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Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies under the eyes of CriptoNoticias

Key facts:
  • When CriptoNoticias began publishing, 6 years ago, bitcoin still did not reach 300 dollars.

  • Ethereum was just taking its first steps in 2015. There were no DeFi, ICOs and NFTs.

CriptoNoticias is celebrating its sixth birthday as a media outlet, after being founded on April 9, 2015. This long history in the ecosystem, educating and informing the Hispanic community, has allowed it to witness some of the most important milestones of the history of Bitcoin and the cryptocurrency market.

And is that When CriptoNoticias took its first steps as a digital newspaper, the crypto assets industry was very different from what we know today. The mining business was just taking its first steps in 2015, while the Bitcoin market was mostly person-to-person (P2P) and its adoption was limited by ignorance, the lack of regulations and the null presence of institutional capital.

A reality that today is far from the promising rise that the cryptocurrency market has had. To commemorate the last six years of CriptoNoticias as a company, we made an account of what the ecosystem was like at that time and how much it has transformed by 2021.

A Bitcoin-only territory vs. More varied and mature ecosystem

When CriptoNoticias began to trace its history as a company, Bitcoin did not occupy all the tabloids. The ecosystem was still very immature and there were no other projects that attracted attention, taking into account that the Ethereum network was about to be launched. As if that were not enough, the interest of companies and institutions was not in cryptocurrencies, but in the technologies behind them. The much-cited and researched “blockchain.”

In this sense, exchanges such as Nasdaq and government authorities did their own research to unravel where they could use “the new blockchain technology.” However, the craze for digital accounting books has evaporated over time, as it has been understood, little by little, that the true value of this new technology lies in its uses as a cryptocurrency or a means to transfer value.

Before, there was constant talk about the adoption of the blockchain concept in different business models, but not so much about bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. Source: CriptoNoticias.

The recognition was made gradually, while the ecosystem was populating with more and more cryptocurrency projects. The appearance of Monero, Zcash, EOS, Tron, Stellar and Ethereum as important exponents of the market, consolidated the industry of cryptographic assets that we know today. Likewise, new trading niches were also introduced, such as NFTs, decentralized finance (DeFI) and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO).

The appearance of the Ligthning Network, as well as side networks such as Liquid and RSK that have also optimized the operation of Bitcoin to introduce new possibilities to its market. As if that were not enough, since 2015 important advances in Bitcoin privacy have been reported with the use of mechanisms such as CoinJoin, wallets such as Wasabi and the recent Taproot protocol.

Market mostly P2P vs. Institutional market

One of the first articles published in CriptoNoticias reports that the cryptocurrency was close to reaching $ 300 for the first time. This news is far from the current reality of bitcoin for the last year, when it has had one of the most prolific bull rallies in its history and has exceeded the value of $ 60,000 per unit several times.

By the time CriptoNoticias was founded, it was a first that Bitcoin would hit $ 300. What sweet times!

The market capitalization of Bitcoin has also transformed in the last six years. While in 2015 the capitalization was around 5 billion dollars, currently it exceeds one trillion dollars. These figures show how much the Bitcoin market has grown in a period of six years, when initially the commercialization of the cryptocurrency occurred between friends, acquaintances and the occasional exchange as an intermediary.

The community, at that time, was small and worked mostly in person-to-person (P2P) schemes. Likewise, platforms such as Localbitcoins were references within and outside of Latin America for the commercialization of bitcoins. However, this landscape was progressively changing, and now Bitcoin has captured the interest of institutional investors.

Currently, the buying and selling of bitcoins is no longer an activity carried out solely by individuals. and accredited investors are also participating in its purchase. Big investments are becoming more and more regular, with names like Tesla, Microstrategy, and Square leading institutional investment in bitcoin.

Now the word “bitcoin” is on the lips of Elon Musk and users can buy Tesla cars with the cryptocurrency. Source: CriptoNoticias.

Likewise, users of the mother cryptocurrency now own not only a wide offering of exchanges, but also of publicly traded financial products, such as ETFs in Canada and ETNs in Germany.

Shadow of the Unknown vs. The shine of popularity

But among everything that we have highlighted in this article as changes that have occurred in the last six years, without a doubt one of the most violent transformations that the Bitcoin industry has had is to go from being an undervalued and ignored technology, to another widely known and accepted.

