For Better or Worse, Here’s Bitsonline’s Bitcoin People of the Year 2017
With 2017 soon to be remembered as either cryptocurrency’s breakout year or the greatest bubble that ever was, let’s look back and see who were the standout people, plebs and personalities who contributed to making 2017 the epic rollercoaster that it was.
Vinny had become somewhat revered throughout the last few years, on the back of a number of insightful blog posts earning him the moniker “The Bitcoin Oracle”. Lingham mused that there were good things ahead in 2017 and speculated in a piece titled “There has been an awakening” that the price could increase to a whopping $3,000 USD by the end of 2017 — on the proviso that the scaling wars came to a peaceful resolution.
For many, Vinny’s post provided great hope and anticipation, as much of what he had postulated previously in 2014 had been roughly on the money.
But then, as the price continued to increase beyond that figure, Vinny rapidly turned from saint to sinner, and in turn crypto Twitter turned on Vinny. He infamously tweeted “I tried to prevent this bubble” as the price began climbing, and soon after he admitted to selling off a portion of his coins, believing we were going to dump back into the $800 range as the rumblings around SegWit activation intensified.
As the price boomed out of the dip back into the previous ATH (that’s “all-time’high”) people began to resent Vinny’s call to sell. The price never retreated again and from the abuse Lingham received over Twitter, it seems he turned into a proponent of Bitcoin Cash/2X and other scaling solutions opposed to the current Bitcoin Core roadmap.
During 2017 Lingham was also an integral part of the ICO for Civic, an identity themed platform, and was further infamously immortalized for his “Not in my lifetime” tweet regarding the price of litecoin surpassing $75.
not in my lifetime
— Vinny Lingham (@VinnyLingham) December 26, 2016
In 2017, the market showed Vinny that it will force you to remain objective, unemotional and without bias lest you turn into a revered counter indicator.
Former “big blocker” and current BitGo employee Jameson Lopp has been one of the more outspoken bitcoiners advocating for maintaining the course.
Rarely flustered and always logical, Lopp has clearly explained his reasoning for his support of Bitcoin Core’s roadmap. His interview with Roger Ver on the Tom Woods Show was a great example of the two opposing viewpoints — without the spite and vitriol. At the height of the scaling drama, Lopp even had his residence raided by a SWAT team, and handled the situation with aplomb.
Dear anonymous coward who just sent dozens of cops w/ rifles to my house w/a false hostage situation report: I am not so easily intimidated.
— Jameson Lopp (@lopp) October 16, 2017
Brian Armstrong and Coinbase
To be upfront, Coinbase has done some arguably questionable things over the last few years — from having its CEO, Brian Armstrong, openly supporting other coins over BTC, to not implementing SegWit and not issuing its users Bitcoin Cash (BCH) in a timely fashion after the August 1st fork.
Why are people surprised about @coinbase & @brian_armstrong? Brian has been involved in every attack on #Bitcoin dating back to XT. He doesn't get Bitcoin. He publicly stated that he owns a lot more Ethereum than Bitcoin. Which has dropped considerably in value compared to BTC.
— WhalePanda (@WhalePanda) December 20, 2017
However, Coinbase has been the main on-boarder for noobs to get into the crypto space, providing a regulated, easy to use platform with (regional) ability to fund an account via credit card.
With such a large amount of new people entering the space, Coinbase has done a decent job of remaining online for the most part and morphing into a respected mainstream site that mom and pop investors can use quickly and easily.
In December it became the number one iPhone app on the U.S. App Store, a true measure of the mania that crypto induced in 2017. Just don’t mention SegWit implementation or the surprise inclusion of Bitcoin Cash for live trading.
When Roger Ver was on the side of Bitcoin — i.e.: before all the Bitcoin Cash drama — there was no-one more evangelical than the former U.S. citizen. Ver used his belief in Bitcoin to turn himself into a multimillionaire, buying up early BTC at $1 each and investing in numerous startups in the ecosystem — and creating bitcoinstore.com and memorydealers.com, services that primarily accepted bitcoin as a method of payment.
But even though he has split off with the Bitcoin Cash fork, Ver has still had amazing business success. Bitcoin Cash essentially made 10-50 percent just by way of its fork, and Ver has used all his power and influence to create a community around his vision for BCH. He has teamed up with the largest miner in the world and one of the heavyweights in the internet security world — the ever controversial John McAfee — to lead Bitcoin Cash into battle.
2009-2013 Everyone knows Bitcoin is a CURRENCY.
2014 IRS dictates that Bitcoin is a COMMODITY.
2014 Blockstream is formed and tries to morph Bitcoin into a COMMODITY.
2017: Every real Bitcoiner knows the IRS is wrong.
Bitcoin is a CURRENCY and #BitcoinCash is the real Bitcoin.
