2016 brought many things like next year will do and years past have done. Vocal biased promoters of anything but bitcoin comprised of banks, corporations, consortiums, pessimists, haters, boat-missers, rage quitters, and just about anyone else that stood to make a dollar if they could get rid of bitcoin did anything they could to denounce bitcoin and its blockchain, declare the digital currency dead, and point everyone's attention to a new discovery that would be better.
The title of this article plays on Block as in blockchain but also means Block as in blocking universal blockchains such as bitcoin and Ethereum. Most of the block attempts were bitcoin directed.
Sale Pitch of The Block
One rogue rage quitter wanted everyone to believe that bitcoin was dead but made sure he cashed out before promoting a price crash.
IBM wanted everyone to believe that less security is better and only using their Cloudware would one find the solution they seek.
Accenture wanted everyone to believe that immutable records are bad since they want to delete things sometimes, a practice that ended their once hip-joined Arthur-Andersen.
R3 wanted everyone to believe that encrypted records providing the only security that has never been hacked was a bad thing and only their Corda solution would one find the solution they seek.
Ethereum and the DAO wanted everyone to believe a hard fork was a good thing presenting copious reasoning and drawn-out technical explanations to sugar coat the fact they just wanted to steal their money back.
The DAO wanted us to believe they were too big to fail.
Economists wanted us to believe that ignoring current market data and looking at hand-picked data that made bitcoin appear to be dying meant bitcoin was actually dead.
Yet, bitcoin didn't die, blockchain technology outside of bitcoins blockchain didn't do much of anything, and the only efforts that made any movement into the real-world involved bitcoin and its blockchain or universal public blockchains of which were based off the technology underpinning the bitcoin network. Markets continued to rise, even with new altcoins, and of course.... bitcoin didn't die.
Banks secretly declared an all-out war on bitcoin making every attempt to destroy bitcoin businesses while funding bank-owned efforts like Corda and R3, only to start exiting the effort by years end. Microsoft, Deloitte, Accenture, numerous banks, IBM, and many other large organizations threw eggs into baskets in seek of control over block-anythings while giving anything involved with bitcoin a cold shoulder.
IBM released cloudware and allot of folks looked, but nobody bought. R3 released Corda and although claimed none but positive reviews the actual reviews were less than favorable by blockchain experts. Many companies and banks released news and press releases stating tests in controlled environments while non-blockchain experts declared 2016 a year of blockchain experimenting while those blockchain experimenting years ago began releasing blockchain apps on bitcoins blockchain and on Ethereum.
- Overstock - Overstocks T0 platform not only came to fruition and went live, it was approved by the SEC and is currently in production.
- Purse.io - Purse went from a barely unknown offering in late 2015 to a booming force in the digital currency economy offering products from merchant and merchandise from Amazon.com for 15% to 40% under market.
- 21 Inc - 21's bitcoin API marketplace quietly entered much like Purse and T0 only to solidify into a strong and growing backbone of the blockchan of things.
- Openbazaare - While still growing, Openbizaare opened its doors without opening its doors as the P2P only marketplace exists solely of interlink computer software forming its networked marketplace. Naturally, bitcoin is the method of payment.
- ZCash - Zcash happened proving that with careful though, an expert team, a good business model, and a stellar support team. Atlcoins can still enter the market and be successfull.
- Honorable Mention - Microsoft - Ethereum and the DAO meltdown aside, Microsoft showed it's new direction of supporting the computing world and the internet-of-things with bringing us blockchain-as-a-service and efforts to put tools in the hands of developers for all blockchain apps rather than building more blockchains of which we have far too many.
- R3 CEV - After months and months of promises, hype of transaction that ended up being nothing more than closed controlled testing, and a code release than many just shrugged shoulders at, the only real news worthy occurrence was several of its own banks were departing. After review of the Corda code, many feel this is no surprise,
- IBM - IBM released cloud-based software taking out almost all of the parts that make a blockchain a blockchain, made silly statements indicating its management were rather clueless about the technology, and followed things up by telling people its cloud was highly secure and not completely secure.
- Accenture - of the top three bad things, of which all three made significant bonehead statements to media, Accenture may have made the most idiotic statement in saying that blockchain based financial transaction records (of which cannot be reversed mind you) needed the functionality of record deletion. An argument which was amplified in stupidity given the Arthur-Anderson fiasco with Enron in the 1990's of which ended in a split from AA and eventual name change from left-over Anderson to Accenture.
- DAO - What may have been the most hyped theory of 2016 that was "too-big-too-failed" not only failed but crashed and burned so hard its great-grandchildren may spontaneously combust upon birth.
- Ethereum - In one move under and decision without proper code review, planning, or apparent thought process, Ethereum took one of the most sought after functions of blockchain based systems and threw it in the trash damaging not only itself, but the technology as a whole by forcing a hard-fork against recommendations, history, its user-base, and common sense. It additionally spawned it's wicked twin, Ethereum Classic, who's sole existence may have dissipated had it not been for the civil war that boiled post-hard fork and resulted in the industry as a whole coming to the defense of ETC when it's big brother supports attack it from all directions.
- Runner-up - Circle- Circle did one of the coolest things for bitcoin in 2016, only to turn around and do one of the most controversial in the industry. We all glorified their remarkable achievement when Circle for iMessenger was released, only to shake our heads in disappointment when they spun around and stopped selling bitcoin, a model that many users used circle for exclusively leaving them feeling betrayed and hurting several smaller businesses who depended on Circle as a supplier.
Digital Currency Rising
2016 also saw altcoins, once not considered viable, raise in value and viability. Dash, Ether, Ether Classic, Litecoin. Ripple's XRP, and Z-Cash all fought for spots in the top 10 as values exceeded $1 and ZCash was valued higher than Bitcoin at one point shortly after its release.
Bitcoin steadily rose in value throughout 2016 and once again, for the third year in a row, bitcoin outperformed both Gold and the US dollar. In fact bitcoin once again outperformed every single other currency in the world.
In addition to new value highs bitcoin's blockchain became the only real highlight for blockchain technology as Overstock's T0 and other offerings entered the real-world running on the bitcoin blockchain showing that despite all of the contrary efforts and declarations of bitcoins death, Bitcoin is undoubtedly not dead.
Most bitcoin companies, experts, and open blockchain efforts supporting tokens remained relatively quiet during the media slam and blockchain buzzword blast that took an identifiable technology called blockchain and diluted the term reducing it to a mere buzzword of little credential.
When blockchain looked positive, bitcoin was forgotten, when blockchain looked bad, bitcoin was blamed, yet, slowly and with steadiness, bitcoin continued to rise. Despite the efforts of commercial entities, rage quitters, coin haters, over-controlling regulators, the mainstream media, and various other bitcoin and "public-blockchain" bashers ... 2016 undoubtedly ended up the year of the coin and not of the block.