Although in 2015 Bitcoin was not a totally unknown word, it did not enjoy the popularity it has today.. The cryptocurrency began to generate media noise in 2017, when its price rose unexpectedly. However, before this event, adoption was largely focused on ‘blockchain technology’ without Bitcoin and few media outlets were dedicated to informing users about how to use these digital assets.

A big news of the moment was when 2,000 retail businesses in Japan adopted bitcoin as a payment method, at that time the Asian country was one of the most advanced in adopting cryptocurrencies.

Because it was a new and small market, there was not a wide offer for the use of Bitcoin either. For example, there were few wallet options and most were complex to use, as is the case with Electrum. This further complicated the adoption of bitcoin as a payment method and safeguard of value, although there were some first attempts to use the cryptocurrency on a large scale in Japan and Europe.

The reality of the Bitcoin market for 2021 is very different from then. Not only is there a huge offering of easy-to-use wallets and specialized interfaces for novice users, but also the name “Bitcoin” has become a benchmark of wealth and a safeguard of value.

The adoption of cryptocurrency as a payment method by companies such as Paypal, Visa and Tesla paves the way for bitcoin to become more and more a global currency. Likewise, some institutional investors have recommended its use, describing it as the new digital gold. A concept that speaks of the reputation of bitcoin as an alternative method of payment and a reliable monetary system.

Early stages of mining vs. Billionaire business

When CriptoNoticias began publishing its first articles in 2015, the first Bitcoin ASIC was only three years old. There was still mining with GPU cards, although companies like Bitmain and Canaan were gaining more and more ground among miners who wanted to work on the network.

At that time, the Antminer S5 + was on the market, which was a very popular miner in its time due to its low cost. Also at that time, the cooling of mining machines by oil immersion was beginning to be introduced, a method that has recently gained popularity due to its savings in electrical costs.

A characteristic of this period is that the mining market was small and exclusive, and companies like Bitmain sold these ASICs to individuals and even installed the machines at their customers’ homes. Similarly, one of the best-known mining pools in the market, BTC.com, was inaugurated at that time; whose presence suggested that the mining market was growing little by little.

We reported the birth of BTC.com, not knowing that it would become one of the most important pools in the Bitcoin market. Source: CriptoNoticias.

Today, the mining industry is no longer so “familiar”. The market is dominated by multi-billion dollar companies that operate pools and manufacture ASIC miners for everyone, such as Bitmain and MicroBT. In addition, larger and larger mining farms have grown over the years, which now have the financial muscle to buy thousands of ASIC machines in a single transaction.

One metric that shows how much mining has grown in the last six years is the hash rate. When in 2015 CriptoNoticias reported the highest record of the Bitcoin hash rate, it was about 700 PH / s. That is, even Bitcoin was in the age of petahash. Today, with increasingly powerful miners and large corporations following mining activities, the Bitcoin network records a hash rate of 200 EH / s. An increase of more than 20,000% in the Bitcoin hash rate.

A market without regulation vs. plans for an ultra-regulated ecosystem

By 2015, the cryptocurrency market was mostly unregulated. Bitcoin was misunderstood among regulatory authorities, while some governments prohibited its use. One of the most controversial regulations of the moment was the Bitlicense in the United States, a law that limited cryptocurrency businesses that made life in New York City and is still in use.

The bitlicensing has just been approved when CriptoNoticias was barely months after its launch. Source: CriptoNoticias.

Among the Spanish-speaking countries, Spain stands out for that year, a nation in which it was decreed that the purchase and sale of bitcoin would not be subject to the payment of VAT. This is still valid in the European country, although currently Spanish users of Bitcoin have to declare taxes for all their trading activities. Likewise, authorities have been discussing imposing a regulation to limit bitcoin advertising.

Beyond the Spanish territory, if we study the current cryptocurrency market we can see that the industry has been adapting to financial regulations to survive. Although not all crypto asset exchanges comply with strict regulations, it is true that the main exchange houses maintain KYC and anti-money laundering protocols in order to operate in the territories of the United States and the European Union.

In addition to this trend, it is also noteworthy that, with the popularization of bitcoin, in recent years financial authorities have reinforced their speech against the privacy of cryptocurrencies. For example, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recently put forward a draft law to regulate cryptocurrencies and impose strict regulations across the industry.

And it is that GAFI proposes that virtual asset service providers (exchanges, wallets and stablecoins) prohibit transactions to and from personal wallets, including those from person-to-person (P2P) platforms. As we have discussed in CriptoNoticias, if approved this could be a severe blow to the essence of Bitcoin and an incentive for the censorship of the market as we know it.

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