On October 31st, 2008, a subscriber to an obscure cryptography mailing list going by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto published a link to a whitepaper titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.” Within a year, the peer-to-peer payment system outlined on that whitepaper had become functioning software. Less than a year after that, the first use of bitcoin for a real-world transaction — two Papa John’s pizzas traded for 10,000 BTC — had taken place. And then, all hell broke loose.
It’s not overstating the facts to say that the publication of the bitcoin whitepaper changed the world. Serious financial experts who once openly mocked the very concept of bitcoin as little more than a “magic internet money” scam now manage billion-dollar portfolios of cryptocurrencies. Entire industries are built around blockchain technology, the very same system outlined by Satoshi Nakamoto’s whitepaper. Countries like China, once openly hostile to the very concept of cryptocurrency and blockchain, are now openly embracing it at the highest levels of government.
In honor of bitcoin’s 11th birthday, we’re taking a look at 11 times that the mainstream financial press prematurely attempted to dance on bitcoin’s grave.
1. “I wasn’t going to make a post bashing Bitcoin because their FAQ clearly states that its value only stems from the fact that merchants are willing to accept it. Unfortunately, this hasn’t stopped people from pushing it as the currency of the future, so regretfully, I feel compelled to post why this is not so.” – ‘Why Bitcoin Can’t Be A Currency,’ The Underground Economist, 2010
2. “True, Bitcoin does still offer anonymity: but then so do copper sheets to cowrie shells via butter, salt, gold, silver and even pieces of paper with Dead Presidents on them. It’s difficult to see what the currency has going for it.” – ‘So, That’s the End of Bitcoin Then,’ Forbes, 2011
3. “Bitcoin At the height of its popularity, Bitcoin was trumpeted as a viable alternative currency for the internet age, a monetary system engineered to prevent theft, gaming, and criminalization. Then came the malware, the black market, the legal ambiguities and The Man. Today, you can’t even use it to buy Facebook stock.” – ‘Wired, Tired, Expired for 2012: From Stellar to Suck,’ Wired, 2012
4. “I predict that Bitcoin will trade for under $10 a share by the first half of 2014, single digit pricing reflecting its option value as a pure commodity play. Miners/speculators will be best served to acknowledge the meltdown has begun, act quickly and take fleeting profit off the table.” – ‘Bitcoin Will Crash To $10 By Mid-2014,’ Business Insider, 2013
5. “To the extent using Bitcoin has any benefits now — convenience, cost-efficiency, putative anonymity — it’s because authorities haven’t been taking it very seriously. As officialdom becomes more assertive, Bitcoin will become more difficult and expensive to use, and less anonymous.” – ‘Bitcoin Is Still Doomed,’ Bloomberg, 2013
6. “But Bitcoin isn’t a currency. It’s a Ponzi scheme for redistributing wealth from one libertarian to another. At least that’s all it is right now. One day it could be more. Venture capitalists, for their part, are quick to point out that it’s really a protocol, like the early internet, and its underlying technology could still be revolutionary. What are they supposed to say, though, when they’ve bet hundreds of millions of dollars on it?” – ‘Bitcoin Revealed,’ The Washington Post, 2014
7. “The whole thing is a pump and dump,” Robinson said. “There is no reason for bitcoin to be worth $215 or $1,000, none whatsoever. Can the price fall lower? Of course it can. All commodities, even pretend commodities like bitcoin have a floor and a ceiling – except bitcoin doesn’t. There is no floor, it’s zero, and there is no ceiling, the sky’s the limit.” – ‘Bitcoin Is Dying And Will Be Remembered Like Pogs,’ International Business Times, 2015
8. “Not long ago, venture capitalists were talking about how Bitcoin was going to transform the global currency system and render governments powerless to police monetary transactions. Now the cryptocurrency is fighting for survival. … Bitcoin did have great potential, but it is damaged beyond repair.” – ‘R.I.P., Bitcoin. It’s Time To Move On,’ The Washington Post, 2016
9. “It’s got this mystique about it, because it’s some fancy technological thing that nobody really understands. There’s been no demonstration yet that it actually is helpful in conducting economic transactions. There’s no anchor for its value. You know, unlike pieces of paper with dead presidents on them, those are anchored by the fact that you can use them to pay taxes. There’s no anchor for bitcoin.” – ‘A Nobel Prize-Winning Economist Says Bitcoin Is A More Obvious Bubble Than Housing Was,’ Business Insider, 2017
10. “The failure of cryptocurrencies reveals that the attempt to do away with central authority and replacing it with self-governing and decentralized technology is nothing more than a pipedream.” – ‘Cryptocurrencies Have Failed, And Blockchain Still Has Yet To Be Proven Useful,’ Forbes, 2018
11. “Blockchain and Bitcoin were, of course, initially supposed to allow individuals to send each other cash without any state or company standing in their way. But that dream is now effectively dead, and blockchain is now fully into its boring phase. The latest and most telling evidence of this arrived this morning, when JPMorgan (JPM) said it had developed and tested a prototype of a digital coin.” – ‘JPMorgan Just Killed the Bitcoin Dream,’ Barron’s, 2019