This post is part of CoinDesk’s 2019 Year in Review, a collection of 100 op-eds, interviews and takes on the state of blockchain and the world. Trent Larson is a software developer in the blockchain industry. These opinions are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of his employer or family. (However, there are many humans who do share these opinions.)
2019 was the year of The Patient Builder and The Persistent Bully.
After the exuberance of 2017 with bitcoins selling for nearly $20,000, businesses and ICOs came out of the woodwork in 2018, playing on every kind of emotion, and most of these died of natural causes: those with bad plans couldn’t sustain, and those with bad intent exploited anyone with a get-rich-quick mindset. We learned lessons from the good, the bad and the ugly.
2019 continued the crypto winter, and that brought initiatives from The Patient Builders for the new monetary infrastructure – and for the foundation of all our digital lives. Central authority is getting the black eye it deserves, where large organizations are tremendously efficient, but data and identity theft exposes inherent vulnerabilities in those systems. We’re shifting security and power toward the edges of the network where it belongs (with the people).
There are some foundational technologies that are maturing (for example, zero-knowledge proofs, the lightning network, and formally verifiable security and processes). But, even though I started as a developer, I’m most excited about seeing the real world benefits of bitcoin’s tech: digital securities trading, blockchain-enabled supply-chain adoption, and utility bills being paid. Governments are seeing use-cases as well: blockchain-based voting is expanding, widespread land records have been recorded, and companies are even paying taxes in bitcoin.
This maturing process is prompting better security and practices across all industries, as shown by SIM hacks that will force cell providers to harden their procedures.