• In 2020, Obi Nwosu predicted that Bitcoin would face challenges during 2018-2023, but ultimately emerge successful.
• The Celsius bankruptcy in July 2020 was the first sign that the Bitcoin ecosystem was not healthy.
• Real Bitcoin is flourishing in the Global South and post-Soviet regions, where innovation is addressing the narrative that Bitcoin has no good use cases.
Bitcoin has been on a roller coaster ride since its inception in 2009. While the crypto asset class has seen its fair share of ups and downs, the year 2020 ushered in a period of extreme volatility – one that has changed the landscape of the crypto community forever.
The year began on a positive note, with Bitcoin’s price soaring to all-time highs in January. However, this optimism soon dissipated as the effects of the global pandemic began to take hold. As governments around the world scrambled to contain the virus, traditional markets plummeted and Bitcoin was no exception. By March, the asset had shed over 50% of its value and uncertainty dominated the crypto space.
Obi Nwosu, CEO of Fedi and a board member for ₿trust, had predicted this period of volatility. In 2020, he warned that Bitcoin would face attacks during the 2018 to 2023 period but would ultimately emerge successful by the end of it. As the bear market hit this year, it became clear that this was indeed a critical time for Bitcoin.
The snowball started in the heat of July with the Celsius bankruptcy, which was the first sign that the ecosystem we were building was not healthy. The fact that we were using a decentralized currency to mirror the centralized financial system did not match the vision for Bitcoin. This once again highlighted the existence of two alternate and diverging realities for Bitcoin: “real” Bitcoin, which is rising from the bottom up and focuses on the value Bitcoin can bring to the world, and “regulated” Bitcoin, which is focused on price and committed to regulatory systems and adoption through speculation.
In order to protect its users, Obi Nwosu sold Coinfloor in 2021. He realized that exchanges like theirs were too often dedicated to keeping their users trapped in regulated Bitcoin land. As we near the end of 2022, the negative effects of this have been painfully demonstrated by the collapse of FTX, the regulatory fallout and the losses incurred by so many innocent people.
Fortunately, there is a silver lining to the dark cloud. Real Bitcoin is flourishing in the Global South and post-Soviet regions, where innovation is addressing the narrative that Bitcoin has no good use cases. For instance, a new version of frontier towns is emerging, combining renewable energy, Bitcoin mining, internet connectivity and community custody. As Obi Nwosu has long suspected, real Bitcoin adoption can only come from the grassroots.
The Bitcoin community has weathered many storms since its inception and 2020 has been no different. Yet, despite the turbulence, Bitcoin has emerged from the ashes and is now stronger than ever. The lesson we can take away from this experience is that, while the future of Bitcoin is still unclear, its resilience is a testament to its potential.