The rise and fall of blockchain in China in the past ten years

Text: Lu Xiaoming

Production: Planet Daily Odaily

The blockchain industry has experienced ups and downs in 2019.

In the first half of the year, the industry entered the deep winter, and practitioners looked around blankly; in the second half of the year, the attention at the top level brought the blockchain back to the public view and injected energy into the industry.

Bitcoin exploded nearly 40% overnight. Blockchain concept stocks have risen and fallen. "Bitcoin" has become a hot search. Major brokerages have published research reports to interpret what is "blockchain." …

Behind this is the ten-year precipitation of practitioners' deep cultivation of the industry.

Blockchain technology was born ten years ago and ten years into China.

China is the soil that it has to mention during its development. Both the Bitcoin and Ethereum public chains have been carried forward by Chinese investments. Today, the mining machine giants, head exchanges that can board the Forbes and Hurun rich lists, the genius boys who have been sealed, and the hidden capital manipulators behind them all come from China.

On the B side of the story, the speculative characteristics of the blockchain are also mixed with many scams, pyramid schemes, and deceiving people, making the decade of the blockchain ups and downs, more glorious and strange than other technologies.

The birth of Bitcoin, the birth of blockchain

In 2008, the US subprime mortgage crisis broke out, and Wall Street investment banks fell down one after another.

On October 3, the Bush administration signed a $ 700 billion financial rescue plan.

Twenty-eight days later, on November 1, 2008, the "crypto punk" mail group published a paper entitled "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System", signed by Satoshi Nakamoto (Satoshi Nakamoto). Two months later, Satoshi Nakamoto released the first version of the open source Bitcoin client.

This is the birth of Bitcoin and the birth of blockchain.

The white paper became the "Bible" of the "Bitism" and the developer's document became the "Hammerby Code."

The "Bible" flew across the sea to China, and many financial and technology enthusiasts began to use their computers to try to mine Bitcoin.

At that time, Bitcoin was also known by some domestic people, but the approver was often ashamed to admit it, because Bitcoin was seen as a pyramid scheme.

In 2011, a teenager who worked as an analyst at a securities firm first encountered Bitcoin, upgraded the cloud service with Bitcoin, and bought a pair of luxury slippers on Taobao. He felt that the experience was as wonderful as flying a kite.

At the end of the year, he translated the Bitcoin white paper, giving the Bible the earliest Chinese version. In the same year, he also founded the first Bitcoin exchange community, Babbitt, with the newly met science fiction writer Chang Zhi (Liu Zhipeng).

He was Wu Jihan, later co-founder of Bitmain, the world's first mining machine manufacturer.

At that time, he was an evangelist of Bitcoin. Watch his words and read "The Beauty of Computing Power". You may still feel the purity of Bitcoin in him. Speaking of Babbitt's vision, he said that it was his responsibility to motivate him to "stand out" and explain the slightly sparse basic technical principles to the public.

A few years later, Wu Jihan was already the hegemon of the blockchain industry, and since then he has even been a generation of mine bullies. However, he rarely gives interviews to the media today, no matter how he portrays them, he is afraid of being vague.

The bitcoin industry has just begun, the son of mining and exchange is tomorrow

In 2013, the turning point for Bitcoin was ushered in.

In May, CCTV reported Bitcoin for the first time, and investors heard it. The price of the currency soared fourfold in November. The supply of mining machines is in short supply.

This year, Wu Jihan met Zanke Mission and founded Bitmain. Li Lin and Xu Mingxing established Huobi and OKCoin in May and October, respectively.

The Chinese have an absolute majority in the world of bitcoin trading and mining, probably from this year.

With the advent of the first Avalon mining machine, Bitcoin's computing power war has begun, and computer mining is ebb.

In the garage coffee, Li Xiaolai, Bao Erye, Lao Mao, Zhao Dong, Zhao Guofeng, Yi Lihua, Wu Gang, Prince Gong Gong and others talked about laughter here.

Later, VCs who actively embraced the blockchain in the "Blockchain Revolution" have also planted a tinder at this time.

Sequoia and Innovation Works invested in Bitmain. Dai Zhikang and Zhen Ge cast the angel of Huobi. In March of the following year, Sequoia cast into the Pre-A round. With the help of investor Mai Gang, Xu Mingxing received angel financing from Jiang Tao, Cai Wensheng, Pre-Angel founder Wang Lijie, and Lei Feng.com founder Lin Jun. Ceyuan Venture Capital, Mantu Capital, and Startup Workshop are also next. Turn into capital.

The initial appearance of the Bitcoin mining and exchange industry chain.

Subsequently, the digital currency industry of that year quickly fell into a trough.

