Guest article by BitcoinSampo
Most people know The Seven Wonders of the World. Even if you only know one, it’s probably the Great Pyramid of Giza. Built over an astonishing 27 years, it required a workforce of up to 40,000 people. Towering at 146.7 meters or 481.4 feet, it’s the first, most famous, and only Wonder that still stands.
Many pyramids have been built since and they might be wonders of their own, but they pale in comparison to the one built in honor of the Fourth Dynasty Egyptian pharaoh Khufu. Over 4,000 years later, people from all over the world still travel to Egypt to gaze at this truly unique structure.
Old vs. New
In contrast, the modern world seems full of wonders. Everything is wonderful in the superficial sense of the word; movies are full of larger-than-life CGI, Photoshop has raised beauty standards, and nature’s color contrasts to levels unattainable by reality.
Everything seems bigger, better, stronger, faster, and more beautiful in the digital sphere. Like it or not, it seems to be the next frontier for mankind. When everything in the physical sphere and the universe has been discovered, the digital sphere and the metaverse are logical destinations for modern explorers like Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, and Jack Dorsey.
In a world where everything is digital, and anything is possible, is anything truly wondrous? Within a few seconds, you can open Google Earth and travel to the digital version of the Great Pyramid, but anyone will tell you it’s not the same as seeing it in person.
Surely, in the digital sphere, even the word “wonder” has lost its wonder. The marvels of mankind are something tangible, exclusive, and like the Sistine Chapel ceiling, have required years of hard work to complete. What, then, are the digital artifacts that people will remember decades, even centuries, later?
The First Wonder of the Digital World
Enter Bitcoin. Even if you only know one digital asset, it’s probably Bitcoin. Created in 2008 and launched in 2009, it has only existed for thirteen years. Towering at 715,233 blocks or 13.6 years at the time of writing, it’s the first, most famous, and for now, only Digital Wonder.
Tens of thousands of digital assets have been created since Bitcoin was launched, but it stands out from the others due to four key points. First, it was the first digital asset to gain popularity. Second, it has only existed for thirteen years, and is already globally known.
Third, its predefined supply guarantees its scarcity. It’s mind-boggling to think that 90% of it is already unavailable and that the flow of new supply will last until 2140. The fourth and most important point is that it created a unique concept: digital scarcity. This concept could only be discovered once and has revolutionized value in the digital sphere. As is true with many truly valuable creations, soon a whole industry grew around the original concept.
Enough About NFTs
Most altcoins bring little innovation to the table and derive most of their value from insider incentive and speculation. Therefore, you’d be wise to tread carefully if you want to extend your digital asset portfolio beyond Bitcoin. NFTs are derivatives of this speculation — dressed up in appealing attire but mere mirages on closer examination, like the Woman in Red in The Matrix. They rely heavily on the success of the blockchain they are minted on. They can be duplicated on other chains and only appear unique on each chain. In some cases, NFTs have even been created without the original artist’s consent.
That’s not to say that digital art can’t be valuable. The value and beauty of art is in the eye of the beholder, but technology-wise there is nothing truly wondrous or revolutionary about NFTs. The same collectible craze has happened before in the digital sphere. The first iteration happened in 2016 with Rare Pepes, repeated later in 2017 with CryptoKitties and now NFTs have truly hit mainstream with many celebrities embracing their NFT alter egos as their profile pics. Hal Finney, one of the most important developers in Bitcoin’s early history even predicted NFTs back in 1993. The very existence and popularity of NFTs merely proves and solidifies the value of digital scarcity and its most marvelous manifestation, Bitcoin.
But all that glitters isn’t gold. The collectible craze will likely be forgotten in a decade. Only some people know that the Great Pyramid used to be completely cased in beautiful white limestone, before an earthquake and later rulers removed most of it. Now only a few of the casing stones remain. The stone blocks are the real wonder withstanding desert storms for thousands of years. Perhaps this is a fitting metaphor for the entire digital asset space.
Next Wonders of the Digital World
It might be too early to declare that Bitcoin will weather the storm and people will use and remember it for centuries to come. However, one key aspect works in favor of Bitcoin. With every attack the network has been field-tested, proves its resilience, and only grows stronger. Since it remains a work in progress, it is also agile and can be built upon.
Just recently, the Bitcoin network reached a significant milestone when 90% of the total supply was mined. For the next 119 years, miners will work for the remaining 10%. In this sense, think of Bitcoin as the digital Sagrada Familia. It has been under construction for 139 years, remains unfinished, and yet is one of the most magnificent churches in the world.
Those with a short attention span or low time preference have declared Bitcoin old news even before it has properly hit mainstream. Humans are curious creatures so it’s only logical to continue the quest of digital discoveries. These explorers of the digital world will make many mistakes on their journeys. They will believe in rumors of great treasures. Perhaps some of them will find a hidden treasure, and even discover the next Digital Wonder. However, most will return home empty handed.
As we established, Wonders aren’t something ready-made. What makes a Wonder is hard work, dedication, and the collaborative effort of thousands of people. Digital explorers are needed too, but most people are better off marveling the First Digital Wonder and perhaps even contributing to its construction. For now, you have the chance to own a piece of it. Only 2.1 million bitcoins remain, so will you own any? Buy bitcoin now!