January began as any other year, but hot on the heels of Microsoft’s acceptance of bitcoin for its online products, which followed the previous year when several tech companies including Paypal begin rolling out support for the crypto currency.
The falling Ruble in Russia created a great deal of despair, which caused a great deal of the wealth in Russia to be squeezed into alternatives such as Bitcoin. This influx of wealth, combined with the constant downwards selling pressure from the stolen MtGox coins and miners, caused a slight but steady and dependable rise in price over the first three months of 2015, balancing out the negativity of 2014. The longer the price goes without a dip, the sturdier it is seen, and the greater the confidence the general public has in bitcoin, which creates a feedback loop. No bubbles are seen yet though and the price seems to be oblivious of any good news.
Around March, Microsoft and Dell, two major tech companies who accepted bitcoin, announced they are beginning beta testing of internal account settling in bitcoin. Larger insurance companies now offer insurance services in the event of lost coins. The larger tech companies begin advertising for cryptocurrency engineers, and a new class of programmer/accountant is emerging. News reports of tech companies offering part or all of employee’s salaries in bitcoin appear now and again.
In 2015, it increasingly becomes a question of ‘when’ and not ‘if’ major tech companies will accept bitcoin.
Tech journalism catches up with this shift in perception and articles begin speculating on the possibilities of what services crypto would allow for different websites, which creates demand from their consumers.
Google, whose digital wallet had been in perma-beta for the past few years, finally adds support for bitcoin, allowing people to send the crypto currency to people’s emails, making it much more user friendly. Multi-sig is used to keep people’s funds un-touchable, but Google analyses everyone’s transactions for ‘advertising purposes’. This does however offer interesting new services through Google, which runs its own internal record keeping of bitcoin and uses the blockchain for bulk payments. Micro payment options for sending small fees with email cuts down on spam dramatically, YouTube content blossoms with crowd-funding and tipping, but now almost every video has an annoying begging segment at the end where they ask you to donate bitcoin.
This kills the Patron.
Sooner or later some idiot puts his entire bitcoin savings on his google wallet and uses ‘password1234′ as his password. His account gets hacked and he loses all of his coins. He gets interviewed a lot about it. This story will happen during an otherwise slow news week and be on most newspapers’ page twos. Anyone in the media over the age of 40 will condemn and denounce bitcoin, and talk about it with an incredulous tone in their voice.
Paypal now has a ‘bitcoin wallet’ but doesn’t allow you to convert between currencies because of government regulational bullcrap. Coinbase has become larger and is now the quickest way to do international payments between its supported countries.
Valve announces they will begin allowing payments in bitcoin at the end of 2015, not only for buying games but for Workshop content. This incentivizes the modding community and it explodes with excitement over the possibilities. There are posts on Reddit about modders quitting their day jobs to make mods full time. Unfortunately, in typical valve style, it takes a further 2 years for it all to be fully implemented but they get there in the end somehow and it’s very awesome.†/r/gaming†starts a bitcoin-funded campaign for HL3 but it dissolves into bickering and drama amongst the users before fizzling out entirely.
Facebook makes noise about being interested in bitcoin, but is unsure of how to implement it in a meaningful way. They are asked about it in interviews, say positive things about it but not much more than that. Somehow this gets mis-translated and people mistakenly think Facebook is about to start charging fees to use the website, leading to thousands of stupid ‘I will leave Facebook if they charge for the service! Repost if you agree!!!!!’ messages.
Towards the end of the year, Apple finally builds an SDK for its NFC which opens it up to 3rd party developers. Combined with the fingerprint scanner it becomes the most secure mobile wallet on the planet. TouchID now includes support for retina scanning and saliva DNA analysis by holding the phone up to one’s eye and licking the bottom of the phone while pressing TouchID, all at once. This is all great until Apple mentions you’re only allowed to use bitcoin for iTunes purchases for the moment, and we have to wait a further year to use it for, well, pretty much anything that’s actually useful.
Looking past 2015, these are the general trends that will continue through into 2016, where the world becomes increasingly aware of the Halvening; when block rewards drop decreasing sell pressure. This likely generates the first speculative bubble since 2013 after the news has a story about a single mother becoming a bitcoinillionaire overnight.