2020 was unforgettable, especially for Bitcoin. To help memorialize this year for our readers, we asked our network of contributors to reflect on Bitcoin’s price action, technological development, community growth and more in 2020, and to reflect on what all of this might mean for 2021. These writers responded with a collection of thoughtful and thought-provoking articles. Click here to read all of the stories from our End Of Year 2020 Series.
This year has been a wild ride.
We have seen a blitzkrieg on civil liberties across the globe. The current new normal is nothing less than a dark and previously unimaginable dystopia. The populace has so far been eager to comply, even to the point of reporting one another for non-compliance and, in some cases, demanding even more restrictions be put in place on their own freedoms.
Information warfare is everywhere, with wildly accelerating censorship being deployed through corporate media and Big Tech platforms. As a result, an already divided populace has become more divided than ever before. Reality has forked, and people have no way to easily verify which fork holds the truth.
In the midst of all this chaos, Bitcoin remains the constant, pushing out blocks of verifiable truth every 10 minutes. Absolutely resistant to censorship. A bastion of freedom and rationality that brings much needed hope to those who have discovered it.
We started 2020 at around $7,000, with a hash rate just under 100 EH/s. At the time of this writing, the bitcoin price is $26,998, with the hash rate cruising around 140 EH/s. Bitcoin’s fundamentals have kept growing stronger and Number Go Up technology has proven itself.
Bitcoin’s biggest day of 2020 was undoubtedly May 11, block time 630,000. Bitcoin did the opposite of the fiat printing presses and went through its third halving, once again cutting the inflation rate in half. This happening in symphony with central banks all over the world going full brrr to an unprecedented extent sent a powerful signal to those not completely asleep. The metaphor of Bitcoin as a lifebuoy suddenly resonated stronger and with more urgency than ever before. The core mechanism of Bitcoin’s Number Go Up technology was laid bare for all to see, decreasing new supply in a world of increasing new demand.
Since May 11, only 6.25 BTC are issued per block, or a total of 900 BTC per day. One company alone, MicroStrategy, has since taken more than 40,000 BTC off the market. This represents around 45 days’ worth of fresh bitcoin supply. MicroStrategy stock has skyrocketed almost three-times since then and Gigachad Michael Saylor have shown board rooms across the world a way to store their excess cash holdings that will be very hard to ignore.
2017 was, in my eyes, the year Bitcoin won. The SegWit upgrade was finally successfully activated, ending a brutal civil war in the Bitcoin community. A “war” that, in my opinion, was more manufactured by corporate interests and bad actors than actually reflected the situation on the ground. Keeping block size small and scaling off-chain was always a no-brainer for those who understood that decentralization is everything in Bitcoin.
But why am I bringing up 2017?
Because 2021 looks set to be the year when the first big post-SegWit upgrade is activated. Schnorr/Taprott looks set to bring much needed privacy and scaling improvements to the table. These consensus rules have already been merged into the Bitcoin Core code, but the activation method remains undecided.
Bitcoin is currently seeing a brewing divide between those who hold the cypherpunk ideals of censorship resistance and privacy as inviolable and sacred, and those who seem to think these ideals hinder the adoption of Bitcoin and that Bitcoin needs to evolve in harmony with the political system and conform to the requirements of governments.
Any change to the protocol, or even proposals to change it are potential attack vectors that can be leveraged to harm Bitcoin. Hopefully Schnorr/Taproot is the last big upgrade of the Bitcoin base layer. The faster the protocol ossifies and is viewed as an unchangeable constant, the better it is for Bitcoin, in my opinion. We must avoid creating any kind of opening for those who will wish to change the inflation rate, supply cap or other key features in the future. The hardest money on earth needs to have rules set in stone, impossible to change.
It remains to be seen if we will have a peaceful and non-controversial activation of Schnorr/Taproot. I think there is a risk that we will once again see government and corporate interests in tandem with bad actors and powerful individuals who are mostly oriented toward the short-term value of their bitcoin holdings fight it out against those who see Bitcoin as a supremely powerful weapon of individual sovereignty that will profoundly change the world. No matter how it plays out, I am confident Bitcoin will come out the other end stronger and more hardened.
Going forward, I am extremely optimistic about Bitcoin. The current nasty endgame of the fiat system is what Bitcoin was created for; a readily available tool to take back our sovereignty. The stage for accelerating Bitcoinization is set to perfection, and 2021 looks likely to be the year when it all explodes into a whole new level of awareness and adoption. I predict serious FOMO coming in from both retail and institutions in 2021.
None of this would have been possible if it weren’t for those who make me the most optimistic and bullish about Bitcoin’s future. Everywhere I turn, I see people building, creating, writing. A buzzing nest of Cyber Hornets that never sleeps. Existing projects strengthening and new ones popping up at an increasing pace. New use cases being identified and built out. An explosion of art and cultural content. Grassroots and organic. A very real sense of growth and acceleration.
Bitcoiners really are a special breed of people. Independent minds that have finally found something that resonates strongly and deeply. The Bitcoin rabbit hole is a profound journey that brings motivation and dedication to those who discover it. And there is no exit.
The network effect is extremely strong. We now have more Bitcoiners in positions of power and influence than ever before. More HODLers Of Last Resort. More supremely-motivated Cyber Hornets willing to fight and die for the protocol. Bitcoin has been spreading for 12 years, growing its mycelium organically throughout minds and infrastructure all over the world. And it has never before been more needed.
This is a guest post by Hodlonaut. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.