Happy birthday Bitcoin: Notes from the frontline

"Looking to the next decade, I believe we will be living in a crypto-integrated world"

Coin Rivet celebrates Bitcoin’s 10th year anniversary by bringing together industry players to analyse blockchain’s evolution: from its inception and spectacular rise to the current state of the industry, one that is faced with challenges including regulatory uncertainty, security concerns and issues with scalability.

Fran Strajnar, CEO of Brave New Coin: “Those who have been involved in digital currency since the early days have seen the cyclical rise and fall of Bitcoin. I believe that its supply curve will continue to follow the boom-bust cycle, but expect all-time highs following block-halving by 2020. As an asset class, its 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 Decentralised 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: “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 modelled 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.“

Jehan Chu, Co-founder of Social Alpha Foundation: “Bitcoin is currently at a great level to enter the market as the price has been stabilising 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.”

“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”

Brent Jaciow, Head of Blockchain Affairs at Utopia Music: “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 stablecoin 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: “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.”

“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”

Cristian Gil, Co-founder of GSR: “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.”

Frank Wagner, CEO of INVAO: “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:  “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 stabilising 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 utilise 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 decentralised 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.”

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