Exactly ten years ago–on October 31, 2008–Satoshi Nakamoto published the first Bitcoin whitepaper, which launched the cryptocurrency revolution. Nobody actually knows who Satoshi is (they used a pseudonym), but the impact of the Bitcoin idea has been transformational. Ten years later, let’s take a look at what’s been happening this past month in the cryptocurrency world.
No Financial Institution Left Behind
- Institutional investment has been pouring into cryptocurrency as Bitcoin price volatility stabilizes. This applies to the highest levels of the investment world, where crypto hedge fund launches are set to comprise 20% of all types of hedge fund launches this year, a new report this month suggests.
- Big financial firms jumping on board the crypto train this month include Fidelity (which launched Fidelity Digital Assets), Goldman Sachs (which invested millions in a crypto custody firm), and TD Ameritrade (which invested in a new cryptocurrency exchange). At the same time, top universities that have been reported this month to be investing in major crypto funds include Yale, Harvard, Stanford, MIT, and others.
Coinbase Makes Big Moves, Card Companies Play Catch-Up
- Coinbase (with Circle) has launched a new stablecoin called the USD Coin (USDC) at the same time as Tether (USDT), a top competitor, falters. New York has also granted permission for the leading cryptocurrency exchange to offer crypto custody services. On top of all that, Coinbase finished a funding round this month that valued the company at $8 billion.
- Card payment companies like Visa and Mastercard have a lot to lose if alternative methods of payment, like cryptocurrency, continue to grow. Though Visa’s CEO this month stated that cryptocurrencies were “certainly” not a threat, the company simultaneously announced a new blockchain-based digital identity system. Mastercard, not to be outdone, received a patent for a new partitioned, multi-currency blockchain.
Disrupting Giant Industries
- Many industries have a lot to gain by adopting blockchain technology. High-tech sectors like the semiconductor industry are extremely bullish about blockchain adoption. Even video game publishers, creating the Blockchain Game Alliance this month, anticipate their industry to be completely changed by distributed ledger technology (DLT). This is currently a double-edged sword for the industry, though, as hackers are now targeting gamers with cryptojacking malware.
- Ten years on, Bitcoin continues to evolve. IBM, having jumped enthusiastically into the blockchain market, has found new ways to improve Bitcoin’s proof-of-work (PoW) process. A VP of the Fed said on October 2 that cryptocurrency could help solve a 50-year-old economics problem called the Triffin Dilemma, a problem that occurs when a national fiat currency is used as the world’s reserve. Altcoins, currencies spawned by Bitcoin, continue to develop as well. One of the biggest movers, Zcash, went live with its ‘Sapling’ network hard fork in late October.