Luminaries

14 Industry Luminaries (and an Ode) on the State of Bitcoin 2016

Call them what you want; dignitaries, pundits, bigwigs, luminaries or – even – enemies. There are always headstrong debates raging on in the Bitcoin space, and some people’s names get tossed around more than other’s. We decided to reach out to a few of them and ask them a simple question.

Also read: Remittance-Demanding Countries Dominate Bitcoin Searches in 2016

bitcoinsign-svgBitcoin has been on a tear all year long, surprising many mainstream spectators. The digital asset has outperformed all sovereign fiat currencies, and gold, over the past year. There have been many headlines – both negative and positive –surrounding the bitcoin space, with the cryptocurrency trucking forward without looking back. Alongside this, the community has been feverishly discussing the block size, segregated witness (SegWit), fungibility and privacy.

At the time of writing, bitcoin is valued at $960 USD, and it is the cryptocurrency’s highest price point in over three years. Moreover, adoption is growing fast as bitcoin becomes more popularized in regions like China, India, Venezuela, and Russia. As more and more people continue to use the cryptocurrency for solutions like remittances and escape from capital controls, bureaucrats globally are seeking to regulate digital currency use. This can be seen in many countries such as the U.S. with the country’s tax agency the IRS looking to probe American bitcoin usage.  

Many people have their different opinions on the state of bitcoin currently viewing the network from their subjective valuations.

Bitcoin.com decided to reach out to a wide range of well-known cryptocurrency community members and ask them one simple question:

“How would you summarize the current state of bitcoin as the year 2016 closes?”

What we got back was everything from a single line of observation to a whole ode on the fascinating developments. Here’s what a few those Bitcoin proponents within the community had to say:

• “2016 was Bitcoin’s Year of Distraction. Attention was instead directed at the undefined abstractions (“Blockchain,” “distributed ledger,” “Ethereum”) which constitute Bitcoin’s competition. This exploration and experimentation is normal for a new industry. However, in 2017 users will demand tangible, concrete results (actual cost reductions, actual sales). As the competition fails to deliver, the attention owed to BTC will be repaid…with interest.” — Paul Sztorc, Hivemind developer

• “So this year basically I think was a ‘State of Unstable Coins.’ We had the core and classic teams battling it out, new proponents entering the ring like Rootstock. And there was so much buzz about this thing called blockchain that it kind of blinded everyone for a short bit towards the early and middle of the year with all these institutional players taking an interest in the technology, but as we got towards the later half of the year and the bitcoin price climbed to $700, the focus came back to bitcoin — not as much the blockchain. It’s like there is a fork in the industry to figure out where this is all going while there is such uncertainty about the big players in the industry.”Lisa Cheng, Vanbex Group

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• “I’ve been excited about bitcoin for nearly six years now, but there are more reasons to be excited about it now than ever before.” Roger Ver, Bitcoin’s first Investor, owner of Bitcoin.com

• “I saw a nice quote this morning from Quartz. “Bitcoin doesn’t care what Silicon Valley thinks.” Bitcoin doesn’t care what anyone thinks. I remember a conversation with Mike Hearn in 2013 where we were discussing bitcoin, and I asked him about where he thought the price was going. He said, “Bitcoin does what it does”. This technology has seen a dramatic increase in visibility and experienced both the good and bad sides of the limelight: rising interest among corporations and investors, alongside more regulatory scrutiny, and uncertainty. There is much in-fighting and disagreement among developers which amplifies this uncertainty. It’s at this time, more than ever before, that the global community is needed to ensure a prosperous and well-balanced future for the technology.” — Moe Levin, Founder of The North American Bitcoin Conference

• “In my opinion, the state of bitcoin is tumultuous but hopeful.” Dmitry “Rassah” Murashchik, Mycelium

• “Bitcoin in 2016 is like a teenager sending off college applications or one of the last gunslingers of the Old West: the technology has emerged and is starting to move forward and stand on its own, but it is still a new and immature space with lots of risk and pitfalls. Overall, as this technology matures and marches toward adulthood we will see more opportunities for impact and more evidence of its amazing potential.” Bruce Fenton, Atlantic Financial 

background-net10241• “I’m thrilled to see the end of this calamitous year, but through it all the one shining light has been the undeniable, unstoppable march of bitcoin. With the healthy consolidation within the industry, the rollout of SegWit and Lightning Network, the rise in price, the all-time-high global interest in bitcoin seen on Localbitcoins, and the dawning realization by many that an open, public blockchain is superior to private imitations — I feel very positive that bitcoin is going to continue to chug along quite nicely in 2017 and beyond.”Brooke Royse-Maller, Bitcoin Mom

