- Bitcoin appeared as a concept on October 31, 2008, but it was officially launched only a few months ago, in early 2009.
- Soon after Bitcoin appeared, it attracted attention: Investors grew curious, exchanges started appearing within only a few years, and numerous altcoins emerged, wishing to share BTC success.
- The 2014 hacking attack on a crypto exchange called Mt. Gox damaged the crypto market for years until it finally regained and exceeded its former glory thanks to the popularity of ICO in 2017.
It seems hard to believe, but it has been almost an entire decade since Bitcoin (BTC) first appeared. October 31 will mark the first cryptocurrency’s 10th birthday, and much has happened since it was initially set into circulation. While many believe that Bitcoin, and cryptocurrencies in general, are nothing more than a bubble, the truth is that this technology is still very much alive. Not only that, but it keeps growing and developing, with new altcoins appearing all the time.
However, it is true that BTC and its altcoins had a troublesome history, no matter how new they are. This is what we will review today. This is the story of Bitcoin.
The origins of Bitcoin
Bitcoin was born on October 31, 2008. It was created by an unknown individual or group, known only by the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. It came as a response to the financial crisis of 2008 after the US-based investment bank called Lehman Brothers announced bankruptcy. The event affected numerous people, and Bitcoin’s creator(s) decided that such power was too high to be given to only a few.
This is what sparked the decision to create a new form of money, a digital asset, that will be used and controlled by the people, instead of an institution. In a way, this was a political vision that was first presented in Bitcoin’s white paper — a nine-page academic style paper titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”.
Soon after that, on January 3, 2009, the first 50 BTC coins were released into circulation, after the “genesis block” was solved. This was the first block, which marked the beginning of not only Bitcoin but also blockchain. The concept revolved around solving Bitcoin transactions, which were collected into blocks. Upon solving each block by using computing power and other resources like electricity, people would be rewarded with a sum of 50 BTC. This is what kicked off the concept of crypto mining.
Nine days after the release of the first 50 BTC, Satoshi Nakamoto tested the new technology by sending 10 BTC to a computer scientist, Hal Finney. Soon after that, Bitcoin transactions started, and BTC received its initial value of $0.00076 per coin on October 5, 2009.
During the following year, Bitcoin started gaining more and more attention, and the Bitcoin’s price began to grow. Then, on December 12, 2010, Nakamoto announced a withdrawal from the project. Bitcoin’s creator returned to shadows and had only returned once after that. This was in 2014, when he appeared in a chat room, stating that news of his identity being discovered is false. Since then, nobody ever heard from Nakamoto again, to date.
The period of trouble
Since its creation, Bitcoin was continually evolving. At first, it was an unknown phenomenon, but it quickly attracted the attention of geeks, as well as criminals. This was due to the fact that it promised anonymous transactions which cannot be traced. As a result, many feared that it would become a method for funding illegal operations, as well as a way to purchase illicit goods.
However, it also showed a potential to be more than that. Its price continued growing, and it reached $1,000 in 2013. This marked a significant turnaround for BTC, as it now became attractive to a lot more investors, and even institutions started paying attention to it. While many were quick to call it a scam, a Ponzi scheme, or a bubble, everyone still kept a close eye on it, and speculated regarding how far it is going to go.
While still unreputable due to concerns regarding criminal ties, Bitcoin was still developing rapidly until early 2014, when it suffered its first major hit. This was when the biggest Bitcoin exchange of that time, Mt. Gox got hacked. Following this news, Bitcoin’s value collapsed, and many were convinced that this would be its death.
However, Bitcoin survived, although it took three years after the hack for it to regain its former price, and exceed it. This has finally happened in 2017.
After a relatively successful year, BTC, as well as numerous of it altcoins that emerged in recent years, surged to entirely new heights. BTC itself reached $20,000 per coin.
This is the period when Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) started appearing, and they quickly became a popular trend. The total cryptocurrency market cap exceeded $800 billion thanks to this new way of getting funds for various startups, which has drawn thousands of new investors into the market. Before long, cryptocurrencies officially announced themselves once more, but this time, everyone took notice. They were no longer a shady new technology, but an established method for people to manage their own funds and leave banks behind. Investors from all corners of the world rushed into the market, and new altcoins started appearing every other day.
This situation did not stop even after the market crashed once again in January 2018, and it is currently still going. While BTC and other coins dropped significantly and did not manage to climb back to their old prices due to bearish 2018, they are still growing and expanding their technology and influence.
Now, we are only days away from Bitcoin’s tenth birthday, so let’s see what the situation like now is.
Bitcoin on its tenth anniversary
Bitcoin dropped price has inspired numerous altcoins, although many of them decided to go their way, and even try to surpass it with innovative technology, new use cases, and attempts to become relevant by solving real-world problems. Not only that, but the blockchain technology, which initially served to distribute digital coins and record transactions, also turned out to have much higher potential.
However, cryptos remain alive despite all of these difficulties, and numerous governments have also taken an interest in them. While some are merely trying to regulate the space and make a profit while doing it, some countries have even taken to launching their coins. Whether they did it to combat sanctions and fix their economy, or to create a monopoly on crypto within their borders, the fact remains that cryptocurrencies are still growing stronger and more relevant with each passing day.
At this point, it should be noted that all of this was achieved before Bitcoin’s first birthday. A lot of new technologies hardly manage to accomplish anything during the first decade of their existence. However, cryptos have made astounding progress already, and investors believe that they are still only scratching the surface of their real potential. We can only guess what will happen in another ten years, but one thing is sure — Bitcoin and its altcoins are not going away.