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Bitcoin News End of the Year Wrap-Up

Bitcoin’s tenth year in operation is coming to a close, and what a roller coaster of a year it was. Today we perform a quick, retrospective review of some of the events that defined 2019 for bitcoin traders, holders and enthusiasts alike. For the most part, things were pretty positive, with of course some setbacks happening in the form of the usual suspects (such as exchange hackings, of which there were plenty this year).

  • Positive events of 2019: SegWit adoption hit all-time highs, meaning more transactions are being fit into a block than ever before, and as a result transaction fees have been relatively mild. The Lightning Network made huge strides, with a record 10,000 individual nodes running by September. Bakkt Futures trading launched, giving institutional traders a legitimate, government-sanctioned entryway into bitcoin price speculation. China, home to many of the biggest BTC mining pools, began to reverse its anti-crypto stance and publicly announced that it was seeking beneficial use cases of the blockchain for government operations.
  • Negative events of 2019: The SEC is still refusing to green light the formation of a Bitcoin ETF, which would be a massive boost in bitcoin’s credibility in the eyes of more conservative investors. Binance was hacked of $40 million in BTC, losing their reputation as being one of the safest crypto exchanges around. It was revealed that the total amount of liquidity (as opposed to reported trading volume) is found to be much, much smaller than previously suspected, meaning most trading volume is faked and serves no purpose for actual crypto users.

Bitcoin Turns 10 Years Old

The first notable event of the year was Bitcoin’s 10th birthday, which was observed on January 3rd, 2019, exactly 10 years after the birth of the genesis block (otherwise known as “block 0”). Amazingly, the Bitcoin Network has only gone down twice in the ten years of its existence, for a total of less than 15 hours, meaning it has been up over 99.984% of the time. By its 10th birthday,

  • BTC had been sent in over 370 million transactions,
  • the blockchain had grown to 197.5 gigabytes in size,
  • over 17.46 million coins had been mined, and
  • over $582 million was moved around in daily transactions.

By any measure, Bitcoin has been an amazing success. Though it has not been without bumps in the road, Bitcoin continues to make strides in terms of changing the game of personal finance, offering a way for people to store and exchange value without the interference of costly middleman. As a testament to its success, $229 million worth of BTC (40,000) was moved from one address to another in May for a fee of only $0.57 — a feat that is just not possible with traditional finance transfer mechanisms. Satoshi’s invention has proven itself over the decade to be a transformational utility, with the blockchain inspiring thousands of “copycats” (as well as legitimate startup companies) in the process.

Price of BTC Ends Year With 100% Gain

Like many others before it, 2019 was a year of wild ups and downs for the price of bitcoin. The year began as the price was still depressed by the fallout of the Bitcoin Cash “Civil War”. At its low for the year, bitcoin hovered just above $3400 in early February before surging to a massive breakout of almost $14,000 on June 27th. Afterward, it appeared that a price above $10k would be the new normal; however, hopes for this were dashed as BTC slid a couple thousand dollars in late September. Nevertheless, after beginning the year so low, the price is still sitting on close to a 100% gain, which it is likely to hold into the new year.

The total market cap of all coins, on the other hand, didn’t fare as well, up 75% over the course of the year. The gain was largely thanks to bitcoin, as most altcoins were stifled in their attempts to break out of a slump that began in early 2018. Nevertheless, there was quite a shakeup in the market cap rankings, with many newcomers bursting into the top 100 coins, including Matic Network (MATIC), Coin (CRO), BitTorrent (BTT), and most recently, FTX Token (FTT) — all fighting a static/downward trend among altcoins that has plagued much of the year.

The Wisdom of Satoshi: Bitcointalk Forum Turns 10 Years Old

Perhaps his 3rd greatest contribution (after bitcoin and the blockchain), the forum created by Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcointalk (also known as “Bitcoin Forum”) also turned 10 years old this year, in November. Spread out in a total of 575 posts written across 13 months, Satoshi performed the brunt of his communication with the general public in this forum, mainly discussing various technical aspects of bitcoin, finding solutions to bugs and other problems with the help of developers, announcing new version releases, and occasionally waxing philosophical about bitcoin’s potential role in society.

