Most of you reading this have only ever known Bitcoin by its current logo: that white, double-striped “B” superimposed on an orange circle.
Orange coin has become an internationally-recognizable symbol, but Bitcoin didn’t come with this branding out of the box. As with almost every aspect of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto created a rudimentary logo in the protean days of the decentralized currency and the community iterated on it until this one stuck.
You truly old-school Bitcoin Maximalists will remember the evolutions in this design. And you also might recognize some of the mathematical symbolism that underpins Bitcoin’s logo.
For those of you who don’t, here’s a little history lesson and crash course on the design choice behind Bitcoin’s iconic emblem.
The Evolution of Bitcoin’s Logo
Bitcoin Core originally featured Bitcoin’s first-ever logo created by Satoshi: a gold coin with the initials “BC” inscribed on it. The nod to gold here shouldn’t be overlooked (especially considering that some people think the digital gold comparison is some crazy notion cooked up by Bitcoin extremists — when, in reality, Satoshi himself was thinking of Bitcoin in this way from the start).
OGs typically took to the logo well, though one or another would occasionally make suggestions to alter it on Bitcointalk. One of these suggestions involved using the Thai baht currency symbol (฿) and designating the initials “BTC” as the official currency code.
The latter caught on more easily than the former. Using the Thai baht did prove to be a convenient stopgap before something else came along, though some insisted that using it “would cause confusion.”
But, it could have very well inspired Satoshi to added the dollar-stripes to Bitcoin’s design that make it so distinguishable today. On February 24, 2010, he introduced a new logo. It resembled the gold coin he had started with, but now the symbol inscribed in the middle had two vertical strokes and, unlike the Thai baht, these strokes did not cut clean through the B — they only stuck out of its top and bottom and did not cross through the middle of the letter.
Reactions on Bitcointalk were mixed. Some felt it was still too similar to the baht, while others thought it was too dull.
“Is this the ‘official’ logo?” one observer asked. “I understand how difficult it can be to make something truly professional when you don’t have the skills (which I don’t) or the software (which I also don’t) so I’m not trying to be rude, but wouldn’t it be better if we adopted something…better? I really am not trying to be mean.”
Official or not, this served as the predominant logo until the end of 2010, when a pseudonymous commentator named bitboy dropped their first message into Bitcointalk. Humbly, the user announced that they had just wanted to “drop by to say hi and to share with you some of the graphics I have done.”
These graphics were free to download and placed in the public domain. Bitboy utilized the “B” symbol Satoshi had refined but rendered it in white and placed it on a flat, bright orange circle, tilting the symbol so that it leaned to its right.
“Best Bitcoin logos I’ve seen so far!” one user commented. This was the general consensus, evidenced by the fact that bitboy’s designs would become Bitcoin’s defacto branding for the next decade.
Method to the Madness
Indeed, the logo bitboy cooked up has become iconic. Even people who know nothing about bitcoin may recognize it as Bitcoin’s universal symbol. And, like the technology it represents, it was created pseudonymously without hope of profit.
One user commented in the thread about using the Thai baht as Bitcoin’s symbol that “we should let [Bitcoin’s logo] evolve organically, like a word in a language, and not worry too much about it at the early stage.”
November of 2010 was still a relatively early moment for bitboy to introduce what has become the official logo, but this user also got their wish: The logo did evolve organically.
And it was also imbued with its own intelligent design. Every aspect of the Bitcoin logo has mathematical rationale behind it; every corner was architected as much for practicality and form as it was for symbology and aesthetics.
These rationale are painstakingly documented (as well as the specific instructions on how to make a perfect BTC logo from scratch) in this Medium post. The author, Phil Wilson, had helped design both the second logo that Satoshi introduced in February 2010 and the orange one that we know today.
And the one we know today is riddled with symbols.
For example, the number eight pops up multiple times in the dimensions and geometry of Bitcoin’s design (e.g., the B is rotated clockwise 13.88 degrees — more on this later). Per the internet language 1337, an eight resembles a B, which is short for “Block,” according to Wilson. Many of the patterns that went into creating the Bitcoin logo’s design, like the circles that eventually made up the B, contain the number eight. The dimensions of other shapes (like the rectangles in the design) had a length of 12.5 (or, one-eighth of 100, thus representing eight yet again).
Since eight is B, which stands for block in this symbology, each new pattern is like adding a new block to the logo. Everytime a shape is resized (as they were multiple times throughout the design process) this reflects the changing data size of each new block.
The trebuchet font that’s used in the logo was inspired by the trebuchet catapult which was a favorite weapon of Wilson’s in the “Age of Empires” computer game. By using the vertical strokes from the dollar sign in the Bitcoin design, Wilson wanted to give the impression that “those lines are not actually from the Bitcoin symbol, but from the $ symbol that’s been ‘Stamped’ into the ground by Bitcoin” — an indication of Bitcoin’s monetary dominance.
The coin was colored orange for a practical as well as aesthetic purpose. In the words of Wilson, it had to be a color that could be printed/replicated “on both websites and print media” and one that would “stand out against all [other currency/payment options].”
