Bitcoin has jumped into the global spotlight in recent months, exploding in price and reaching extreme highs in a short time. Amid this massive rally, the digital currency has received heavy criticism — most notably from JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, who even called his own daughter “stupid” for holding bitcoin. But after BTC soared past $7,000 USD in response, it’s clear that he — and everyone like him — will go down as the biggest fools in history.
From Humble Beginnings to World Domination
Bitcoin began as an obscure, nerdy, and radical project in the underground world of the Cypherpunks, a group of anarchists dedicated to abolishing government through the use of cryptography and technology. Created in response to what Satoshi — Bitcoin’s creator — believed was as broken banking system, the technology screamed of revolution.
But even before its first transaction, when it existed only as a white paper on the Cypherpunk mailing list, skeptics questioned the viability of the digital currency.
In the face of criticism, those onboard with the project got to work — tinkering with and testing Bitcoin and its never-before-seen blockchain technology.
Then, the first block was mined, the first transaction sent, the first pizza purchased, and bitcoin reached parity with the US dollar.
Fast-forward to almost 10 years later, and Bitcoin has grown from an anarchist weekend project to a multi-billion dollar industry. Newcomers from the white-market financial world don’t know or care about Bitcoin’s political beginnings. And almost everyone agrees that Bitcoin — or at the very least its blockchain technology — will play a major role in the future of finance, one way or another.
And yet, a small but very loud portion of the mainstream finance world continues to attack Bitcoin, brushing it off as nothing special.
Are they blind, or just stupid?
A Mainstream Brain-Drain: Major Entrepreneurs Flocking to Bitcoin as the Next Great Thing
Forget about the bitcoin price for a moment, because the blockchain industry has become so much more than that. In the last two years, the industry has exploded with new businesses and ideas, coming from both new and veteran entrepreneurs. A significant way this growth can be measured is in the evolution of Bitcoin and blockchain conferences over the years.
The first Bitcoin “conferences” were really just local meetups, made up of computer nerds and political radicals that — for one reason or another — just didn’t fit in with the mainstream. To them, Bitcoin and the blockchain represented a techno-politcal revolution, something that would upend mainstream society and reinvent business and finance as we know it.
But then more people started getting in on the action, and these meetups slowly turned into actual conferences, with the attendees becoming ever-slightly more professional each year. People stopped talking about the “what-ifs” of Bitcoin and began discussing real world projects revolving around the technology. Conversations, a little bit at a time, became less ideological and more business-driven.
Take CoinAgenda, for example. Starting in 2014, this Las Vegas conference began as a small, one-room gathering of Bitcoin enthusiasts in a casino. Three years later, CoinAgenda 2017 hosted over 400 people, and occupied most of the second floor of the SLS Las Vegas. Attendees, rather than hardcore cryptoanarchists, were mostly entrepreneurs and developers, there to promote their new blockchain projects and businesses.
Halsey Minor: Tech Giant Calls Bitcoin Skeptics ‘Fools’
Halsey Minor, CNET founder and a household name for techies, attended this year’s CoinAgenda and gave a presentation on his blockchain projects.
A prime example of the entrepreneurial brain-drain from mainstream tech and finance into Bitcoin, Minor entered the space in 2014 as the founder of Uphold, a Bitcoin-centric financial services app. In the three years since its start, Uphold has become a major company in the blockchain space.
As if that wasn’t enough, Minor has set out on another project, which he talked about during his CoinAgenda presentation. With the Symphony Network, Minor and his team aim to tap into unused server capacity using blockchain technology, and create a decentralized content processing and distribution network.
And how does Minor plan to fund this venture? Not through traditional fundraising. Instead, Symphony will hold an ICO — raising development funds on the blockchain.
If that didn’t make it clear Minor — and other giants like him — has dedicated himself to Bitcoin and blockchain, maybe this will. According to him, if you’ve made it to 2017 and still think Bitcoin is a joke, you’ll go down in history as a member of the “Hall of Fools”:
The ICO: It’s Questionable Now, But It Will Be the Future of Venture Capital
Minor isn’t the only person to raise funds using an ICO. In fact, in the last two years, the ICO has become one of the most popular ways to raise money for new projects, generating billions of dollars in capital.
While ICOs have a terrible reputation at the moment — the community considering an ICO a scammer’s paradise — they will be the future of venture capital as blockchain becomes more integrated into mainstream business.
Currently, 95 percent of ICOs consist of terrible business ideas destined to fail. The other 5 percent belongs to the scammers. But once the ICO bubble bursts — flushing out the scammers and misguided visionaries — legitimacy will find its way into the token sale space and change the game.
If unskilled entrepreneurs think they can get rich from it, and if scammers think they can use it to steal from you, it’s a sign that the ICO can — and will — eventually become a major source of funding.
Crypto or Bust: We’re Hodling No Matter What
Even in the face of a community civil war — Core against Cash, SegWit against big blocks, and hard forks galore — Bitcoin continues to thrive. And it will keep thriving in the future. Even with the SegWit2x cancellation, BTC is still above $6,000. Meanwhile, BCH has surged past $1,000, posing serious competition to Core.
No matter which version of Bitcoin wins, the digital currency will survive anything, and it won’t go anywhere without a fight.
So Jamie Dimon and his counterparts can say what they want, we already know they will become history’s biggest fools.
Going back to the original question: are 2017’s anti-Bitcoiners blind or stupid?
Most likely both.
Are you a Bitcoiner or a fool? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Universal Pictures, Digital Assets Bitcoin//YouTube, Evan Faggart