2020 was especially unforgettable for Bitcoin. To commemorate our readers this year, we asked our network of contributors to reflect on the pricing, technological development, community growth and more of Bitcoin in 2020, and to think about what all of this could mean in 2021. These authors responded with a collection of thoughtful and thought-provoking articles. Click here to read all the stories from our series at the end of 2020.
For most people, 2020 was one of the most challenging years in recent history. The whole world has been rocked by the COVID-19 epidemic (or fraud if you are prone to it).
The corporate press covered the public with death stories and full intensive care units. In response to COVID-19, governments around the world have closed businesses and schools, plunging the economy into recession and mass unemployment. Even after eleven months in this crisis, many jurisdictions are still locked. And if that wasn’t enough, political tensions are at an all-time high, culminating in a presidential election that has drawn sharp allegations of electoral fraud. No matter who you are, there is a reason not to like all year round.
Except if you are a bitcoiner.
For Bitcoiner, 2020 was another win in a long line of victories as we move from the novelty project to the future global reserve currency. Every aspect of the Bitcoin ecosystem got stronger this year. the code, the community, and the price. For someone who was already optimistic at the beginning of 2020, it is difficult not to be more optimistic about the outlook for 2021.
Bitcoin technical advancement in 2020
From a technical point of view, thanks to the merger of Taproot into the Bitcoin Core codebase in October of this year, 2020 has made the greatest advance since Segregated Witness was launched in 2017.
While it hasn’t been deployed on the network yet and we haven’t seen any real world applications, the promise that Taproot delivers is enormous. Taproot enables more meaningful scripting and the aggregation of keys and signatures, thus improving anonymity and functionality in the chain. At the same time, transactions become easier (see #TaprootWeek on Twitter to find out more from @benthecarman). As with SegWit, it can take a couple of years for the nodes to be updated and wallets to take full advantage of these benefits, but the foundation has been laid.
We are also seeing exciting technical developments outside of the core code base. Although multi-signature has been a feature of Bitcoin for years, it has become easier and easier to use over the past year or two. Unchained Capital released its open source multisig coordinator for Caravan, so easy that even a drunk American HODL could use it to bet 1 BTC on the US presidential election with podcaster Peter McCormack.
More recently, the Specter and Nunchuk applications make Multisig simple and seamless.
The Lightning Network is also making further progress. Anyone who has used it in the past remembers the feeling that payments don’t find a way, but that becomes less and less common as the liquidity on the network increases.
Lightning Labs recently launched Lightning Pool, a no-depot, peer-to-peer marketplace where channels can be bought and sold to help make capital more efficient. Additionally, one of the most exciting Bitcoin products in years came in 2020 with the kind permission of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 list, Jack Mallers. Its new application, Strike Wallet, lets you seamlessly spend fiat to buy something over the Lightning network. This brings liquidity to the system without exposing you to risk or tax penalties.
The bitcoin class of 2020
If Bitcoin Twitter is any indication, the 2020 class is one of our strongest in recent years.
This can be partly attributed to a price hike, but instead of being diverted into a ton of shitcoins like many in the 2017 class (no offense to these people), many of these newcomers dived straight into the bitcoin rabbit hole. As someone dependent on Twitter and being on the app practically 24/7, it seems like there are dozens of new maximalist bitcoin accounts to follow every day. Some people might and maybe it is calling Bitcoin Twitter an echo chamber, but the reality is that our echo chamber is growing as the mainstream echo chamber is shrinking.
One reason 2020 newcomers “get it” so much faster than previous generations is because the bitcoin content creator ecosystem is stronger than ever.
In 2015 and 2016 I would wait weeks for a new episode of “Bitcoin Uncensored” with Bitcoin-free dry periods. Nowadays the content is so extensive that it is impossible to keep up. My podcast app has subscribed to the feeds of 37 different Bitcoin programs. This is not an exaggeration. And every few days someone like Robert Breedlove or Parker Lewis will publish an article with profound new insights.
We are even seeing Bitcoin content expand to the largest video platform on the internet – YouTube – which has traditionally been dominated by Shitcoin pumps and trading channels. One of the best results of 2020 was the Swan Signal channel as well as the 24/7 Bitcoin network Bitcoin TV. But it’s not the only one. Bitcoin Magazine has also stepped up its game, running “Bitcoin Happy Hour” every week, along with other independent video content creators like John Vallis and the guys at Simply Bitcoin.
Bitcoin price for 2020
The strongest indicator of Bitcoin’s health is of course its price. After all, it is based on NgU technology and the price is one thing that cannot be easily faked. BTC price started the year at around $ 7,200 (doesn’t that feel like ages ago?). As of this writing, the price is $ 19,131.
Bitcoin has now spent over $ 10,000 for more than 120 days, beating the previous record of 62 days from late 2017 to early 2018. This year is reflected more and more like 2016 when the price started at $ 430 and more than doubled over the course of the year to $ 960, ultimately setting the stage for the massive bull market in 2017. Will the stock market in 2021 to-flow model that tells us the bull markets will arrive about a year after the halving? We’ll find out in the next 12 months.
No matter how you cut it, 2020 has been a great year for bitcoiners. The quantity and quality of the content was overwhelming, our community grew by leaps and bounds, technical advances will bring us incredible new features and products, and to top it off, we’re facing another bull run.
Even if the COVID-19 lockdowns last until next year and we see more government policies hostile to individual freedom, I’m sure that 2021 will shine even brighter for Bitcoin.
This is a guest post by Vake Raj. The opinions expressed are solely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.