The circle was chosen because, well, a coin makes sense — and a circle is “warm and friendly” and “continuous, endless, forever — just like Bitcoin.”
Now, for the question that most new people probably ask: Why is the “B” tilted to the right? Well, there’s an explanation for that, too, and rather than butcher it, here it is straight from Wilson’s keyboard:
“14° came about by adding an infinite number of B’s together by dividing the previous value by 10. 12.5 + 1.25 + 0.125 + 0.0125 + 0.00125 + 0.000125 + 0.0000125 + 0.00000125 + 0.000000125 + 0.0000000125 + 0.00000000125 + 0.000000000125 … This comes to about 13.888 repeating. When using a drawing program that rounds the rotation angle to the closest full percent, the angle becomes 14°. The angle represents the blockchain progressing into the future forever.”
And, finally, the logo for the internet’s native currency wouldn’t be complete without a reference to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. In the logo, the orange circle is scaled to 525 percent to give it a precise diameter. Why is that? Naturally, because “525% is 12.5 x 42,” according to Wilson; in other words, it is one-eigth of 100 times 42, which, according to the book, is the secret to the universe.
And why is the secret to the universe included in Bitcoin’s design?
“This technology is supposed to be the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything,” Wilson explained.
Or, put less hyperbolically: Orange coin good.
US Banks Can Now Hold Reserves on Behalf of Stablecoin Issuers: OCC
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is turning out to be the greatest supporter of the US cryptocurrency industry.
Yesterday, the banking regulator issued a letter that greenlighted national banks and federal savings associations to hold “reserves” on behalf of stablecoin issuers. The stablecoins in the discussion are fiat-collateralized, i.e., backed by the US dollar or fiat currency of any other nation.
US Banks Allowed To Hold Reserve Funds For Stablecoin Issuers
On Monday, the OCC published an ‘interpretive letter’ directing ‘federally chartered’ financial institutions in the United States to hold reserve funds for stablecoin issuers.
…a national bank may hold such stablecoin “reserves” as a service to bank customers…
The above will apply to only the stablecoin issuer that ‘has sufficient assets backing the stablecoin in situations where there is a hosted wallet’. Also, stablecoins need to be “backed on a 1:1 basis by a single fiat currency where the bank verifies at least daily that reserve account balances are always equal to or greater than the number of the issuer’s outstanding stablecoins.”
Commenting on the development, Brian P. Brooks, Acting Comptroller of the Currency said:
National banks and federal savings associations currently engage in stablecoin-related activities involving billions of dollars each day. This opinion provides greater regulatory certainty for banks within the federal banking system to provide those client services in a safe and sound manner.
US SEC Adds To The OCC’s Stablecoin’ Interpretation’
Soon after the OCC issued its letter of stablecoin reserve holding guidance for national banks and federal saving associations, the SEC jumped in to add its opinion as well. A staff statement from The Securities and Exchange Commission Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology Staff (FinHub Staff)impressed more on the ‘security’ aspect of crypto assets.
Whether a particular digital asset, including one labeled a stablecoin, is a security under the federal securities laws is inherently a facts and circumstances determination. This determination requires a careful analysis of the nature of the instrument, including the rights it purports to convey, and how it is offered and sold.
The message is clear for stablecoin and crypto token issuers in general. ‘Market participants,’ as the SEC mentioned them collectively in the statement, should work within the confines of the securities laws. And refrain from engaging in activities that attract punitive federal action.
…market participants may structure and sell a digital asset in such a way that it does not constitute a security and implicate the registration, reporting, and other requirements of the federal securities laws.
The Fin Hub staff also admitted that a certain cryptocurrency or digital asset may not necessarily fall within the regulatory framework that the SEC has defined. It has encouraged crypto token producers to work in unison with the SEC so that the structuring, marketing, and functioning of digital assets comply with the federal securities laws.
The Staff stands ready to engage with market participants to assist them and to consider providing, if appropriate, a “no-action” position regarding whether activities with respect to a specific digital asset may invoke the application of the federal securities laws.
Circle CEO Welcomes OCC’s Letter
Jeremy Allaire, the CEO of the USDC stablecoin issuing company Circle, expressed his appreciation at the OCC’s guidance letter. According to Mr. Allaire, it recognizes the efforts of his company to revolutionize the web-based usage of ‘digital dollars’:
As an issuer of USD Coin (USDC), the guidance validates the approach we have taken in building a resilient, powerful and open standard for the use of digital dollars on the internet.
He added to his statement by saying that the OCC guidance will empower more stablecoin-based businesses and firms to continue building on this aspect of cryptocurrency technology while remaining compliant with federal laws.
With this clarity from the US Treasury Department around the standards for banks to hold reserves on behalf of stablecoin issuers, businesses of all sizes, fintech firms and banks can have more confidence in building on this innovation, while also ensuring that the guardrails and risk management expected from the US banking system can be applied to this new age of internet money.
