Ten years ago today, a mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto published his legendary white paper, that introduced bitcoin (BTC) to the world. Since then, bitcoin penetrated media, culture, as well as the mainstream economy, and it’s definitely here to stay. Here is a short history of the pioneer cryptocurrency.
Although there were various precedences, the concept of bitcoin first came into notion in 2008 through a white paper ‘Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,’ released by the pseudonymous creator of the world’s first cryptocurrency. Satoshi Nakamoto, whose identity is still a subject of heated disputes, shared his ideas on a ‘peer-to-peer version of electronic cash’, which resonated with the community of libertarian geeks.
On January 3, 2009, Nakamoto mined the first-ever block of bitcoins, aka the Genesis Block. This event was soon followed by a release of the first iteration of bitcoin software. The first bitcoin transaction in history took place on January 12, when Nakamoto sent 10 bitcoins to programmer Hal Finney. In October 2009 anyone who had $1 to spare could buy 1,309.03 BTC according to the New Liberty Standard, which published a bitcoin exchange rate for the first time.
Now that there was an exchange rate established, it was time for the first-ever purchase using cryptocurrency. In May 2010, a programmer Laszlo Hanyecz spent 10,000 BTC on two pizzas, worth a total of $25. This incredible transaction is believed to drive BTC past the penny threshold.
The year 2010 was full of many firsts for bitcoin: first bitcoin exchanges like Bitcoin Market and Mt. Gox were launched, the first mining pool Slush, where several users united resources mining BTC, and by November, bitcoin market cap hit $1 million — for the first time as well.
In February 2011, bitcoin reached an important milestone — it was trading at $1 at Mt.Gox for the first time. The young cryptocurrency started getting media attention: some of it good — like the article in TIME Magazine, some of it bad — like that Gawker’s piece on bitcoin being used as payment on Silk Road.
This year was marked by the launch of Coinbase, a crypto wallet and platform, the creation of the Bitcoin Foundation, along with Bitcoin-Central being licensed as a European bank in the EU. On top of that, bitcoin was trading at $100 in April.
WIth its price around $1,000, bitcoin was getting a wider recognition: the volume of BTC transactions exceeded the daily volume of Western Union, a number of businesses, including Shopify and Virgin Galactic, started accepting bitcoin payments.
In February, one of the world's first exchanges Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy and reported about 744,000 stolen bitcoins. The first regulated cryptocurrency exchange appeared in 25 U.S. states in 2015 — launched by Coinbase. As for bitcoin price — it went through a rapid decline in early 2014 and stayed below $1,000 for a few years.
This was a peak year for bitcoin: it started off by passing the $1,000 mark and kept growing until it reached a staggering $19,783. Bitcoin caught the eye of institutional investors, who started expressing a greater interest in it. Also, the first cryptocurrency was gaining popularity in smaller countries.
In 2018, bitcoin price kept declining steadily and, as of October, experienced a 67% decrease. Despite that, it is still the leading cryptocurrency by market cap.
Let's wait and see what the year 2019 has in store for bitcoin.