The Associations That Helped Make Bitcoin Valuable
As the value of the popular cryptocurrency variant tops $10,000 for the first time, here's a quick look at the associations and foundations that have helped give bitcoin its digital footing.
How big is bitcoin? It’s Big Bang Theory big.
The hugely popular sitcom this week has a plotline centered on the surging cryptocurrency. The episode, based on its trailer, has already managed to date itself.
“I can’t believe a single bitcoin is worth $5,000,” Howard Wolowitz states in the trailer for Thursday’s episode, as the gang remembers it mined some years earlier—and it is suddenly worth a lot of money.
In real life, a single bitcoin is currently worth more than $10,000 and is likely to surpass that valuation sometime this week. According to one estimate, the size of the overall market recently topped $300 billion.
The technology, famously, was created by an anonymous figure named Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009 (who is not the man featured in this Newsweek article), and has at times faced challenges and uncertainty due to its early “Wild West” reputation. The cryptocurrency still carries a bit of that air, but associations and foundations have done their part to make the ground a little less shaky. Among them:
The Bitcoin Foundation. Founded in September 2012, the group has gone through some ups and downs—including, notably, the 2014 arrest of a board member—but it has played a key role in helping to formalize and organize the currency around a single mission. The foundation has also helped develop a regulatory and organizational context around the cryptocurrency, which has at times run into trouble.
The Chamber of Digital Commerce. This group has become one of the notable advocacy voices for blockchain technologies, including bitcoin. Its driving mission? According to founder Perianne Boring, it’s to help ensure smart regulation of the industry. “I believe that the legislation that comes out of Washington will be echoed around the world,” she said when the chamber was founded in 2014.
The Bitcoin Association of Switzerland. Interestingly, bitcoin has generated high interest in certain geographic areas. Switzerland, a traditional stronghold of the financial industry, has also become a center of cryptocurrency activity, assisted by Switzerland’s Bitcoin Association, which represents a region that’s become known as Crypto Valley. One sign of the group’s fast growth? Earlier this year, it introduced Ernst & Young as a member.
Alas, not every organization with a bitcoin connection has survived to see it top the $10,000 mark. In 2015, the World Bitcoin Association, based in New York City, shut down, one of many cryptocurrency businesses or organizations that collapsed that year.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect bitcoin’s value topping $10,000 for the first time on Tuesday evening.