Not The First Crypto-Friendly Gesture From The OCC
Earlier last month, Brooks, who functioned as Coinbase’s former Chief Legal Officer, said that financial payments need to happen ‘virtually instantaneously.’ He added to the sentiment by stating that ‘the crypto phenomenon cannot be ignored.’
As reported by CryptoPotato, the Acting Comptroller of the Currency, in an interview with CNN’s Julia Chatterley, mentioned that a blockchain and crypto-friendly ‘payments charter’ needs to be introduced. And that his job as the Comptroller of the Currency is to identify innovation that can solve the inefficiencies that currently plague payments.
In July this year, Mr. Brooks allowed banks regulated by the Federal Reserve to offer crypto custody services.
Free DeFi Money: MEME Airdrop Now Worth $700,000
The DeFi space continues to amaze with stunning developments happening on a daily basis. Announced on August 18th through a Medium Post, Meme protocol is quickly catching speed with its native token hitting almost $2,000 a couple of hours back.
The interesting thing is that it has a very limited supply of 28,000 tokens and most of it was distributed through an airdrop to people who joined their Telegram group.
MEME Airdrop Worth $700,000
Data from Etherscan shows that 72 people received around 355 MEME tokens as part of the protocol’s initial distribution. Worth pennies back then, the 355 tokens are currently trading at around $1,500 each.
However, a couple of hours back, the price for MEME peaked at almost $2,000, bringing the total worth of the airdrop to about $700,000. Not bad for free DeFi money.
Commenting on the matter of being one of the lucky few was Anthony Sassano, who, two days ago, confessed that he got the airdrop.
I was one of the original airdrop recipients of 350 MEME tokens and sold them on day 1 because, at the time, it was just a random token with no use. Turns out that it became a legit project and 350 MEME is currently worth $300,000.
I was one of the original airdrop recipients of 350 $MEME tokens and sold them on day 1 because, at the time, it was just a random token with no use.
Turns out that it became a legit project and 350 $MEME is currently worth $300,000.
F in the chat
— Anthony Sassano | sassal.eth ⛽ 🏴 (@sassal0x) September 20, 2020
Of course, that was two days ago when the price of the MEME token was below $1,000. Today, its value more than doubled.
Aidrops: The New “Fair” Distribution
Back in August, Andre Cronje, the founder of Yearn Finance, announced the launch of YFI – a particularly scarce governance token with a supply of just 30,000. The thing that the community seemed to like a lot about it was the fact that it was all distributed to the community as people were able to provide liquidity and farm it.
Now, it seems that airdrops are all the rage. First in line was Uniswap – the most popular automated market maker and decentralized exchange protocol. It launched its UNI governance token a few days back and everyone who used the platform before September 1st received a minimum of 400 UNI tokens. The price for the coins surged to an all-time high of almost $9 and the value of the airdrop reached around $3500.
With MEME, people who got the airdropped tokens could currently sell them for much more, but of course, the number of users is substantially lower.
World’s First Bitcoin ETF Approved with Expected Launch in Bermuda by End of Year
The first-ever Bitcoin ETF will be launched on the Bermuda Stock Exchange (BSX) by Hashdex, a regulated Brazilian fund manager, and Nasdaq after garnering approval for the “Hashdex Nasdaq Crypto Index” four days ago.
The news continues Bermuda’s legacy of being a crypto-friendly offshore international business and financial center.
Three million Class E shares will be issued for trading and the exchange-traded fund is expected to go live by the end of 2020.
Hashdex currently boasts $46.4 in assets under management across four funds and uses Xapo, Kingdom Trust, and Vo1t for services relating to crypto custody. KPMG is the firm’s auditor.
‘When Bitcoin ETF?’
For years now, many Bitcoin proponents and cryptocurrency enthusiasts have been asking the question “when Bitcoin ETF?” While one is officially on the way for the Bermuda Stock Exchange, the prospect of such a regulated, insured, and institutional-focused vehicle for BTC exposure appearing on exchanges in the United States appears grim.
Bids from various parties — such as the Winklevoss twins, VanEck, SolidX, and Wilshire Pheonix — have all been rejected by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission or pulled by the applicants. The securities regulator has frequently claimed that applicants failed to provide enough evidence that the BTC market is resistant to manipulation.
Speaking on the matter was the SEC’s Chair, Jay Clayton, who said that a Bitcoin ETF in the US is possible, but there’s a lot of work to be done.
‘Biggest Front-Running Opportunity of Your Life’
However, former Goldman Sachs executive and well-known fund manager Raoul Pal believes that a Bitcoin ETF is coming to the U.S. very soon. He recently stated:
“I’m going to give you the biggest front-running opportunity of your life: they will get an ETF across the line. There will be billions of dollars that pour into it. Every pension plan will allocate some money to it. Every family office will allocate some money to it. And the more the price goes up, the more they will allocate.”
Whether or not Pal’s prediction comes to fruition remains to be seen. However, it stands to reason that the SEC is objectively aware of the BTC market’s continued maturation and correlation to the equities markets. As such, it may take a more favorable stance as new Bitcoin ETF applications come across its desks.
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