On October 31, 2008, amid one of the worst global financial crisis, the first and still the most popular cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, was born.
10 years after, Bitcoin at 10 celebrates something that started off as a message to an obscure mailing list of cypherpunks which has boomed to become one of the most important technologies of the 21st century.
The paper ‘Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer electronic cash system’ was posted by a pseudonym known as Satoshi Nakamoto offering an alternative to the traditional banking system.
Satoshi and his group of cypherpunks believed that cryptography could provide a meaningful road to socio-economic and political turn around.
According to the abstract of the paper by Satoshi, Bitcoin (currently over $6400 in value from virtually nothing) was for a peer-to-peer electronic cash system that would allow online payments from one party to another without the need for intervention by any financial institution or middleman.
Bitcoin at 10: A Very Turbulent Childhood
Just over two months after its paper, on January 3, 2009 bitcoin was launched and first block of bitcoin known as the Genesis Block was mined.
A decade on and this continues through a decentralized ledger system known as the Blockchain.
Following its launch, Bitcoin has grown from nothing to capture the attention of geeks, investors, financial institutions, traders, government, and criminals alike – the latter seeing it as a means to launder money.
Over the years, Bitcoin’s price has risen from less than a cent to above $1000, peaking at close to $20000 in December 2017 and currently trading for more than $6400 per coin.
Bitcoin’s market capitalization has also exploded from virtually nothing to surpassing $10 billion and eventually peaking above $300 billion – greater than the total capitalization of payment giants VISA.
The vision conceived in the creation of Bitcoin has led to the birth of more than 2000 rival cryptocurrencies, most of which may still collapse and become worthless and also the birth of almost 1000 dead coins which have already failed before launching or just ceased to exist.
Yet despite these circumstances, Bitcoin is still waxing strong amid rivals but is still referred to as a fringe technology.
This means to say that bitcoin is still been used by the few and not the many and is yet to break into mass adoption.
A major thorn in bitcoins flesh has been security.
In the early part of 2014, the #1 cryptocurrency in the world faced its biggest crisis to date, with the hack on the Mt. Gox trading platform where more than 80% of the circulating supply of bitcoin as at the time were traded.
This led to a collapse in the value of Bitcoin and presumption of its death.
It was early in 2017 that the price stabilized once again and this was the turning point in the life of this virtual currency. From that point onward, the digital asset rocketed to more than $19800 on major exchanges.
By this surge, Bitcoin’s market cap rose to above $300 billion accounting for about 52% of the total cryptocurrency market cap.
According to research, in the first six months of 2018 alone, over $761 million worth of Bitcoin was stolen with speculations that this figure will hit $1.5 billion by the end of the year.
The key to overcoming this problem would be by keeping the private keys that grant access to crypto wallets secure and easy to use.
Another issue is the speed of transactions. The Bitcoin network can only process about 5 – 10 transactions per second compared to the several thousands of transactions that can be processed by payment giants VISA per second.
Another issue is the alleged misconception or confusion which exists among users and myth of decentralization in crypto.
Experts have argued that decentralization in crypto is a myth. This according to them is due to the fact that miners are centralized, exchanges are centralized and developers are centralized dictators.
Next 10 years – What Should We Expect?
Once these above-stated issues have been addressed and rectified, it would change the way skeptics view Bitcoin transactions and in another 10years, this could see Bitcoin going mainstream and having a new perceived reputation.
If this is achieved, Bitcoin could make its way into everyone’s pockets through encrypted software and hardware wallets.
This will ensure achieving mass adoption in time for bitcoins next birthday.
As with any major breakthrough invention like cryptography, blockchain, and bitcoin, the early days are always risky and turbulent but we think that these days are now very few and in between for Bitcoin.
From another point of view, if another coin is able to provide a more secure, convenient, and efficient payment system before Bitcoin introduces the necessary technologies, Bitcoin title as the world’s #1 heavyweight cryptocurrency could come under challenge.
Another point of view thinks due to rivalry, Bitcoin’s dominance and influence of the crypto market will reduce significantly in the second decade.
This is due to the emergence of more and more virtual currencies as mass adoption grows.
This will surely increase competition and hereby put a dent on Bitcoin’s market share. It is also envisaged that bitcoin would be overwhelmed by superior technology, features, and solutions offered by existing, upcoming, and yet to be introduced cryptocurrencies.
If we are to judge by all these points of views, one thing is for sure.
The fact that bitcoin will witness mainstream adoption is inevitable. This adoption would see the crypto market capitalization rocket to about $20 trillion by 2028.
As for the price of 1 Bitcoin in the next decade, only time would tell.
As crypto enthusiasts, there is a fact that we would never forget and always keep to heart.
This is the fact that;
“Bitcoin is what gave birth to the crypto revolution and has changed the way we handle money, make payments and transactions, execute business deals, and manage our assets, among other things, forever. Whatever the cryptocurrency revolution may spring up, it all started with Bitcoin”