A decade ago, many people and institutions woefully underestimated the potential of cryptocurrency. Among the naysayers was Wired, one of the leading global media platforms, which willingly destroyed its private key to a Bitcoin (BTC) wallet holding 13.34623579 BTC back in 2013.
At the time, the global media platform intended to point out that cryptocurrency was nothing more than an “abstraction.” Surprisingly, BTC in the inaccessible address is now worth $761,000, at the time of publication.
Author Robert McMillan, then a senior editor at Wired and now a reporter with Wall Street Journal, set up a now-defunct Butterfly Labs mining rig in the corner of his office to test the Bitcoin mining functionality. Unfortunately, after a short period of the experiment, he was far from being impressed.
While expressing his dismay on Bitcoin mining experiment at the time, the proficient journalist wrote:
“The world’s most popular digital currency really is nothing more than an abstraction.”
During that time, McMillan deliberated on what to do with already minted Bitcoin, with him considering donating them to charity. But, after joint discussion with his colleagues, they later thought otherwise:
“We’re destroying the private key used by our Bitcoin wallet.”
But, in a recent blog post concerning the matter, Wired remorsefully recant their past perception of Bitcoin, writing:
“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.”
According to Wired, the now-defunct Butterfly Labs ASIC yielded an average of 2BTC worth $220 every ten days in 2013. Remarkably, the output would now be worth $57,000 each, or $112,000 for the pair, representing an increase of 51,000%.
At the time, it just took an average of 13 hours to mint 1 BTC using an ordinary PC. But in 2014, due to the Bitcoin protocol-based halving process that sliced mining rewards into two, the time frame grew to roughly 23 days. In 2021, it would take ten years to mine 1 BTC, according to the New York Times.
In a relatively same contest, the Bitcoin mining difficulty had also been increasing exponentially since 2013. McMillan has repeatedly complained that it had become about 10 million harder to win the Bitcoin “lottery since 2009.”
Reddit user u/leMartinx referenced this past event on December 1 while documenting “how the nascent crypto sector has come a long way from 2013.”
Nonetheless, the post attracted a heated discussion online, with many users taking this opportunity to slam Wired over its past actions. User u/Cappy2020 did not spare the media platform either, writing:
“Serves them right for being so arrogant, even if you thought Bitcoin was just ‘daydreaming,’ at least hold onto it in the off chance that you could, maybe, be wrong.”
But, user u/BakedPotato840 somewhat summarized the discussion, adding:
“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.”