There has been no shortage of people and institutions that woefully underestimated the potential of cryptocurrency.
Among the ranks of once-were Bitcoin naysayers is Wired, which destroyed the private key to a Bitcoin (BTC) wallet holding 13.34623579 BTC back in 2013 in order to make the point the cryptocurrency was nothing more than an “abstraction.” The Bitcoin in the inaccessible address is now worth $761,000.
Author Robert McMillan, who now is a reporter with the Wall Street Journal, set up a Butterfly Labs Bitcoin mining rig in the corner of his office at Wired to see what all the fuss was about. And at the conclusion of his little experiment, he was far from impressed.
“The world’s most popular digital currency really is nothing more than an abstraction,” he wrote. The journalist deliberated on what to do with the Bitcoin at the time, initially considering donating them to charity.
“But in the end, the answer was obvious,” he wrote, adding, “We’re destroying the private key used by our Bitcoin wallet.”
“That leaves our growing pile of Bitcoin lucre locked away in a digital vault for all eternity — or at least until someone cracks the SHA-256 encryption that secures it.”
At the time, the Butterfly Labs ASIC was churning out an average of 2 BTC every 10 days. Wired noted in the article that 2 BTC was worth about $220 at the time. Now, they’d be worth about $57,000 each, or $112,000 for the pair — an increase of around 51,000%.
In 2013, it took an average of 13 hours to mine 1 BTC using an ordinary PC. By 2014, that time had grown to 23 days. In 2021, it would take 10 years to mine 1 BTC, according to the New York Times.
Even back in 2013, however, Bitcoin mining difficulty had been increasing exponentially. McMillan complained that it had become about 10 million times harder to win the Bitcoin mining “lottery” since 2009.
Reddit user u/leMartinx highlighted the article in a post on Wednesday, writing that the whole debacle shows “how we have come a long way from 2013.” But many other users weren’t so forgiving, such as u/Cappy2020, who commented, “Serves them right for being so arrogant,” adding, “Even if you thought Bitcoin was just ‘daydreaming,’ at least hold onto it in the off chance that you could, maybe, be wrong.”
Meanwhile, u/BakedPotato840 wrote:
“It’s not surprising to find posts from the past to have this opinion on Bitcoin. The real ones who deserve criticism are the people who still have these opinions today.”