This is opinion editor Stefan Livera, host of the Stephan Livera Podcast and managing director of Swan Bitcoin International.
As the 2022 chapter comes to a close, it’s time to turn our eyes to what’s to come in 2023. Here are some themes I see for Bitcoin in 2023.
The Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) Travel Rule forces exchanges and bitcoin service providers to document and share more information about customer transactions. We’re seeing politicians like Elizabeth Warren publicly oppose Bitcoin, and even if her proposed digital asset AML act doesn’t have a realistic chance of passing, that suggests there will be more battles to come.
But, on the other hand, we must also remember that governments were initially opposed to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technologies (e.g. Skype, etc.), and now they use it VoIP. It will be similar to bitcoin where some countries accept it as legal tender, reserve bitcoin, provide Bitcoin services for citizens and promote bitcoin investors and entrepreneurs.
CBDCs and the War on Cash
The war on cash is on, with many countries withdrawing high-denomination cash notes from circulation or banning physical cash transactions above the limit. There are many countries talking about central bank digital currency (CBDC) trials, but my guess is that most will not have the technical and general economic capacity to support a fully operational CBDC in 2023.
2023 will be largely about testing and rhetoric in preparation for future releases of CBDC. Governments can force people into CBDCs, especially in countries with large welfare states, with the notion that “If you want to check your welfare, you’ll accept it as a CBDC.” Like Darth Vader in Star Wars, “I pray I don’t change the contract later.”
Once upon a time, CBDCs might have been seen as a “conspiracy theory”, but now they are clearly coming as a threat to financial freedom and privacy. Unfortunately, most people won’t see the danger until it’s too late and CBDCs fall on them – and it’s the pain of CBDCs that is driving more people to use Bitcoin and the Lightning Network.
Maxis Is Minted and Revived by Self-Guardian Interests
Bitcoin Maximalists are casual “crypto” fans like Celsius, BlockFi, FTX, Voyager, Vauld, etc. It is minted because they receive rekt on platforms like So, in some ways, it’s very cyclical, following the collapse of the bear cycle between 2014 and 2015. During Mt Gox and the bear cycle of 2018 to 2019, we saw QuadrigaCX collapse – so we’re going through the next phase of people having to learn the hard way.
Given that the pains of 2022 are more recent, in 2023 we will see a stronger culture of self-control. This is not to rule out future cycles and new waves of adoption by people who are not so careful. Income and shitcoin scams will come back in another form sooner or later, but it will be a new era of people falling for them.
We’re seeing more content and webinars related to self-control. For example, with Swan Bitcoin I conducted 101 webinars (to be continued) and these webinars had the highest interest and registration. in any Swan webinars are always offered. Offering an easy auto-withdraw feature or being 100% jail-free will be an important feature for bitcoin in 2023.
Minicrypt wallets and features
Per Pieter Wuille website:
“Miniscript is a language for writing (a subset of) Bitcoin Scripts in a structured way that allows parsing, composition, shared signing, etc.”
For those unfamiliar, Miniscript is a way to more easily express different scripts or spending conditions for bitcoin. This can be configured to allow easier cross-hardware and software compatibility with different wallets.
First, “Why should I care?” you might think. and you would be right to ask that in the beginning. But over time, it will allow for more complex self-preservation, enterprise and even estate planning scenarios. Want to have three multisig setups from three that drop down to two to three multisig setups after 90 days? Or are there different “withdrawal” conditions that exist in the business context? Miniscript does that easier to do these things and allow people to use their existing software or hardware for this purpose. To be clear, some of this is already possible today with Bitcoin script, but Miniscript makes it more technically possible or easier to achieve in practice.
These solutions will take time to develop, but the functionality looks promising. Enterprises and enterprise customers may be particularly interested in this, as it can make their self-monitoring practices more practical for employees and principal owners.
Currently, there is Liana (by the same team behind Revault) and Ledger, which announced Miniscript support on its hardware, and Specter DIY has already launched support in 2021! Rob Hamilton also talked about the uses of Miniscript in the insurance world here. I expect more support to come in 2023.
This could help steer the use of bitcoin towards self-preservation and away from the ‘old model’ of financial services, where you have to rely more on the government, banks and fiat financial institutions to keep their word or not debase your wealth.
It’s time to introduce a Lightning-first model for two types of bitcoin transactions: low-value transactions and private trading. We’ve seen the mempoolfullRBF debate explode towards the end of 2022, but for many of us the real answer is to promote and use Lightning first wherever possible.
As a quick anecdote, I remember talking to Giacomo Zucco in El Salvador who described his experience of paying with bitcoin in a supermarket. Unfortunately at that time Chivo defaulted the terminal to Bitcoin on-chain and while he was paying on-chain, the people in line behind him had to wait for confirmation, which was very awkward. Contrast this with a Lightning-first experience that might look more like this:
We need to show people the best of Bitcoin and go to Lightning first for private, low-cost trading. I believe that in 2023 we will start to see this being driven and promoted more by bitcoiners and local communities.
Only Expanding Bitcoin Communities and Events
We will see more events and smaller conferences in different countries around the world. Contrary to some who believe that there are too many Bitcoin conferences, the point is more to assume that you should attend them all!
Instead, you should attend events and conferences that fit your interests and/or geography. More conferences are a good thing, as long as they are held cheaply and effectively. For example, the Bitcoin bush bash is a model we can see repeated around the world – free to attend, held in a hall or other free/cheap area, no audio recording, a smaller gathering organized in an affordable location.
By reducing expectations for things that usually cost more money (e.g. elegant, professional operations, live streaming, lots of international speakers), bitcoiners can develop their own local scene and meetups. This is not to detract from the larger Bitcoin events and conferences, as they also play a key role – but I see an acceptable “middle ground” with low-cost, local events.
Without a crystal ball for 2023, I believe bitcoin’s fiat price will remain mostly sideways. Forget what bull-hopium people write and talk about, they’re usually chasing the mark or too engrossed in their own echo chambers. It takes time for the period to go down.
But on the bright side, this is a great time to stock up and build something. Remember that in earlier times it was not so clear that “Bitcoin will come back”, but now the world is slowly realizing that Bitcoin is here to stay.
This is a guest post by Stephan Livera. The views expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.