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Universities in New York, Tokyo and Luxembourg Support Crypto Development

Academic institutions from all corners of the world are offering classes on cryptocurrencies and supporting research initiatives in this burgeoning sector. From New York to Tokyo, universities are spearheading a plethora of crypto-themed courses.

Also Read: The Daily: US Defense Department Probes Blockchain, Singapore Approves 1X

Two New Accelerators at Columbia University

Universities in New York, Tokyo and Luxembourg Support Crypto DevelopmentIBM and Columbia University have announced two new accelerator programs for blockchain developers. The programs will support 10 different startups, will last about eight weeks, and give each company access to technology and services valued at approximately $400,000. The academic institution and the technologies giant will not seek equity or a payment in return.

The Columbia Blockchain Launch Accelerator is designed for pre-seed idea-stage companies with an affiliation to New York City-based universities. The IBM Blockchain Accelerator is meant for later stage growth companies from all over the world and is focused on enterprise business networks.

Satish Rao, Executive Director at Columbia Blockchain Launch Accelerator, commented: “Early and late-stage teams will undoubtedly benefit from IBM’s technology resources, expertise and established network coupled with Columbia’s ground-breaking research and talent in blockchain and data transparency, all while benefiting from rapidly growing NYC blockchain communities.”

University of Luxembourg to Improve Crypto Security

Universities in New York, Tokyo and Luxembourg Support Crypto DevelopmentVNX Exchange, a Luxembourg-based platform for tokenized venture capital assets, has reportedly partnered with the University of Luxembourg in order to enhance the security of crypto assets. As a part of the cooperation, researchers at the university’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust will try to create a safer trading environment by developing higher levels of network security and designing new IT frameworks.

Dr Radu State, expert in network security at the center, explained: “Broadly, we need to address two aspects: protecting against criminals who might try to hack the system to steal money or information, and guaranteeing compliance with anti-money laundering and KYC regulations.” Besides better security on the trading exchange, researchers are also challenged by the need to verify that the contracts that control the execution of individual transactions contain no vulnerabilities.

University of Tokyo Receives Blockchain Donation

Universities in New York, Tokyo and Luxembourg Support Crypto DevelopmentThe University of Tokyo has received a donation of about $800,000 (90 million Japanese yen) to assist a blockchain innovation course for engineering students. The donation was supported by the Ethereum Foundation and several companies participated including Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, the holding company behind the second largest bank in Japan by market value.

The purpose of the course, according to the donation announcement, is to teach students interested in entrepreneurship about blockchain technology and startup management knowhow. It will offer intensive lectures and various events to students who have very strong math capabilities. The blockchain innovation course will also encourage the development of a win-win-win business model for companies, users, and society.

Do you think more universities should offer crypto-related courses? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi’s Pulse, another original and free service from

BTC-e Operator Alexander Vinnik to Go on Hunger Strike, Lawyer Says

Alexander Vinnik, the suspected operator of the infamous BTC-e exchange, plans to start a hunger strike on Monday, days before his next court hearing. The Russian, who has been accused by U.S. authorities of laundering billions of dollars through the now-defunct crypto trading platform, fears he is not going to receive a fair trial.

Also read: BTC-e Successor Wex Loses .nz Domain

Complaints About Rights Violations

Vinnik, who has been detained in a Greek jail since his arrest in Thessaloniki last summer, is protesting prison conditions and violations of his rights, the head of his defense team, Timofey Musatov, told Russian reporters. The lawyer said Vinnik has already informed the Russian consul in the northern Greek city about his decision to go on a hunger strike.

Greek police detained the Russian national in July 2017 on a warrant issued by the U.S., where he has been charged with laundering funds from the Mt Gox hack and more than 20 other crimes. Prosecutors believe Vinnik and his accomplices laundered between $4 billion and $9 billion through BTC-e, once the largest Russian crypto exchange.

BTC-e Operator Alexander Vinnik to Go on Hunger Strike, Lawyer Says

In early October, a court in Thessaloniki ruled in favor of Vinnik’s extradition to the U.S. His lawyers have filed an appeal with the Supreme Civil and Criminal Court of Greece in Athens and his next hearing is scheduled for Nov. 29.

