the 10th anniversary of the Bitcoin white paper, and the subsequent blockchain movement, we can see that the foundations have been laid for a sustained phase of technological development. Right now the technology is maturing, but the next ten years will reveal the real fruits of the wider blockchain community’s labour.
Satoshi Nakamoto has inspired hundreds of dedicated teams around the world to build on his vision for a future powered by blockchain, a future in which individuals are empowered to bring real change to the world.”
Patrick Mrozowski, Founder of Crumbs, commented:
“10 years ago, Satoshi brought forth an idea that completely changed the world as we know it. I fully believe in a decentralized future, and am thrilled to be someone so entwined in the space. We are at the edge of adopting a fully decentralized ecosystem, and now is the time to bring the general public into the fray. Perhaps the best thing about cryptocurrency is the control it gives to individuals over their personal finances. No longer do we have to depend on (or trust) big banks who don’t always put individual needs above their own. The true beauty of crypto lies in its ability to give power back to individuals who have been habitually neglected by traditional financial institutions — no matter demographic, socioeconomic status, or credit history, you have the ability to participate in the economic future. The next 10 years will bring more decentralization, better technology, but most importantly — financial power to the people.”
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