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Bitcoin as a Startup


This article was inspired by Hass McCook work on Medium

Does it make any sense to see Bitcoin as a startup? In this article we will compare.

Key Takeaways

  1. Bitcoin as a Startup: Viewing Bitcoin’s development through the lens of a startup helps demystify its complex journey. It started as a pre-seed project and has progressed through different funding rounds, each marked by challenges and innovations.
  2. Persistence Despite Challenges: Just like startups face early hurdles, Bitcoin encountered usability issues, exchange vulnerabilities, and market volatility in its early stages. However, it persisted and continued to evolve, attracting investment and improving its infrastructure.
  3. Future Potential: Looking ahead, Bitcoin’s path parallels a startup’s growth trajectory. As it enters new eras, it aims to optimize, build, and scale its ecosystem, potentially becoming a more widely accepted and less risky asset with time.


“People hate Bitcoin analogies. But Bitcoin is so hard to understand for so many, concessions need to be made.

VCs are a group of people demonized in the Bitcoin industry for not understanding Bitcoin’s value proposition. Well, how do you expect a VC to value Bitcoin if they’re only used to valuing startups?

Here is a framework that will hopefully help. It tracks the development and evolution of the Bitcoin ecosystem in discreet “fundraising rounds”, which coincide with Bitcoin’s Reward Eras.

An organization is defined as “an organized group of people with a particular purpose”. If that’s the case, then Bitcoin is a well-oiled “un-organisation” with founders but no CEOs, many volunteers but no employees, and provably non-diluting equity, available to anyone who is willing to trade their energy for it.”

Hass McCook
Bitcoin as a startup
Bitcoin As A Startup

Bitcoin is a complex concept often met with resistance, but it’s crucial to simplify it for broader comprehension, especially for venture capitalists unfamiliar with its unique value proposition. Seeing Bitcoin as a startup can help close the gap.

In this analogy, we’ll trace Bitcoin’s development as if it were a startup, divided into discreet “fundraising rounds” that align with Bitcoin’s Reward Eras. \

Thinking of Bitcoin as a startup requires to be open to an unorthodox approach of explaining bitcoin. Perhaps this analogy is too far off for you to make any sense, so take it all with a grain of salt.

Bitcoin As A Startup – Stages

Pre-seed Round (1st Reward Era, 3/1/2009–28/11/2012)

In the early days, Bitcoin resembled a pre-seed startup, with Satoshi Nakamoto as the founder and an open-source monetary system project as its product. Equity was easy to build as early participants invested time, skills, and money to enhance the project. Despite challenges like usability issues and exchange vulnerabilities, Bitcoin survived and entered its “seed round” with a $1 billion market cap at the end of this era.

Seed Round (2nd Reward Era, 28/11/2012–9/7/2016)

The seed round, equivalent to planting the startup’s seed, still carried high risk for Bitcoin. It weathered exchange hacks, scams, and market turbulence. Innovations like hardware wallets and ASIC mining emerged, bringing liquidity and price discovery to the market. Early VCs joined, and miners continued to drive innovation. This era closed with an $11 billion market cap.

Series A — Optimise (3rd (and Current) Reward Era, 9/7/2016 — May 2020)

In Series A, businesses focus on optimizing their offering. Bitcoin’s scalability debate led to protocol improvements like Segregated Witness (SegWit). Despite the “Scambrian Explosion” of altcoins, Bitcoin maintained dominance. The influx of money enabled equity holders to invest in development, resulting in scalability improvements and enhanced privacy features. Bitcoin’s market cap rose dramatically during this era.

Series B — Build (4th Reward Era, May 2020 — Apr 2024)

Series B is about building on the existing foundation. Bitcoin’s protocol upgrades during Series A and early Series B paved the way for product and service development on top of the base layer. Expect integration, mergers, and acquisitions as the ecosystem expands. UI/UX improvements will make Bitcoin more user-friendly, and scalability will continue to evolve.

Series C — Scale (5th Reward Era, Apr 2024 — Mar 2028)

Series C is all about scaling rapidly. Inflation decreases, emphasizing Bitcoin’s scarcity. With infrastructure in place and improved user experience, this era becomes “The Era of The Evangelist.” Successful fundraising rounds create wealthy advocates promoting Bitcoin to a broader user base.

IPO (6th Reward Era, Mar 2028 — Feb 2032), and beyond…

By this stage, Bitcoin is resilient and integrated into mainstream finance and utilities. Layered solutions reduce on-chain transactions, while an approved Bitcoin ETF and stable price drive mass adoption. Risk diminishes significantly.

While not entirely risk-free, Bitcoin may become a nearly risk-free asset by the 7th Era, with inflation nearing zero. This journey parallels a startup’s growth, showcasing Bitcoin’s evolution from a pre-seed concept to a global financial force.

Bitcoin as a Startup Conclusion

In conclusion, seeing Bitcoin as a startup provides a valuable framework for comprehending its complex evolution.

From its humble beginnings resembling a pre-seed project to its current status as a global financial force, Bitcoin has weathered challenges and celebrated milestones along the way.

This analogy highlights Bitcoin’s resilience, as it faced usability issues, security concerns, and market volatility in its early stages but continued to grow and attract investment. Looking ahead, Bitcoin’s path mirrors a startup’s growth trajectory, with the potential to become a widely accepted and less risky asset in the future.

In essence, understanding Bitcoin through the startup lens demystifies its history and future potential, making it more accessible to those seeking to grasp its significance in the world of finance and technology.

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