2021 is shaping up to be a momentous year for Bitcoin as the price hurtles toward $40,000 — more than double its 2017 all-time high. As HODLers rejoice and naysayers are left in disbelief, it’s important to note that a lot has changed in the world since 2017, making this bull run infinitely disparate from the previous one.
Global pandemic and political mayhem aside, many other things have changed in the last few years, even in the microcosm of Bitcoin. In short:
- Bitcoin, not shitcoins
- Accumulation, not trading
- Institutions, not consumers
Bitcoin, Not Shitcoins
In 2017, bitcoin was like a gateway drug for all of crypto. People weren’t necessarily looking at bitcoin as a long-term investment. They were using bitcoin to trade altcoins and get into ICOs — gambling away fortunes in hopes of getting filthy rich.
2017 was the first time that the mainstream public had any sort of exposure to crypto assets and when it happened, it was like the Wild West. Regulation was near zero and anybody, anywhere who had some money could spin up a token and list it on an exchange. Consumer protections were nonexistent and suddenly, everybody was an expert on evaluating early-stage, blockchain-based “investments.”
This led to the ICO craze where everyone from your Uber driver to seasoned Silicon Valley investors became blinded by the hype and got burned on fundamentally unsound investments. To my chagrin, this is likely how the majority of nocoiners today remember bitcoin and crypto. This New York Times article is the epitome of 2017 crypto-mania:
A lot of the hype and money to be made in 2017 was outside of bitcoin, so capital flowed from fiat into bitcoin and then into pretty much every other cryptocurrency. From there, it essentially went to shit, as the creators of the tokens/early investors took everyone’s money by dumping their bags. (Reminder: Satoshi has never sold any bitcoin.) In fact, within the first half of 2018, over…