This is the first bear market experienced by the trio, and probably the worst. In future stories, they may have become accustomed to the industry's cyclical ups and downs and become a pivotal person in the field of blockchain in the future.

These three "Huangpu Military Academy" also cultivated many big names today, such as Zhao Changpeng, the founder of Binance, and Yang Zuoxing, a Shenma mining machine …

Ethereum to raise funds in China, blockchain becomes a "pig on the wind"

Before 2013, there was only Bitcoin in the blockchain world. Until the Russian teenager Vitalik Buterin proposed to add a virtual machine on the bottom of Bitcoin, which is the smart contract as it is called today.

Vitalik was born in 1994 and is also a cryptocurrency enthusiast. He believes that what Bitcoin can do "is not limited to currency" and may be a "universal application platform".

The proposal to join the smart contract failed to be approved by the Bitcoin development team, and Vitalik decided to start a new one.

Since then there has been Ethereum, and Vitalik has become a god.

The idea of ​​God V is obviously sexy enough that at the age of 19 he was surrounded by a lot of "Ethereum co-founders" who were much older than him: Gavin Wood, the first CTO of Ethereum and later the founder of Polkadot , Joseph Lubin, founder and marketing expert of Consensys. In January 2014, they first publicly released Ethereum at the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami.

Since then, in 2014 and 2015, V Shen came to China to raise funds twice.

He went north first, with a lame translator in Chinese, knocked on the door of Huobi Du Jun's Beijing office, and Du Jun's judgment was unreliable. During this period, there were many stories of big brothers missing Ethereum. Now you may want to come to remorse, but even Ethereum at that time, even "Bittheists" thought it was a scam.

However, those who missed it later accepted the baptism of the Ethereum blockchain 2.0 and ICO era.

V God did not go to North China to raise funds smoothly, and then went south to Shanghai to find Shen Bo who had contact with BitShares (a decentralized trading platform created by BM). The latter helped at the right time, not only took V God everywhere to speak, but also invested $ 500,000 when Ethereum encountered financial difficulties in 2015.

This became the most successful investment of distributed capital, with a return of up to 1500 times, plus the fame that Wanxiang brought to fame after becoming famous.

China has subsequently started the era of blockchain venture capital.

In 2015, Wanxiang established a blockchain laboratory. Blockchain technology has also become a small outlet at this time. People in the domestic financial industry have found that Bitcoin's underlying infrastructure blockchain is promising. Trust, immutability, and decentralization are discussed in major blockchains in Shanghai's financial centers. At the meeting.

After discussions in major conferences in Shanghai, they have already reached the conclusion that the blockchain is in line with the financial scene, but they have more recognized the alliance chain, which is what is called "currencyless blockchain" today. Zhejiang University also sends a lot of blockchain talents to the industry.

Many alliance chain companies have begun to be born in Shanghai and Hangzhou, such as FunChain, Complex Beauty, Secret Ape, Bubi, and Cloud Elephant.

During the same period, a small wave of ICO projects broke out. Domestic projects Xiaoant, Lingmengbao, Yuanjie, etc. have all succeeded in ICO, and a number of blockchain crowdfunding platforms such as coin crowdfunding, cloud coin network, ICO365 started.

The 2015-2016 blockchain was ridiculed as "a pig on the tuyere" because it did not land.

In another year, a single white paper, or even a teacher shouting with a smile, can make you rich overnight. Looking back now, the "pig on the tuyere" was afraid of being a little witch.

Bitcoin peaks again, ICO brings dream of riches

So far, geographically, the domestic blockchain map has shown different advantages: Shenzhen is a major mining town, where many mining machine manufacturers produce; Shanghai and Hangzhou have many alliance chain companies seeking to integrate with the physical financial industry; Location of the two major exchanges.

From the industry perspective, Bitcoin production (mining machines, mining pools), storage (wallets), transactions (exchanges) and other chains have been completed, and have been called "coin circles" by future generations; the alliance chain also has some industrial trials.

In 2017, the ICO torrent and the "blockchain revolution" slogan wrapped these people in the same huge vortex, along with a group of classical Internet VCs.

Ten times three times. 40 times in three months. 100 times a year, 1500 times …

The soaring stories have turned the once-niche ICO into a rich Chinese dream for "aunts in China".

The biggest star in this bubble is undoubtedly the laughing teacher who loves to learn. He initiated and invested in a number of blockchain project ICOs. Today's well-known EOS, in the same day 5 days, reached 185 million US dollars on the ICO platform and became "5 billion US dollars in air."

On July 6, Xue Manzi took Li Xiaolai and sent a photo on Weibo with a postscript: "@ 李笑 来, I finally found the way to fight for wealth and freedom! Hahaha!"