Russia has previously objected to the extradition of its citizens to the United States. The authorities in Moscow want him back in the Russian Federation, where he is accused of stealing 600,000 rubles ($9,000).

France also requested Vinnik’s extradition in June. However, according to Musatov, the 90-day European arrest warrant issued by Paris has already expired. Vinnik wants to return to his native country and even confessed to Russian fraud charges in May. His defense team fears the French authorities would immediately hand him over to the U.S., where he faces a possible life sentence.

Fear of an Unfair Trial

BTC-e Operator Alexander Vinnik to Go on Hunger Strike, Lawyer SaysBut Vinnik and his lawyers don’t want a trial in Greece, either. They claim the Greek judicial authorities are depriving him of a proper legal defense, as he has been moved multiple times between the prison in Athens and the court in Thessaloniki for hearings and interrogations.

In a letter to the Russian Consulate in Thessaloniki, quoted by RIA Novosti, Vinnik complained that he had been treated inhumanely. He said he has been transported numerous times between various Greek cities, handcuffed in the back seats of small cars. He described it as torture and claims he has been forced to sleep on the floor without a mattress.

His lawyer, Musatov, stated:

On Monday, Vinnik will go on a hunger strike to protest against this situation. He sees no other way out – it’s either justice or death.
At his next hearing at the Supreme Court on Thursday, Vinnik’s defense team plans to ask for the appointment of a new judge, as different Greek courts have supported extradition requests filed by Russia, France and the U.S. Musatov wasn’t able to confirm whether the defendant will be present in court.

What are your expectations about the outcome of the Vinnik case? Tell us in the comments section below.

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What Can You Buy with Bitcoin?

After an initial flurry of interest among merchants in accepting bitcoin in their retail or online stores, interest has largely died down as increasing bitcoin transaction fees and volatile price movements made it less attractive as a means of exchange

That doesn\\\\\\\'t mean that there are no outlets to spend your bitcoin, however, far from it. It\\\\\\\'s just that bitcoin volumes at these outlets has generally not met expectations, and by the time you read this, some may have discontinued that option.

At time of writing, however, you can still buy a wide range of goods and services with the cryptocurrency. Among the advantages of doing so are the ease of cross-border transactions, and anonymity (unless you want physical delivery, of course). By accepting bitcoin, merchants get access to a broader market, and don\\\\\\\'t have to worry so much about chargebacks (where the buyers cancels the payment after receiving the product).

If you want to use bitcoin to buy presents, the most obvious solution is gift cards, via Gyft or eGifter. The recipient will then be able to spend the gift card at one of a wide range of retailers.

You can pay for flights and hotels with bitcoin, through Expedia, CheapAir and Surf Air. If your ambitions are loftier, you can pay for space travel with some of your vast holdings, through Virgin Galactic.

Microsoft accepts bitcoin in its app stores, where you can download movies, games and app-based services.

Some musicians (Bjork, Imogen Heep) will let you download their music in exchange for cryptocurrency.

Need to furnish your house or buy a special present for someone? Overstock was one of the first big retailers to start accepting bitcoin, back in 2014, and its founder – Patrick Byrne – is still one of the technology\\\\\\\'s most active proponents.

Fancy some gold? Sharps Pixley, APMEX and JM Bullion will take bitcoin off your hands in exchange for bullion.

And if you\\\\\\\'re hungry and live in the US, PizzaforCoins will get a pizza delivered to your door (depending on where you live) in exchange for bitcoin.

If it\\\\\\\'s knowledge you\\\\\\\'re hungry for, several private and public universities as well as a couple of New York preschools accept bitcoin.

Some legal and accounting firms also accept payment for their services in the cryptocurrency.

Of course, you could always buy yourself some happiness by donating to one of the bitcoin-accepting charities or crowdfunding sites, such as BitHope, BitGive or Fidelity Charitable.

For a list of offline stores near you that accept bitcoin, check an aggregator such as SpendBitcoins or CoinMap.

(Note: specific businesses mentioned here are not the only options available, and should not be taken as a recommendation.)

What is Ethereum?

Before you can understand ethereum, it helps to first understand the internet.

Today, our personal data, passwords and financial information are all largely stored on other people\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s computers – in clouds and servers owned by companies like Amazon, Facebook or Google. Even this CoinDesk article is stored on a server controlled by a company that charges to hold this data should it be called upon.

