The man behind the sign steps into the light to reveal his motives. In a year beset by savage infighting, Bitcoin Sign Guy took a stand, with a small action that not only broke the internet, but raised the spirits of a beleaguered bitcoin community then ravaged by a years-long intellectual war. Were we all Satoshi? Maybe not in 2017. But, we were all “Bitcoin Sign Guy.”
“Bitcoin is a fraud.” Four small words ignited a maelstrom when JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon took the stage at a conference in September. The blockchain world was never quite the same again. In response, bitcoin became the talk of Wall Street, and in that dialogue a beast was unleashed that maybe … just maybe … took bitcoin out of obscurity, to its new peaks above $10,000.
This Year in Review article look at some of the major regulatory developments from 2017.
It’s good to be Charlie. After years of working at the first “Bitcoin Unicorn,” Lee stepped out on his own in 2017 to take up arms against those who would delay bitcoin technical development. His weapon? The cryptocurrency network: litecoin. With the network – once languishing, now revitalized – Lee pulled no punches, becoming the opinionated voice of reason in a market that’s known for its insanity.
Was 2017 too long-term focused? Entrepreneur Tom Klein believes quick wins are what’s needed to bootstrap corporate blockchains in 2018.
If crypto assets really are the “Craziest Bubble Ever,” then Naval Ravikant is the movement’s elder statesman. The founder of AngelList, Ravikant didn’t talk much about startups in 2017, instead preaching the gospel of the ICO on Twitter in 140-character bursts that were part roadmap and part prophecy for a burgeoning industry. In the process, he helped open doors for a new wave of innovative cryptocurrency projects, giving a vital boost to an industry that had all but been locked out of Silicon Valley following bitcoin’s 2015 correction.
Part sheriff? Part outlaw? Either way, Joe Lubin appears right at home in the “Wild West” of cryptocurrencies. The leader of a company that’s part ethereum project incubator, part change-the-world commune, Lubin showed no shortage of influence in 2017, launching some of the first successful ethereum tokens and winning over countless enterprises to the platform. If Vitalik envisioned the new world, Joe Lubin just might be colonizing it.
Call it the biggest short in history. China took plenty of actions against cryptocurrencies in 2017, banning ICOs, shutting down domestic exchanges and all but taking a match to what was once one of the industry’s largest and most thriving ecosystems. But if China is setting a course apart from the world, Yao Qian may be its biggest asset. The man in charge of rethinking bitcoin on behalf of the world’s largest state isn’t just empowered, he seems to know crypto inside and out.
Speak softly and carry a big SegWit? If bitcoin saw its biggest and most controversial change this summer, the evolution can all be traced back to one developer. Still, the founder of the controversial startup Blockstream and the network’s most prodigious coder, Pieter Wuille, is a bit of a mystery. In an industry with no shortage of egos and bluster, though, Wuille is a rarity, choosing to let his code do the talking for him.
China may have moved to ban crypto activities in 2017, but that doesn’t mean the country won’t be a major player in the year ahead.