2018 saw focus turn from the previous year’s record-setting prices of cryptocurrencies, to real-world application of blockchain technology. It saw Bitcoin Cash—now Bitcoin SV—move from being the most useful medium of exchange, to one also enabling smart contracts and tokens for everything. Looking beyond the conflicts, Bitcoin’s potential as envisioned in 2008 has been set for realization.
During CoinGeek Week at the end of November, Dr. Craig Wright of nChain unveiled an innovation that is “a replacement for the Internet.” That’s as superlative as it gets. In this ‘Metanet,’ immutable data becomes available in a global system. And all of this is set to take place on Bitcoin SV.
It’s hard to believe that just seven months ago, Wright was discussing an increase of the block size from 8MB to 32MB. Bitcoin SV already allows 128MB blocks, and 2GB blocks are not too far off a prospect either.
The benefit of Bitcoin is most palpable in developing regions such as Africa, where smart contracts can solve trade-related problems, such as transport and product quality, while reducing costs significantly. Wright foresees Bitcoin SV aiding in global trade in a huge way.
The year has also been one of the rise and fall of initial coin offerings (ICOs), the value of which has been on a case-to-case basis. Many offerings have been halted by regulatory agencies, whether for simple failure to register, or outright fraud, luring in investors with dreams of high returns for little effort. Ultimately, ICOs for their sake are as untenable as any bubble market.
Worries of government intervention in blockchain markets have been present since Bitcoin started making the news. Yet John McAfee, who established himself as an expert on security software, thinks that the use of cryptocurrencies itself allows individuals to sidestep regulatory institutions, and that the technology could not be stopped if people continue to find use for it. He however appeals to “self-regulation,” given the prevalence of scams.
Back to the Bitcoin whitepaper
Most cryptocurrency prices have gone down since 2017, and it has been a test, to see which ones will prevail by providing value to communities. And a part of this is ability to scale, to allow sufficient transactions at a given time. Miners have to be properly incentivized to continue contributing to the system, and not be limited by software developers’ impositions. These make for a currency truly capable of serving as a decentralized global ledger.
The blockchain R&D firm nChain has played an important role the past year, and what CEO Jimmy Nguyen has said before, he continues to say now, that what makes Bitcoin what it is, is its faithfulness to the Satoshi Nakamoto whitepaper. What Nguyen said prior to the November hash war seems more true today: “I believe the Bitcoin world needs more positivity.”
The London Bitcoin Cash Conference 2018 successfully brought together leaders of the cryptocurrency world, and showed the tremendous growth of the sector from just a few months prior. Attendees got to discuss what makes for an effective medium of exchange, and merchant adoption was stressed as an indicator of cryptocurrencies’ popularity.
Store of value
According to SBI Bits’ Jerry Chan, the emergence of blockchain technology is part of Fintech 2.0, coming after Fintech 1.0 where the internet and e-commerce came about. And if a digital currency is to serve as a store of value, it must be liquid, immediately exchangeable, something that could not be said about BTC or any other chains no longer focusing on scalability.
No one knows for sure what’s to happen in 2019, but if this past year is an indication, we can look to blockchain becoming more important to our way of living, regardless of the markets going down (or up).
New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.