This setup has a number of conveniences, as these companies deploy teams of specialists to help store and secure this data, and remove the costs that come with hosting and uptime.

But with this convenience, there is also vulnerability. As we\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'ve learned, a hacker or a government can gain unwelcome access to your files without your knowledge, by influencing or attacking a third-party service – meaning they can steal, leak or change important information.

Brian Behlendorf, creator of the Apache Web Server, has gone so far as to label this centralized design the \"original sin\" of the Internet. Some like Behlendorf argue the Internet was always meant to be decentralized, and a splintered movement has sprung up around using new tools, including blockchain technology, to help achieve this goal.

Ethereum is one of the newest technologies to join this movement.

While bitcoin aims to disrupt PayPal and online banking, ethereum has the goal of using a blockchain to replace internet third parties — those that store data, transfer mortgages and keep track of complex financial instruments.

The \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'World Computer\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'

In short, ethereum wants to be a \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'World Computer\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\' that would decentralize – and some would argue, democratize – the existing client-server model.

With ethereum, servers and clouds are replaced by thousands of so-called \"nodes\" run by volunteers from across the globe (thus forming a \"world computer\").

The vision is that ethereum would enable this same functionality to people anywhere around the world, enabling them to compete to offer services on top of this infrastructure.

Scrolling through a typical app store, for example, you\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'ll see a variety of colorful squares representing everything from banking to fitness to messaging apps. These apps rely on the company (or another third-party service) to store your credit card information, purchasing history and other personal data – somewhere, generally in servers controlled by third-parties.

Your choice of apps is of course also governed by third parties, as Apple and Google maintain and curate (or in some cases, censor) the specific apps you\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'re able to download.

Take the example of an online document service like Evernote or Google Docs.

Ethereum, if all goes according to plan, would return control of the data in these types of services to its owner and the creative rights to its author.

The idea is that one entity will no longer have control over your notes and that no one could suddenly ban the app itself, temporarily taking all of your notebooks offline. Only the user can make changes, not any other entity.

In theory, it combines the control that people had over their information in the past with the easy-to-access information that we\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'re used to in the digital age. Each time you save edits, or add or delete notes, every node on the network makes the change.

It\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s worth noting that the idea has been met with skepticism.

Although the apps appear to be possible, it\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s unclear which blockchain applications will actually prove useful, secure, or scalable, and if they will ever be as convenient to use as the apps we use today.

Authored by Alyssa Hertig; Images by Maria Kuznetsov

Bitcoin (BTC-GBP) celebrates its 10th birthday this week.

On 31 October 2008, an academic paper “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” was posted to a cryptography mailing list. Authored by the still unknown Satoshi Nakamoto, it led to the creation of bitcoin, the world’s first cryptocurrency. It also sparked a wave of innovation around digital currencies and blockchain, the cryptographic database technology that underpins the bitcoin network.

Today there are over 2,000 cryptocurrencies. Collectively, they are worth over $200bn (£156bn) despite a collapse in the value of most cryptos in 2018. (All values are correct as of Monday 29 October.)

We’ve listed the 10 largest cryptocurrencies by market cap to give you an idea of what they do and how they fit into the broader ecosystem. Collectively, they fall into one of two buckets: a true cryptocurrency that aims to be a form of digital money; or a crypto token, which will be used to power a crypto-based network. In the token example, the value of the asset is derived from the popularity of the network being built.

Here’re the top 10:

1. Bitcoin (BTC-GBP) — Market capitalisation: $112.2bn

The original cryptocurrency, and still by far the largest by value, is bitcoin. It was originally created as a form of “digital cash” that would allow people to anonymously transact over the internet without the need for any middlemen. Digital anarchists and anti-censorship activists were early advocates.

The value of all bitcoin in circulation represents over 50% of the value of the entire cryptocurrency ecosystem, in part due to its first mover advantage. Bitcoin’s underlying code means there will only ever been a maximum of 21 million in circulation, which is meant to underpin its value by creating scarcity.

About $3-4bn of bitcoin changes hands daily but the majority of transactions are between traders and investors. Bitcoin has struggled to gain much traction as a means of buying things due to its price volatility and transaction speed. Proponents hope that projects currently under development, such as the Lightening Network, will help fix these issues.

