On Jan. 12, 2009 the first transaction with bitcoin took place. A group of industry experts use the anniversary to look back on the decade since.
Brent Jaciow, head of blockchain affairs at music data tracking platform, Utopia Music:
“Reflecting on the last 10 years, by and large the greatest innovation to the world of crypto is the invention of the smart contract given it is what allows blockchain technologies to carry out many of the functions that make them such a versatile tool, such as DAO’s, autonomous actions, etc.
“The real value of blockchain technologies is the ability to have an ‘ownerless’ source of truth that all stakeholders can rely upon. The decentralization of authority combined with implicit trust in the data allows such real world cases as fractionalizing ownership of assets, capital raising to fund innovation, and the securitization of assets which would have been previously impossible with current capital markets.
“That being said, after a volatile 2018 there is no ‘magic bullet’ which will allow the public to regain trust within the cryptocurrency space. Rather it will be the combination of increased regulation to provide enhanced safety to investors, technology advances that make it easier for the general public to use and invest in the asset class, as well as great adoption by larger institutions which will prove to be the tipping point to mass adoption.”
Nydia Zhang, co-founder and chair of Social Alpha Foundation, a not-for-profit grant making platform supporting blockchain technology for social good:
“Ten years on, the greatest innovation borne from Bitcoin has been the ability to revolutionize the manner in which people connect for commerce, governance, finance and industry without the need for a middleman. While this ability remains nascent, the effect will unfold as a shockwave in slow motion, transforming technology infrastructure as we know it. From cryptocurrency which has redefined how we define, quantify and exchange value, to trustless ledgers that bring databases into a realm of interoperability not possible before, Bitcoin and its technology has changed everything. Though 2018 was a crucible for crypto, it survived extinction and in 2019 will continue to grow stronger than ever; all the while, the blockchain technology below will continue quietly and powerfully powering the new internet.”
Frank Wagner, CEO and co-founder of INVAO, a blockchain asset pool for investors based on automated trading and active portfolio management:
“The world’s first bitcoin transaction marked a new epoch for the global monetary system. Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies have a myriad of uses and can solve real world problems in many sectors, but finance has been one of the most notable industries affected.
“One particular innovation that stands out in the world of finance is the advent of security tokens. This development has been central to creating new and unprecedented avenues of wealth acquisition, while simultaneously attracting institutional investors to the space. Blockchain technology is being used to provide access to capital and create transparent and secure investment routes in new markets. While cryptocurrency prices have had a volatile year, most understand these fluctuations do not negate the positive impact it has had or the opportunities it has unlocked over the previous decade.”
“The first ever bitcoin transaction, conducted 10 years ago, was the genesis for two of the most dynamic innovations of a generation. The emergence of bitcoin as a method to transfer value inspired the creation of various other cryptocurrencies that now make up a busy ecosystem. With Bitcoin’s rise in late 2017, a spotlight was shone on the wide range of alternative coins, as well as the underlying blockchain technology.
“Cryptocurrencies were the first showcase example of blockchain technology at work, opening the door to new payment practices, while addressing many of the long-standing issues plaguing traditional finance, such as high transaction fees and settlement delays. However, the technology is now meshing with a wide range of industries to help accelerate typically protracted processes, enable higher levels of cross-sectoral efficiency, and improve all-round transparency and trust in projects.
“The hype surrounding bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, peaking in late 2017, has mellowed. The focus has now shifted to sustainability and legitimate value propositions. Looking ahead, as wider society becomes more informed on the benefits of distributed ledger technology, the bar will continue to rise for prospective blockchain projects and crypto platforms to increase adoption and build a vibrant community.”
“The past 10 years have seen exponential growth of innovation and research in the crypto and blockchain world, and, as a result, it’s still too early to say with certainty which innovation is the greatest. From my perspective, assuming that Bitcoin is day zero and today is 10 years later, Ethereum is the greatest innovation in the space. The idea of a decentralized computer, capable of executing any contract in a decentralized and censorship-free environment, has huge implications and potential use cases for a variety of social and economic purposes. While many contenders for Ethereum have arrived, no single project boasts the resilience and ecosystem strength of Ethereum. That’s why, for me at least, it’s the greatest innovation in the space. Its full potential is also far from being reached so there is still significant scope for it to grow and develop further.
“Cryptocurrencies represent an entirely new asset class, which comprises a multitude of multifunctional digital assets with distinctly different benefits. Whether as an alternative means of storing value (Bitcoin), as fuel for a decentralized computer (Ethereum), as reward mechanisms for distributed storage (Ambrosus) or as a representation of real assets in digital form (DigixDAO), they remove significant amounts of friction from the global financial markets. Simultaneously, cryptocurrencies offer an opportunity to have a truly safe-haven asset class, which, while definitely not protected from manipulation, is at the very least not controlled by any one particular nation-state or entity, thereby giving them a unique position.
“Firstly, I dare say there is not an ounce more trust in traditional financial institutions today as there was 10 years ago. We are on the brink of another major financial crisis and possibly a bigger geopolitical cataclysm, and thus the core value proposition of Bitcoin as a censorship-resistant and truly limited digital asset that is not subject to control is as relevant as ever. I believe crypto and blockchain will continue to deliver on their core value and benefits, primarily because there has not been any loss of trust in blockchain and true cryptocurrencies by those members of the public who understand how this technology works.
“The only disappointed people are the speculators who got into crypto at the wrong time and are now irritated by their losses. In some ways, it feels like crypto is the Caribbean in the 17th century, a market full of riches and opportunities, and that there have been a number of opportunists and outright pirates trying to take advantage. Now, these are being replaced by more organized groups that are perceived as more ‘legitimate’. While, on one hand, I don’t welcome the fact that many of the newest crypto and blockchain projects primarily driven by lawyers and investment bankers rather than by the cypherpunks and geeks who originated the technology; on the other, this will bring about more public participation in blockchain in the coming 12 months.”