Bitcoin has been declared dead or dying roughly 390 times since 2010. But this year itâ€™s dying much less frequently.
In 2020, bitcoin has been reported dead or dying only 11 times, per a list of these faux obituaries maintained by a Singapore-based website called 99 Bitcoins.
Bitcoinâ€™s yearly â€œobituaryâ€ count hasnâ€™t been so low since 2012, three years after Bitcoin launched. The team behind the website confirmed to CoinDesk the list is actively maintained to date.
The sharp decrease in obituaries correlates with bitcoinâ€™s record-breaking price action this year after breaking its 2017 all-time high in November with a total year-to-date gain of over 270%.
In the past, it was â€œin vogue to publicly dismiss or even shame those who believed in Bitcoinâ€™s value proposition,â€ said Kevin Kelly, global macro strategy lead at Delphi Digital and former equity analyst at Bloomberg, in a direct message with CoinDesk.
But now the game has changed.
â€œMass retail speculation and viral memes have been swapped for family offices and world-class macro investors,â€ Kelly said.
Bitcoinâ€™s quickly-growing cadre of institutional buyers includes giants like MassMutual and Guggenheim. And their sizeable investments â€“ combined with signs of rekindled retail interest â€“ make announcing the bellwether cryptocurrencyâ€™s death increasingly difficult.
In a December bitcoin report, Kellyâ€™s research team wrote, â€œInstitutional investors have not only turned net long since September, but also the magnitude of their net exposure, measured in BTC, has increased relative to prior periods as well.â€
Curiously, authors of disingenuous bitcoin â€œobituariesâ€ have overlooked both times when the network actually has â€œdied,â€ according to Pierre Rochard, Krakenâ€™s lead bitcoin strategist.
In 2010, an inflation bug briefly enabled anyone using the network to create an infinite amount of bitcoins, which, for many intents and purposes, caused the network to die, Rochard said. In 2013, Bitcoin â€œdiedâ€ a second time when a flawed version of its source code unexpectedly caused the block size limit to increase.
â€œIn both cases bitcoin was promptly resurrected by the collective will of its users,â€ Rochard said. To save the network, bitcoin nodes reverted to an older version of the software in 2013 and rewound the blockchain back to a point before the inflation bug in 2010.
â€œFew critics understand what happened when bitcoin actually died, twice,â€ Rochard told CoinDesk in an email.
In the aftermath of these incidents, bitcoinâ€™s â€œrobustâ€ fundamentals and â€œrapid adoptionâ€ have created market conditions with multiple â€œparabolic revaluations,â€ Rochard said, increasing both its adoption and the attention paid to its technical strength, leaving skeptics with little room for continued death pronouncements.
As bitcoin lives on, â€œthe career risk is no longer from embracing bitcoin,â€ according to Kelly. â€œItâ€™s from failing to give [bitcoin] the time and respect it deserves.â€