On October 31, 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto proposed “a system for electronic transactions without relying on trust.” Yet, it can be fairly argued that trust, or a lack thereof, has been at the heart of the troubles in the bitcoin ecosystem since that day. While the technology has been and continues to be robust, the failure of a few individuals to meet their fiduciary or legal obligations has maligned bitcoin’s image and damaged its relationships with consumers.
It’s unfortunate but true that while entrepreneurs and venture capitalists have been focused on the technology, the media and therefore the public has been focused on the bad actors building criminal or negligent enterprises on top of that same technology. We’ve all see the headlines:
“The Inside Story of Mt. Gox, Bitcoin’s $460 million disaster” (Wired, March 3, 2014); “Texas Man Charged with Running Bitcoin Ponzi Scheme” (Wall Street Journal, November 6, 2014); “Ross Ulbricht Convicted of Running Silk Road as Dread Pirate Roberts” (Bloomberg, February 4, 2015); “2 Former Federal Agents Charged with Stealing Bitcoin during Silk Road Probe” (CNN.com, March 30, 2015); “Board Member Olivier Janssens Leaking Damning Facts about Bitcoin Foundation” (CoinTelegraph, April 5, 2015).
Headlines with words like “disaster,” “ponzi,” “pirate,” “stealing” and “damning” don’t particularly make bitcoin something you want to introduce to your mother.