It is easy to forget that Bitcoin is only ten years old.
A lot has happened over the past decade. In just ten years, the dream of a small group of theorists, forward-thinking cryptographers, and financial experts turned into one of the most important financial innovations of our time.
This took place very quickly for several reasons.
First, Bitcoin filled a need. Steve Jobs built Apple into the giant it is today due in large part to his ability to forecast the needs of consumers. He literally knew what people wanted before they knew it themselves. He used this skill to launch a variety of products, each of which made Apple a fortune. Products like the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch are the result of his near clairvoyant ability to meet consumer demands.
Bitcoin was created out of a similar need and by similarly forward-thinking individuals. It potentially solves a much larger problem within society — as it carries the possibility of transforming how the world uses currency. It stands to eradicate the instability and insecurity problems running rampant through fiat money.
Secondly, Bitcoin is simply keeping up with the current pace of technology. Projects that would have taken years to come to fruition 50 years ago now take months. Technology, especially in the financial and payment space, moves very rapidly these days — and Bitcoin is no exception.
Yet, the truth is that, even with a clear need and the rapid rate of technology movement, Bitcoin has a long way to go. It is still finding its place in the world, working out kinks, and exploring the most optimal directions to take.
Issues still to tackle
One of the major issues the Bitcoin community is experiencing at the moment is the ongoing struggle with how to make ends meet while working on Bitcoin.
Bitcoin needs creative and progressive minds dedicating themselves to expanding technology and financial propositions of the network.
A few people made a lot of money early on by just buying and holding. Others made a fortune (and continue to do so) through more nefarious means — illegitimate initial coin offerings (ICOs), fraudulent trading, and hacking. Opportunities for hard-working and respectable developers to expand their ideas and earn an income doing so on the Bitcoin network remain elusive.
Ways to earn a living off of Bitcoin as an independent developer certainly exist. However, it is a rough road, and the paths available in other industries simply do not exist yet for Bitcoin. They turn instead to other ways of making money as a way of simply remaining in crypto.
Developers who have established an appropriate level of trust and respect throughout the community can always take advantage of the increasing popularity of donation-based income sources.
Platforms like Patreon allow creative types to solicit funds toward work on projects they feel will make the world a better place. It is possible to go this route with cryptocurrency projects. Some might take issue asking for fiat money donations while working on a crypto project — but it remains an option.
There is always a need for storage wallets, particularly in this time of emphasis on private keys and security. As more people invest in crypto and concurrently lose faith in the possibility of exchanges acting in the best interest of investors, wallets are becoming a greater need.
Finally, one could always launch an exchange. With the overall lack of regulation throughout crypto, this is a fairly easy way to be involved in crypt while, making money off of other people’s investments.
None of the options mentioned above involve actual work on the Bitcoin network. Yet, this is what the network needs — but it is one piece that is lacking in this new platform, regardless of how fast it has grown in its first ten years of existence.
One thing that concerns me about the Bitcoin development model is that there are no strong incentives for independent individuals to work on Bitcoin.
Unless you're a celeb like @aantonop, nobody is going to send you money to fix bugs, find vulnerabilities, or whatever.
— Brenden (@brndnmtthws) January 11, 2019
Open source software is always a challenging prospect for the first few years.
Furthermore, many developers are engaged in an ongoing philosophical debate between ideology and livelihood. Projects that developers have a strong desire to work on within Bitcoin — projects with the potential to expand, grow, and legitimize the network — offer much less monetization potential than other projects (the kind that could make them quick money, fiat or otherwise).The democratization of the Bitcoin network is one of the top requirements for its continued expansion as both a digital currency and a business structure. Click To Tweet
Giving IT professionals, who have the opportunity to make a lot more money and actually support themselves and their families in other industries, that same opportunity within Bitcoin is critical.
The expansion of creative hopes and dreams is not only good for the network, in theory, but it will also be instrumental in increasing the overall value proposition of Bitcoin.
Does Bitcoin need a more professional development system and a way for true devotees to survive while working on the network? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
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