2. Ethereum (ETH-GBP) — $21bn

Inspired by bitcoin’s underlying network, Ethereum (ETH-GBP) was developed by programmers Vitalik Buterin, Gavin Wood, and Joseph Lubin. It launched in 2015 after several years of development and exploded in popularity last year.

Ethereum’s big innovation is cryptocurrency that can be programmed. Essentially, it allows the creation of “smart” money. You can programme an ether (the correct name for the currency that runs on the ethereum network) to move from one digital wallet to another only once a certain action is complete. It would be like buying something on Amazon and telling your dollars to only go to the company once the package landed on your doorstep.

So far the “killer app” for ethereum has been so-called initial coin offerings (ICOs). This is where startups launch their own crowdfunding campaigns, independently of any centralised platforms. The money is raised in ether, which can be programmed to go to the company’s wallet once a certain level of total funding is reached. Billions were raised through this method last year, causing a surge in the value of ether. However, concerns about ICO scams and startups selling the ether they raised for dollars have hit the price of the asset this year.

3. XRP (XRP-GBP) — $18.4bn

Launched in 2012, XRP (XRP-GBP) is a cryptocurrency specifically designed for cross-border payments. Its code allows quick and cheap transfer of value internationally, whether it be dollars or loyalty points. The value is transferred by converting it it XRP, which is then sent across the network to the destination and converted back into the original asset.

XRP is sometimes known as Ripple but Ripple refers to the name of the company that is closely associated with the cryptocurrency and helped to develop it. The company insists that XRP is decentralised and open-source but it holds over 50% of all XRP in circulation, which critics say means it technically controls the currency.

Ripple is currently trying to pitch XRP to money transfer companies as a solution for liquidity and cross-border payments. Several are testing it, including Western Union and Moneygram, but there have been no large scale deployments to date. Daily turnover of XRP is about $250m.

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Former Fed Chair Janet Yellen Is Now a Bitcoin Owner

She may not be \"fan\" of bitcoin,\" but former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen now has a small amount of BTC in her possession.

On Monday, Yellen explained why she believes bitcoin is not a useful form of currency during an appearance at the Canada Fintech Forum. The former chairperson of the U.S. central bank has struck critical tones in the past toward cryptocurrency, but elsewhere had said she views blockchain as an \"important technology.\"

A day later, according to an email obtained by CoinDesk, Raz Suprovici, the founder of bitcoin gifting service Biterica, sent Yellen 0.0031642 BTC – or roughly $20 – by way of her University of California Berkeley e-mail address.

When contacted to confirm the gift, Yellen said that she had received it but hasn\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'t gone far in investigating her newly-obtained coins.

\"I did receive a gift of bitcoins this morning and have been very busy ever since so I\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'ve not looked into it further,\" she wrote. Yellen further said that she did not have anything to add to her previous remarks about bitcoin this week.

Suprovici told CoinDesk that he wanted to help Yellen learn more about bitcoin, seeing the gift as the best avenue for that to occur.

\"Based on the way she spoke about it at the conference, it seemed that she had never owned any bitcoin,\" he said, adding:

\"People are afraid of the unknown. I was hoping that when she logged into her bitcoin wallet with her ID and password, she would see it\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'s just like a typical online bank account. The money she owns is there, in her control, ready to spend ... I hope that this sparks her openness to the technology.\"

\"Maybe all policy-makers should be gifted a little bit of bitcoin,\" he added.

Janet Yellen image via Federalreserve / Wikimedia Commons

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Bitcoin Trader Faces Five Years in US Jail for Unlicensed Money Transmitting Business

Bitcoin trader Jacob Burrell-Campos pleaded guilty this week in a U.S. federal court to operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. The 21-year-old San Diego native is now awaiting sentencing and faces a maximum of five years in jail.

Also Read: How to Easily Give BCH as Gifts in Halloween Trick-or-Treat Packages

‘Serious Threat’ to US Banking System

Bitcoin Trader Faces Five Years in U.S. Jail for Unlicensed Money Transmitting BusinessBurrell was arrested in August while trying to cross the border from Mexico. He was apprehended for trading crypto to fiat with over 1,000 people in the U.S. since January 2015, without any anti-money laundering safeguards in place. According to his plea bargain agreement, Burrell now admits to operating an unregistered exchange and has agreed to hand over more than $800,000 to the government.