• “2016 was the year of true colors. Most of the bad actors have dropped off, and those that remain are revealing that they’re out of their weight class. The good actors, by which I mean, devs, companies, miners, and users who want bitcoin to succeed in the long term, continue to soldier on. I am especially in awe of the devs, who under vile political conditions, and without pay, are still able to produce sound code. What most people don’t realize is that bitcoin has problems beyond block size, and I look forward to seeing if segwit can begin to resolve them.” Julia Tourianski, Brave The World

• “Venezuela and India have proven why an alternative to a nation’s currency must exist. When governments abuse their monetary power, bitcoin provides a vent to the suppressed. Being able to transfer wealth with no intermediaries is what bitcoin is all about. Understanding this simple fact is challenging, but I think reporters are beginning to grasp it. Actually, bitcoin will save the entire news industry as micropayments will fill the holes of declining ad revenues.” — Datavetaren, Software Engineer & Computer Scientist

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• “What a fun year! We kicked it off with wild announcements from R3, Ethereum, Onecoin, and Dash that their visions are the certain future—and, as usual, that Bitcoin itself was old news. By the year’s end, the numbers were in—and Bitcoin was still on top (way, way on top). So, as the scammers pivot to DLT’s and ICO’s as the new cure for whatever ails you, the honey badger just treks onward. While buzzwords and faces change with the season, for Bitcoin’s veterans, surprises are few and far between.” Chris DeRose, software developer, Bitcoin Uncensored host. 

• “Bitcoin’s cold winter on tales of Mike Hearn
Emboldened the bankchains, made hodlers churn;
As scaling unfolded, emotions did run, and so
Did investors to Ethereum.

Spring’s ether rally became summer’s crash
As the magical DAO hack made off with the cash,
Hacked too was Bitfinex, but they made a coin
To create out of air a virtually settled purloin.

ICOs thundered down from the heavens at will.
Iconomi, First Blood, they all had their fill.
Waves begat Incent, Golem sold quick.
Steem rose, Waves rolled in, ZCash was slick.

Then quietly the halving, and large miners fled
As more academics pronounced bitcoin dead.
But honey badger don’t care and November arrived,
So we’re approaching the moon launch from $975…

— Michael Terpin, co-founder and chairman of BitAngels

• “Bitcoin is the most valuable open-source project ever created. A new global monetary system, always on, with developers providing continuous improvement and repairs while it is still running. Many have compared it with attempting to repair an airplane while in flight. To have the debate in private would have been pointless. We have to discuss and repair Bitcoin in the public because it is the public that uses Bitcoin. Did we develop a few black eyes because of the debate? Sure, but we also came up with a solution and that was the reason we had the debate in the first place. We are still trying to make the world better by providing a safe and stable money that completely censorship resistant. — This is not a simple or easy task. In fact, it has never been done before. But that doesn’t mean that we will stop, or give up. Bitcoin struggles, but survives. We have been through hard times, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. And it’s not a train. It’s the moon. To the moon!” — Thomas Hunt, Mad Bitcoins

• “Getting ready for the mainstream… 2016 painted in numbers: Inflation halved to 4%, price doubled to meet it, markets shook off 2014-15 FUD and engaged FOMO. Liquidity grew 6x while risk halved to 6%, now approaching fiat levels. Meanwhile network capacity red-lined to 98%, forcing for the first time a demand-driven fee market to emerge, already 10% of miners revenue.” Willy Woo, cryptocurrency investor and founder of Woobull.

• “In 2016, we witnessed hashing at an exahash/second level. At its essence, Bitcoin is simply a protocol and the battle for a standard is a protocol battle. Altcoins come and go, but who wants to use the world’s 2nd most secure blockchain? Even though Jan 9th 2017 will be 8 years since the genesis block, Bitcoin is still unmasking statists.” – Jon Matonis, Founding Director at Bitcoin Foundation.


Bitcoin.com wants to give a special thanks to all of the bitcoin community members who participated and responded to our question and we wish them and all of our readers a happy new year. 2017 is sure to be another interesting year for bitcoin.

What is your opinion of the current state of bitcoin as the year 2016 closes? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Pixabay.