ICO is like the undiscovered Kingsoft. "I can't see Xu Xiaoping, I can't see Lei Jun, nobody there." Xue Manzi said, "Suddenly, I ordered the food all over the world. I have to choose it alone, and I must hurry.

In 2017, the "Ninth Fourth" policy came out, the ICO was suspended, and the project began to refund coins. On September 8, there was even more news that the regulatory decision to shut down the virtual currency exchanges in China. Huobi, OK, and Bitcoin China have announced the suspension of their trading operations.

Since then, the prices of Bitcoin and Ethereum have experienced a sudden plunge, but they have begun a non-stop skyrocketing, breaking new highs frequently, and finally peaking in December: $ 20,000 and $ 1,400 respectively. Behind it is the boost of ICO.

The crazy currency price has made domestic users eager to find alternatives to exchanges. The infamous currency exchange Binance, with this bonus period, has become the world's number one digital currency exchange.

Suddenly, bitcoin exchanges such as classical Internet VC and Huobi OK that missed the bonus suddenly rushed to seize their right to speak.

In January 2018, Xu Xiaoping called for a chat screenshot of the invested project "embracing the blockchain" to be circulated wildly in the venture capital circle. The three o'clock sleepless community created by Yu Hong showed urgency and anxiety. The large number of cafes in the group and the millions of red envelopes in the seven days of the Spring Festival spread the "learning atmosphere" throughout the Internet. Chen Weixing relied on the philosophical economics of Zhushou and Zhu Xiaohu, who was short on the blockchain, to argue.

Large Internet companies such as BAT have attached great importance to the blockchain business, and the C-end products such as "Leitz Dog" and "Netease Planet" have been lagging behind slightly, but the BaaS business has become standard.

"Blockchain + Finance / Social / Copyright / Fitness …" and other popular currency change and chain change concepts became popular. Meitu, Jianshu, Thunder and other Internet projects have issued coins.

In order to capture the new dividend, Huobi introduced the HADAX voting and listing mechanism.

In March, the currency circle set off a carnival for EOS supernode elections.

Perhaps for these, the chives only remember the bitter memories of XMX returning to zero, the exchange cutting the project party, and the project party cutting the leek. But at that time, the project party, the exchange, the PR service company, and the blockchain "take money and get soft" from the media.

The exchange simply collects the listing fee of a single project, and it is easy to put millions of dollars into the bag; "Blockchain from the media" sends a project soft article asking for hundreds of thousands of dollars; the public chain project is easily valued at more than 100 million; Gambling games brought a small climax of DAPP.

For leek, at the end of 2017 and early 2018, it is clearly a pick-up market: blind selection can pick up 100 times the coin.

However, madness arises due to the price of the currency, and also disappears with the price of the currency.

Since the high point of the previous year, the prices of Bitcoin and Ethereum have been declining steadily, which has already been cut in the middle of the year and dropped to 80% in the second half of the year. "Blockchain + everything" has few landed people and has become a sickle. The number of blockchain followers has also contracted proportionally.

Under a bear market, there is no way for project financing, layoffs, feign deaths, or real deaths; the blockchain has been shut down directly from the media under the dual pressure of food shortages and title closures. Xu Xiaoping, Yu Hong and other former big men began to retreat.

Zhang Jian's FCoin caused thousands of wars with "transaction is mining", continued the blood-sucking industry, and ended up short-lived, which actually boosted the bear market.

At the same time, some alliance chain companies still adhere to the currencyless blockchain. Although the steps are small, BaaS businesses like Weizhong Bank and Ant Financial are still exploring scenarios such as Internet courts, blockchain electronic invoices, community voting, and so on.

The STO and stablecoin at the end of the year only stayed in discussions, and the real force was still in the following year.

2019: Industry returns to niche, Libra shakes internet

Entering 2019, the price of bitcoin continues to its low of the previous year.

In the eyes of the public, the blockchain has been completely cool.

After the money-giving market passed away, some of the "quantitative funds" became jokes, and the project passed the stage of storytelling. The lack of users and leeks makes the industry start to rack their brains to promote new life.

The first one was Binance, offering an IEO (the first exchange issuance, similar to a new stock), which attracted the looters.

Because the price of IEO is often lower than the price of private placement, which is equivalent to earning a lottery, each lottery is often sold out in minutes or even seconds, and it goes up dozens of times on the line.

Hundreds of coins are hard to find today. In order to grab such gains, investors have to spend the night in Internet cafes and hire students to help them grab their share; Binance ’s KYC (Investor Qualification Examination) is the first to help leek pass the KYC industry. "Emerged at the historic moment."