“Unlicensed money transmitting businesses, especially those operating at or near the border, pose a serious threat to the integrity of the U.S. banking system, and provide an ‘open door’ for criminals to utilize such businesses to launder the proceeds of their illicit activities,” said U.S. attorney Adam Braverman. “The Department of Justice (DOJ) will continue to investigate and prosecute all individuals and businesses that seek to evade the licensing and anti-money laundering requirements under federal law.”

How It All Went Down

Bitcoin Trader Faces Five Years in U.S. Jail for Unlicensed Money Transmitting BusinessAccording to the DOJ, Burrell advertised his services on Localbitcoins and privately offered to sell bitcoin to people with no questions asked, in exchange for a 5 percent markup over the going rate. He initially purchased the cryptocurrencies he sold from Coinbase, but his account was closed due to the large number of suspicious transactions he had conducted. Undeterred, he turned to Bitfinex in March 2015 and bought about $3.3 million worth of bitcoin from the exchange over a period of just over two years.

As part of the plea deal, Burrell also admitted he had exchanged his dollars, which he kept in Mexico, with Joseph Castillo, a San Diego-based precious metals dealer. This amounted to importing more than $1 million in fiat on almost a daily basis between late 2016 and early 2018, according to the DOJ. He admitted this was intentionally done in multiple transactions, each with an amount slightly below the minimum $10,000 reporting requirement.

Does Burrell really pose a serious threat to the integrity of the U.S. banking system? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi’s Pulse, another original and free service from

Exchanges Roundup: BNB on Etoro, Binance Freezes Wex Funds, Bittrex International

In cryptocurrency exchange news, Binance’s native coin has listed on Etoro, Bittrex has announced the upcoming launch of its Malta-based international exchange, and Chris Lee of Huobi has predicted that security token offerings will become a mainstream form of fundraising within five years.

Also Read: Bitcoin Trader Faces Five Years in US Jail for Unlicensed Money Transmitting Business

BNB Lists on Etoro in First Listing Outside of Binance

Exchanges Roundup: BNB on Etoro, Binance Freezes Wex Funds, Bittrex InternationalBinancecoin (BNB) has been listed on Etoro, bringing the number of cryptocurrencies supported by the platform to 13. The listing comprises the first instance in which the altcoin has been listed on an exchange other than Binance.

The chief executive officer and co-founder of Etoro, Yoni Assia, stated: “Despite sensational headlines about the death of crypto, we continue to believe in the potential for crypto assets, as do our clients who are increasingly looking to diversify their crypto holdings. In response, we will continue to add the leading crypto assets to our range and we are pleased to add BNB to the platform.”

Binance Freezes Funds From Wex Worth $18.5 Million

Exchanges Roundup: BNB on Etoro, Binance Freezes Wex Funds, Bittrex InternationalIt has been revealed that on Oct. 25 Binance froze more than 93,000 ETH that had been transferred from the embattled Wex exchange, valued at $18.5 million.

In response to a post on Twitter emphasizing the movement of funds from Wex to Binance dating back to August, Changpeng Zhao, the chief executive officer of Binance, tweeted: “The identified accounts are frozen, please report to law enforcement and have a case number. We will work with [law enforcement]. This is part of centralization we hate too, dealing with other exchange’s mess (we don’t even know the details). But we will do what we can.”

Users of Wex appear to have been unable to withdraw fiat or cryptocurrencies from the exchange for more than three months, with recent reports claiming that 35 complaints have been filed against Wex with the Russian Interior Ministry.

Bittrex Announces Upcoming Launch of Bittrex International

Exchanges Roundup: BNB on Etoro, Binance Freezes Wex Funds, Bittrex InternationalBittrex has announced that it will launch Bittrex International, formerly branded as Bittrex Malta.

The exchange will seek to target users based outside of the United States, with Bittrex also promising “a streamlined token approval process” designed to facilitate the onboarding of new markets in “weeks instead of months.” The launch of the new exchange will also see a “European-based Bittrex affiliate” listing particular tokens that are available on the Bittrex International platform and not the US-regulated Bittrex exchange.

If tokens are approved through Bittrex’s “standard initial review process,” prospective projects will be “directed to follow the process outlined in the Malta Virtual Financial Assets Act.”