The forum itself contains over 53 million posts, 2.6 million members, and 1.2 million topics. It is an absolute repository of everything bitcoin (and, since 2013, altcoin) related. It houses some amazing tales of triumph, loss and despair, including the famous 10,000 BTC for 2 pizzas post by Laszlo Hanyecz, a heartfelt essay by developer Hal Finney as he detailed his struggles with ALS, and a cautionary exchange between Satoshi and a forum member in which Satoshi warns against attracting negative attention in the eyes of government agencies. The forum member, under the account name RHorning, is of the opinion that the community should support Wikileaks’ defiance of the U.S. government by encouraging them to use bitcoins, to which Satoshi responds:

“No, don’t “bring it on”.

The project needs to grow gradually so the software can be strengthened along the way.

I make this appeal to WikiLeaks not to try to use Bitcoin.  Bitcoin is a small beta community in its infancy.  You would not stand to get more than pocket change, and the heat you would bring would likely destroy us at this stage.” – Satoshi Nakamoto

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The Year’s Greatest Hits from Coin Clarity

Here are a few other notable events that happened during the year, summarized by Coin Clarity articles dedicated to them, along with their summaries:

March 17thMtGOX’s Karpeles Innocent of Major Charges, Not a Crook

“MtGOX once ruled the world of BTC as its biggest exchange. Then it became its biggest headache. Years after casting a shadow over bitcoin’s reputation, both MtGOX and Mark Karpeles are on the mend, having found some sort of redemption after court findings shed light on one of crypto’s biggest mysteries.”

March 25thBitwise Says 95% of Bitcoin Volume Fake, Readies for ETF Decision

“Though it may not seem likely on the surface, a report highly critical of exchanges which regularly exaggerate their BTC trading volume may prove to be just what one crypto asset firm needs in order to make their case to the SEC as to why their Bitcoin ETF should succeed where all others may have failed.”

July 29thWhy did the ICO Bubble Pop?

“In this article, we explain why ICOs were in a bubble during late 2017 / early 2018, and why investing in ICOs now is probably a worse move than it was before.”

August 28thCraig Wright’s Testimony Ruled “Fraudulent” By U.S. Court

“In this article we review the conclusion of a major court case revolving around the fate of bitcoin and present some of the more telling details of its latest court document release.”

September 1stBitcoin Network Hash Rate Blasts Past 80 Quintillion Hashes Per Second

“Today, the Bitcoin Network hash rate reached a new high of 84 quintillion hashes (or 84 million terahashes) per second. This means that bitcoin is now more secure than ever and it would require at least 350 days of a sustained “51% attack” in order to rewrite the entirety of the bitcoin blockchain.”

October 22ndA Candid Review of the New McAfee DEX

“In this article, we provide the low-down on John McAfee’s latest promotional item, his own decentralized exchange (DEX). Like most of his offerings, he’s talked up a big game about it, but is it really all that? We review the pros and cons for you to make up your own mind.”

November 19thCoinMarketCap Fights Fakers With New Metric

“In this article we review how CoinMarketCap is taking steps to counter the rankings manipulation in volume it had been subject to for at least the last 2 years. We review what changes are being made exactly and how they could actually bolster chances for the eventual approval of a Bitcoin ETF sometime in the near future.”

So, what does 2020 hold for bitcoin? We know for sure that the next block reward halving will occur, which will effectively make bitcoin harder to come by, and historically this has resulted in price appreciate to compensate. Beyond that, it’s really hard to predict anything for sure, but if next year is anything like the last (and most years of its history before it), Bitcoin will still be well on the road to becoming the universal digital currency as Satoshi once envisioned it.