Other exchanges quickly followed up, and leeks stayed up late to accompany them. This makes the exchange platform currency as a bargaining chip price rising. At the same time, Bitcoin is slowly climbing, starting from more than 3,000 U.S. dollars at the beginning of the year, standing on 10,000 U.S. dollars, making two hot searches.

In fact, all this is inseparable from the first half of the year: the Bitcoin futures exchange Bakkt, which is owned by ICE, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, is about to go live; Facebook's blockchain project Libra, from the media tube to white papers and hearings shocked the world . The Internet people who once believed that the blockchain is a MLM, tremblingly studied the "blockchain revolution."

The layout of the traditional financial giants of the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq, London Stock Exchange, and Fidelity reflects their recognition of cryptocurrencies; Wal-Mart, JP Morgan Chase, and then Facebook, the traditional giants issue stablecoins for companies ranging from within , To the industry and to global users. Eventually it became a currency war that various central banks had to face.

Just when the industry was doing well for a long time, Bakkt went online, and the trading volume was less than expected; Liza of Xiaozha was busy participating in the average monthly hearings. At each hearing, the price of bitcoin plummeted. Finally, on the evening of October 22, Xiao Zha participated in the hearing again and fell below $ 7,500.

There are so many surprises in this world. Within three days, the price of the currency has rebounded in jedi: the price has soared 30% in one day, ushering in the largest single-day increase since 2011.

On October 25, Xinhua News Agency and CCTV released the results of China's top leadership learning blockchain, which clearly stated that blockchain should be used as an important breakthrough in independent innovation of core technologies.

Bitcoin just stood at another 10,000 US dollars.

Although the price of Bitcoin dropped back and forth, but unlike the previous surge, different sectors of the community have started to promote the popularization of various blockchains and bitcoin, and the concept of blockchain for a long time has also risen and fallen. Friends from all walks of life found editors and reporters from Odaily Planet Daily to ask what is blockchain and how to buy Bitcoin.

The blockchain, which has been cold for a year and a half, is extremely hot in public opinion.

Attached by the highest level of the country, practitioners are inevitably injected with a strong heart.

What needs to be faced with is that the industry reshuffle continues. The industry is becoming more and more fragmented, and "concentrate on doing things" and "focus on MLM" are being diverted.

Large companies that deploy alliance chains, such as Ant Blockchain, FunChain, and Weizhong Bank, have not yet ushered in an outbreak of business, but are still searching for suitable scenes and hosting developer competitions on this quiet road. Some public chain-related projects are also under continuous development. The community conference is as pure as the product launch of an Internet company (Devcon 5, Ethereum, BSV's community conference, NEO product conference, and some Defi projects that do not meet).

Some projects have taken a different path: because of the lack of new strength, they began to refer to the "fission" model of MLM. Although it is difficult to judge the good or bad, it is optimistic that the team may still be doing things; Air projects that do n’t do things ”, such as Plustoken, Walden Block Dog, PGS, etc.

Ethereum has now become the second most valuable project in the cryptocurrency market. Currently transitioning from 1.0 to 2.0. If successful, mining may shift from the PoW opened by Bitcoin to the PoS era opened by Ethereum. Therefore, Staking (locking tokens) under the PoS mechanism, as a new guardian of network value, has been deployed by major exchanges and mining pools.

Helpless this lock-up mode was later ruined by some funds. There are a lot of projects that are under the cloak of blockchain and are MLM.

Correspondingly, capital and exchanges also show different play styles.

Some capitals believe that the industry is at a low valuation and should look for undervalued projects; some capitals have completely reduced to MLM marketers and lawnmowers.

Good projects are hard to find, and there are more exchanges than projects. Derivatives increase user ARPU value in head transactions; emerging exchanges continue to launch projects with extremely short life cycles.

In the past, the coin circle, which was regarded by the chain circle as "suspicious of having money in the circle," (the currency circle also despised the chain circle and considered that the alliance chain was not a blockchain), gradually separated a "coil circle" and became a "three-legged stand".

The good news is that under the hammer of supervision, pyramid schemes, fraud and other acts under the banner of blockchain are no longer so rampant. The situation of "bad coins expelling good coins" is improving, and projects that do things seriously are receiving more attention.

The reason for this is to say that MLM disks should be abandoned tumors. The public chain and the alliance chain are just different routes, and there are not a few deep cultivators, both of which are important exploration directions.

The blockchain is still in its infancy, and it is not easy to explore the landing scene: Some people regard it as a technology to improve efficiency and transform it into an alliance chain; Some people believe that the future is the value of the Internet web 3, and that the public chain that replaces the Internet is the real district Block chain.

The two are converging, and they are more likely to complement each other in the future and together become the standard for the Internet of Value.

In the face of enthusiastic public opinion, don't forget: there is still a long way to go before the Internet of Value.

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