Happy Bitcoin Independence Day BSV! Yes, we know Bitcoin is almost 11 years old now, but November 15, 2018 marked the start of a movement to restore Satoshi Nakamoto’s original vision—and with it, the technological revolution we were promised in 2009. So, how did this year go for the blockchain?
Writing a summary of the year’s highlights is tough because arguably, there haven’t been any lowlights. So to keep this article from turning into a novella, here’s a selection of events that we thought stood out.
With every day that passes, there’s more activity and code in the Bitcoin ecosystem than there was 24 hours previous. For that reason, we’ll regard the combined hours of code contributed by companies like nChain, prolific infrastructure coders like Unwriter, and independent developers as a combined highlight. The same goes for the volumes of text and video content produced by a growing legion of dedicated media producers. Many are working daily in their spare time, and are motivated by long-term rather than short-term gain.
Finally, a proper professional advocacy group
The Bitcoin Association launched in December 2018, in the immediate aftermath of the BCH hard fork. Led by the indefatigable Jimmy Nguyen, it finally gave Bitcoin the professional outreach organization it always needed, which the original Bitcoin Foundation never managed to deliver (why was that so hard?).
The Bitcoin Association promised to educate and onboard enterprises and support new development through a series of events, hackathons, videos, and other programs. Since launching, it has done just that.
Since we like big blocks…
Hard to imagine it was only a few years ago that everyone was debating whether Bitcoin could handle a block size increase from 1MB to 2MB. But scaling and transaction block size lie at the heart of the disagreements that led to the initial 2017 split from BTC, so it’s worth mentioning BSV’s scaling records and landmarks in 2019.
On March 30th the Bitcoin SV mainnet mined a 128MB block, followed by another on the 31st. The two blocks, mined by nChain’s BMG Mining and CoinGeek Mining respectively, were the largest ever mined on a public blockchain. Both proved an important demonstration of how OP_RETURN capacity could be used to store larger files on the blockchain. Since then, users have used apps like BitPaste and bico.media to upload photos and even compressed HD video—laying the foundation for the future MetaNet.
The 128MB blocks generated over 1.27 BSV each in transaction fees, also demonstrating to miners that there’s financial benefits to mining BSV above the regular block reward subsidy, which will halve to 6.25 BSV in 2020.
As a further demonstration of revenue potential, BSV’s scaling testnet mined a whopping 1.42GB block on 21st May. Miner fees for that one topped the 12.5 BSV block reward for the first time.
Quasar pushes the limits even further
Quasar, codename for the last major upgrade to the Bitcoin SV protocol before February 2020, pushed block sizes even further when it went live in July. Theoretically it’s now possible to mine a 2GB (yes, gigabyte) Bitcoin block, though most miners are exercising their option to set the cap lower, at a (still impressively huge) 512MB.
The Scaling Test Network (STN) responded almost immediately after Quasar went live, mining a 1.48GB block that included 27,117 transactions and supplied its miner with 2.91687367 BSV in fees.
BSVers mean serious business and know how to party
BSV proved it can hold serious, well-attended professional events that excel at entertainment and quality, while yielding concrete results. CoinGeek’s two conferences—Toronto in May and Seoul in October 2019—saw hundreds of developers and business people gather to hear the latest announcements and make new deals. Each event saw a 48-hour hackathon sponsored by the Bitcoin Association, which have produced innovative new services like UpTimeSV, TonicPOW, Polyglot, BitQ&A, Hive, and Codugh.
On a smaller but more work-focused scale, RelayX teamed up with Bitcoin Association to organize the first-ever CambrianSV bootcamp for developers in September in Bali. Over 30 BSV developers attended the six-day intensive event, which will likely become a series.
Binance delists itself
Are you familiar with the term “Antifragile”? Basically, it refers to an organism or system’s ability to increase in strength the more attacks it endures. BSV’s big antifragility test came in April 2019. Major exchanges Binance and Kraken attempted to start a movement to tank BSV’s price by delisting it from their trading platforms.
They were quickly joined by ShapeShift and Blockchain.com (which apparently is still a thing). Their effort marked the first time in cryptocurrency history that major exchanges had colluded to delist a profitable asset for ideological (rather than technical or financial) reasons.
Rather than destroy BSV, however, the exchanges damaged their own reputations by signaling that operators were prepared to manipulate markets and deliberately cause their customers to lose money.
Those customers responded simply by taking their business to more economically rational platforms like OKEx, FloatSV, CoinEx, HitBTC, and Bittrex. Though BSV dropped from $95 to below $60 in the immediate wake of the delisting campaign, it rebounded to hit an all-time high of $255 within two months. At present, it remains one of the top 10 blockchain assets by market cap.
Micropayments equal big bucks
BSV’s capacity for large transaction volumes and miniscule fees has demonstrated its utility as a micropayments network (remember when that was one of BTC’s main selling points? So do we).
New services based on this principle showed in 2019 that Bitcoin could deliver real economic benefits to everyday users.
Yours.org, which had existed prior to the Bitcoin forks, led the charge with a blogging platform that paid content creators in purchases and votes. YouTube challenger Streamanity has delivered a viable pay-per-view video publishing service. Social networks Twetch and Weiblock look like other microblogging platforms, but users get paid for likes and reposts.
WeatherSV, often derided as “just a weather app” by superficial tech media outlets, has serious use-cases for scientific research and agri-business. Its massive daily transaction volumes also highlight BSV’s resilience and capacity.
These services are not only popular with users, but have created new revenue streams that weren’t possible to operate with fiat currencies or even BTC.
Taking a gamble
Further to that, everyone has wondered for years why Bitcoin hasn’t made serious inroads into the gambling and gaming industry. After all, Bitcoin should be perfect for that sort of thing… right?
BTC’s limited transaction capacity killed that notion before it could take off. Luckily, BSV has preserved Bitcoin’s original vision and the industry is starting to return. CoinGeek Seoul saw enthusiastic presentations by BitBoss and Kronoverse, two very-serious gaming companies working on entertainment platforms far grander that the dice games of years past. More are looking to jump in soon, which could form a lucrative new market based on that initial promise.
Now, on to next year
There’s probably a lot of highlights missing from this summary, and that’s a good thing. In fact, we’d be disappointed if it were possible to list them all in one article.
Bitcoin is new and yet not new; its promise has been refreshed and its agenda back on track. 2020 is set to be a wild ride for several reasons, but BSV has drawn some of the best minds and talent to its “society,” and the results are already clear. Just wait and see what can be achieved by this time next year.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article erroneously mentioned that the mainnet mined a 1.48GB block. This has been changed to the Scaling Test Network.
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