Wednesday marked the nine-year anniversary of the first Bitcoin transaction.
Back in 2010, Laszlo Hanyecz, aka ‘Bitcoin Pizza Guy’, bought two Papa John’s pizzas (worth $30) for 10,000 BTC. At the time, that seemed like a bargain, given Bitcoin’s low value. However, fast forward to the present day and one BTC is worth about $8,000. So, approximately $80 million for some posh cheese on toast. Ouch!
And thus Bitcoin Pizza Day was born. The crypto space has come a long way in the last nine years, but is still some way from crossing over to the payments mainstream, according to FinTech heavyweight Chris Skinner, Chair of the European networking forum The Financial Services Club and Nordic Finance Innovation.
In a recent blog post, he notes that there have been a number of reboots (forks) of Bitcoin and Ether since their inception, and this “demonstrates the experimental nature of where we are today and why cryptocurrencies are not ready for prime time yet”.
The future could well be stablecoins, he argues. “We have IBM developing stablecoins, tied to the US dollar, Facebook about to launch one…In fact, some claim the marketplace is already overloaded. Nevertheless, it does make sense to have a digital currency backed by real assets. Whether it be US dollars, gold, property or any other asset, true asset-backed stablecoin currencies should win over currencies backed by nothing.”
There’s little behind Bitcoin except the promise of a global currency without government, “and even that’s been pooped. China has successfully banned Bitcoin as a currency, Bitcoin trading, ICOs, and is now moving on to banning Bitcoin mining,” Skinner concludes.
‘One of the greatest technological advances that humanity has ever seen’
However, for every sceptic, there’s a fan boy or girl claiming that crypto will revolutionise the payments world. By 2022, people will routinely use Bitcoin in everyday transactions such as buying coffee at Starbucks, reckons venture capitalist Tim Draper.
In a recent podcast interview on NBC Bay Area’s “Sand Hill Road,” he said: “Bitcoin is one of the greatest technological advances that humanity has ever seen and it can make a bigger change in society than any of us ever imagined.”
He added: “I think when you go to Starbucks to buy a cup of coffee, and you try to pay with dollars, they will laugh at you because you are not using Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency…It will be like the old lady paying out with pennies.”
But if, as predicted by Draper, a single Bitcoin will be worth $250,000, how can it ever hope to cross over to the mainstream?
“Is that a problem?” he responded. “That’s a temporary problem. There is a market for Bitcoin right now. People are buying and selling it and they are buying and selling things and services with it. As it spreads, it will go up in value. And it is spreading.”
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