— Roger Ver (@rogerkver) December 16, 2017
Those who question why someone with allegedly hundreds of millions of dollars in crypto wealth would bother going through all the drama he has instigated, instead of enjoying his fortune, perhaps aren’t recognizing that is the thing that separates themselves from Ver. Call him a sociopath, a narcissist or a scammer, but you cannot doubt his conviction or successes in the business field.
As a group, the haters have been the people that have provided the fuel for the rally in cryptocurrency to keep going.
From economists like Jim Rickards to goldbugs like Peter Schiff, entire readerships like Zero Hedge or mainstream opinion piece writers, they’ve all been astounded at the heights the collective market cap has reached and most have doubled down of their rationales and vitriol.
In an overall sense, their influence keeps people out of the space — and it isn’t until all those who were initially hesitant or the pundits themselves change course that the current bubble will end.
The Decision-Makers at CME
The world’s biggest futures exchange finally announced the rumored inclusion of Bitcoin Futures in 2017, providing the industry with validation and the ability for big institutions to manage risk buy using Bitcoin as a possible hedge.
Many worry that CME would allow Wall St. to short bitcoin into oblivion, and although the price coincidentally tanked the day CME enabled trading, it has at least given bitcoin the opportunity to play with the big boys — for better or worse.
— CMEGroup (@CMEGroup) December 17, 2017
Bruce has been a long time Bitcoin proponent and has been involved in many early initiatives such as the Satoshi Roundtable and v.2 of the Bitcoin Foundation. The reason Bruce makes this list is for his ability in 2017 to change his viewpoint and not remain rooted to a position due to his own personal bias.
Without passing judgment on either side of the blocksize argument, early on in the year many respected commentators poked Bruce into re-examining his arguments surrounding SegWit and block size increases. He publicly moved to speak to more technical minded people within the community and then went on to outline his new insights. The fact that he sought out expertise and was willing to accept new information means Bruce is secure enough within himself to examine his own biases.
Famous lothario/poker player Dan Bilzerian jumped on the bitcoin train mid year, tweeting out his positions in a number of coins, which for some was a sure sign of the apocalypse. Many laughed as his buy in price went underwater but were forced to eat humble pie as it soon rebounded into moon territory.
For everyone asking, i have 50% Bitcoin, 25% ETH, 15% Monero and 10% Bitcoin Cash
— Dan Bilzerian (@DanBilzerian) November 23, 2017
Along with other poker pros like Doug Polk and Jason Les, cryptocurrency has been a major talking point on the poker circuit, even featuring heavily in the table chat on Poker Night in America.
Another well known bitcoin personality to have courted controversy this year, Voorhees, the owner of ShapeShift and well known libertarian, was vocal in his support of the “SegWit2X” hard fork. One of the few 2x supporters to actively communicate via Twitter, Voorhees explained his reasoning to the hordes with the justification that he had a made a deal and intended to stick by it – which he did until the end.
The fact remains: the attendees and signers of NYA are public. The code is open. The market can choose. I stand by the original tweet.
— Erik Voorhees (@ErikVoorhees) October 25, 2017
Lombrozo has been one of the more outspoken Bitcoin Core contributors who took it upon themselves to try and end the impasse over the blocksize debate.
Although ultimately unsuccessful, Lombrozo gave the average bitcoiner a view into how he saw the machinations that have been taking place behind the scenes since the failed “Hong Kong Agreement”. Not always polite, but never overboard, while Lombrozo laid the blame squarely at the feet of Chinese miners, it seemed his intentions were always noble.
The owner of Bitmain and one of the more prominent people supporting Bitcoin Cash (collaborating with Roger Ver, John McAfee and others), Wu is often painted as a Bond-esque villain. However many believe this view has been blown out of proportion.
While Bitmain did manufacture chips with a feature called “ASICBoost” embedded, many were quick to point out that this wasn’t the intention of Wu or Bitmain; it had been pushed on them by some behind-the-scenes parties who were attempting to front run the world’s largest miner.
While those of us in the West have only noticed Antbleed and ASICBoost, Wu’s other masterstroke was only accepting payment in Bitcoin Cash for Bitmain’s mining equipment — creating not only an instant market, but a tidy profit over the course of six short months as BCH moved from $300 to over $4,000.
Blockstream’s troller-in-chief spent a lot of time on twitter doing what he does best — trolling. Amidst the ongoing bitter dispute surrounding the block size debate, Mow was ever present, inflaming arguments or pointing out fallacies (depending upon your perspective).
Mow was the main driver behind the #UASF and #NO2X “hat movements” which gathered a following online and at a number of conferences.
What do you think of this list? Anyone you’d like to add… or remove? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.
Images via Twitter, Pixabay