More than a decade ago, the notion of digital items, which are completely unique and not open to replication of any kind, started to gain traction. These items came from massively multiplayer video games where they represented unique armor, weapons, spells and other things that provided the players with something both useful and prestigious.
These two factors made it immediately a sought after commodity. In the history of the world, these factors always meant that people are more and more willing and ready to pay fiat currency for these. Lineage was one of the first examples of this trend that was taking South Korea by storm in the early 2000s. This was only the tip of the iceberg that would later become a video gaming and esports industry worth more than the music and movie industry combined.
However, aside from the potential for its particular industry, the case of South Korea’s craze showed that a new age was coming – a time where purchasing and selling virtual goods could become a viable business. On the back of this trend, the entire set of new ideas came about and between them, bitcoin was also formed as a phenomenon. Now, 10 years after it started working in January 2009, the revolution that it brought about is only starting to truly change the world.
The Real of Virtual Good Possibilities
Many of the early adopters of bitcoin became aware of the digital currency a year or two after its launch. It was back around 2011 that many business leaders, especially those who were open to new technology from a range of fields, began taking notice. Unlike digital goods from a video game, bitcoin provided the value of money in the virtual domain that was, in theory, easily exchangeable for any other type of valuable item. In short, bitcoin was and worked as regular currency but also provided its owners and users with many additional benefits and advantages.
The process behind the network as envisioned and set up by Satoshi Nakamoto was easily comprehensible after a single initial explanation: the use of miners to support the network, followed by digital wallets for their use. Aside from these most basic of elements, there was not much else. The network was decentralized and the token price was and remains regulated only by the market motions. But, there was also the factor of growing adoption and the fact that more and more individuals began hearing about bitcoin.
This brought the rise in the price that was a lot faster than anyone could have anticipated after the network and the world began 2012 and with it 2013. Here, the first major rise in prices got the world’s attention. However, not far from there lay the first major obstacle that would allow the naysayers to state that the bitcoin phenomena is doomed. The obstacle was Mt. Gox and its crash made the price plummet and many to become certain that they will never again hear about bitcoin in any relevant manner. Bitcoin, on the other hand, had drastically different plans for its future.
The Fall and the Rise
Bitcoin’s resilience was the main takeaway after the epic failure of the Mt. Gox exchange. The price did drop but the cryptocurrency went on to be exchanged on other digital services. For some, this was the main showcase of the investor stupidity at that point – with the previous crash, why would anyone give bitcoin a second chance? For these individuals or even companies, bitcoin was Enron at that point and it was irrevocably lost to any sensible investor. Yet, the resilience of the cryptocurrency showed once more that it is unlike any other major financial phenomena in history, including the tulip mania of the Dutch golden age (an often referred historical market bust that is constantly associated with bitcoin).
In this case, the potential of digital currencies, in general, was so big that a huge instance of theft was not able to conceive the users that they cannot go on making new ways to store, transact and move their money. At the same time, many failed to notice that the 2008/09 financial crisis provided many with strong doubts about the governments or regular banking sector.
After the resurgence of bitcoin in the wake of Mt. Gox, many businesses also started to notice the same factor and some in these organization began seriously considering the cryptocurrency possibilities. But even more importantly, there were whole parts of the globe which stood to profit from the use of cryptocurrencies.
Emerging and Underdeveloped Markets
In many places around the world, people do not trust the banks or have little to no access to them. In these places, the idea of a cryptocurrency quickly became very popular because it allowed them to get the services they always lacked. This could all happen for them without anything aside from a digital device and access to the internet. Many came flocking to this amazing opportunity. For the first time in history, the notion of fiat currency was updated and the same was done through a non-national and decentralized entity.
This process is so important to the future of humanity that there is no way anyone could downplay it, especially when it comes not to the western or Chinese investors who are hedging their portfolios, but ordinary people in poor nations that simply want a better life for them and their families. For them, the fact that bitcoin and other digital currencies are a game-changer mean something completely different and very much more profound than for those who want to use it for a quick buck.
Bitcoin has a shared long-term vision for its future and it is the economic emancipation of the world. It does not aim to kill-off fiat currencies, but to provide a possibility for anyone, including entrepreneurs who will find a way to use it and thus drive this new form of virtual economy. It needs to be monitored and its users need to be aware of any possible setbacks it provides, which it does not lack. However, with a strong community that is willing to self-regulate, the potential for its growth and usefulness is only limited by the imagination.
In the decade of its existence, bitcoin and its users had their huge shares of ups and downs, but there is a tangible certainty that the bitcoin revolution is just beginning. Their effects will include many more crisis and loss of funds but ultimately can lead to a more democratic global digital currency that would allow for a better world or at least one with more opportunities for anyone, including the rich and the poor.