Huobi’s Chris Lee Predicts STOs Will Become Mainstream in 3-4 Years

Exchanges Roundup: BNB on Etoro, Binance Freezes Wex Funds, Bittrex InternationalChris Lee, the former chief executive officer of Okex and the current board secretary and vice president of global business development for Huobi, has stated his expectation that security token offerings (STOs) will become a “mainstream fundraising method” in approximately three to four years.

Speaking to Huoxun Finance, Lee added: “Time will prove everything, [STOs are] indeed a big opportunity, as I believe asset-backed tokenization, which is the digital assets backed by physical assets, have the potential to drive the entire crypto industry to a higher level. There will be a place for STO in Hong Kong’s capital market one day.”

What is your response to Binance’s freezing of 93,000 ETH associated with Wex exchange? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

At there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even lookup the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.

Bitcoin History : In the Beginning

With today marking the tenth anniversary of the Bitcoin whitepaper, the web is predictably thick with op-eds, retrospectives and thought pieces. While Oct. 31, 2008 is hailed as a pivotal moment in monetary history, at the time, few noticed the publication of the Bitcoin whitepaper to a cryptography mailing list. Like all revolutions, this one would take time to germinate.

Also read: Coinbase Raises $300 Million, Reaching $8 Billion Valuation

From Tiny Acorns Mighty Oaks Grow

It’s hard to place a finger on the moment when Bitcoin transitioned from an idea into a movement. Was it when Satoshi Nakamoto mined the genesis block on Jan. 3, 2009? Or when he sent the first transaction to Hal Finney a few days later? Or did it occur imperceptibly over the course of that year, as the conversation moved from the mailing list, where it had begun, to Sourceforge, where the first Bitcoin forum was established?

That’s one for the armchair pundits to ponder. What is beyond dispute is that by Nov. 22 2009, when Satoshi welcomed members to the new Bitcoin forum, hosted at, his idea had taken root and there was now a small band of believers helping to till the soil. “Hello Satoshi, all forum members and Bitcoin users!,” read the first reply to Satoshi’s maiden Bitcointalk post. “Thank you for developing Bitcoin. A P2P anonymous digital currency / eCurrency is long overdue. I’m very impressed and this project has great potential.”

Bitcoin History Part 1: In the Beginning

It All Could Have Been so Different

When writing history, it’s easy to assign inevitability to events; to assume that things happened a certain way because that’s just how they were destined to occur. The truth is that Bitcoin, like all seismic movements, was not preordained to play out as it did. Were it not for the tenacity of those ultra-early adopters, who kept Satoshi’s brainchild alive through its weakest hours, coupled with serendipity and reinforcement by geopolitical events, Bitcoin may have never gotten off the ground. Its survival and present-day robustness can be attributed to the power of Satoshi’s idea coupled with the efforts of the hobbyists who worked late into the night to patch critical bugs and nurse Bitcoin until the nascent network was strong enough to survive.

Bitcoin History Part 1: In the Beginning

In Bitcoin History, starting today, will chronicle a series of mini-episodes from the cryptocurrency’s early years, with a focus on the events that began life, like so much of Bitcoin’s history, on the forum Satoshi started. While Bitcointalk wasn’t the sole repository of seminal ideas, it formed a hub, in the pre-Medium and early Twitter days, where key contributors convened to share ideas. Back then, as today, there was plenty of arguing, but less tribalism and virtue signalling. With no land to fight over, the first task for Bitcoin’s maiden users was to build a world by which the ideas contained within the whitepaper could be realized.

“One immediate problem with any new currency,” mused Hal Finney, on Jan. 11, 2009, “is how to value it. Even ignoring the practical problem that virtually no one will accept it at first, there is still a difficulty in coming up with a reasonable argument in favor of a particular non-zero value for the coins.” He concluded:

As an amusing thought experiment, imagine that Bitcoin is successful and becomes the dominant payment system in use throughout the world … the possibility of generating coins today with a few cents of compute time may be quite a good bet, with a payoff of something like 100 million to 1! Even if the odds of Bitcoin succeeding to this degree are slim, are they really 100 million to one against? Something to think about…
Do you think Bitcoin was destined to survive, or did luck and perseverance play a part in its early days? Let us know in the comments section below.