Looking back – The decade of Bitcoin
Written by Luka Kovič on November 13, 2018
On 31st of October Bitcoin became 10 years old and the currency has much to show in this decade. In 2008 Satoshi Nakamoto, »the father of bitcoin«, authored the Bitcoin white paper, simply called ‘Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.’ The publication was then sent to selected cryptographic experts, who were among the first to get to know and develop the digital currency as we know today.
There are many mysteries surrounding mr. Nakamoto and his true identity, which to this date, still isn’t known. There were some theories, that the name Satoshi is combined from companies like Samsung (SA), Toshiba (TOS) and Hitachi (HI), but there is no official proof that this may be true. However, Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious creator of bitcoin »dissappeared« in 2011 with a simple message: ‘I have moved on to other things’.
Looking back to the beginning, a short amount of people actually knew about Bitcoin, most of them probably didn’t even know it could change the financial system we knew, forever. Very first transactions were made to test the network, soon after, in March 2010 the first Bitcoin exchange emerged, simply called BitcoinMarkets.
One of the most famous Bitcoin transactions also happened in 2010, with a guy named Laszlo Hanyecz, who started a thread on a bitcoin forum in which he offered 10.000 bitcoins to someone willing to offer a couple of large pizzas. Back then, he would get 41 U.S. Dollars if he’d traded his Bitcoins on an exchange. For comparison – these 10.000 BTC are now worth more than 63.5 million dollars.
More infamous transactions were done on back-then-popular Silk Road, webpage with illegal things they were selling their users, which were paying with BTC. An astounding sum of $1 billion worth of cryptocurrencies were transferred through that website. At that time, Bitcoin »jumped« from 100 U.S. Dollars to $1.200, with the most noteable bull runs in history. The trend ended with two events that shocked the crypto community; in 2013, the People’s Bank of China (PboC) banned Chinese banks from using Bitcoin, and even more, when Mt Gox was hacked. Then the largest bitcoin exchange in the world, had lost 740.000 bitcoins (6% of all bitcoins in circulation). Mt Gox never recovered and the money (at least the most of it) was never been found.
Also in 2013, another milestone in cryptocurrency world emerged. A company by the name Mastercoin (now Omnilayer) became one of the first projects to build on top of Bitcoin Blockchain. First ever ICO (Initial Coin Offerings) project, raised around 5.000 BTC, what was then worth 500.000 U.S. Dollars and was a very successful ICO at the time. By 2014, Mastercoin reached 100 multiples of it’s ICO price. The ICO model burst with growth from $62.6 million raised in 2016, to $2.2 billion in the next year.
Following years, 2014, 2015 and 2016 were significant for Bitcoin and all cryptocurrencies. Few major companies started to involve, with Overstock.com, becoming first online retailer to accept Bitcoin payments. Famous rapper 50 cent sold his albums for bitcoin though collaboration with BitPay, encouraging others and impacting on understanding and acceptance of cryptocurrencies. Many retailers followed Overstock through those years, with most noteable mentions is Dell, who became highest valued retailer (revenue of $57 billion) and is still accepting Bitcoin payments for their products. Third major company to enable BTC payments was Microsoft, allowing users to use Bitcoin to buy Xbox games. In 2016, Steam, a gaming platform also started accepting Bitcoin payments.
The impressive growth exploded in 2017, with Bitcoin price boost from $1.000 in start of the year and ended being traded close to 20.000 U.S. Dollars on the end of 2017. In 2018, history was made in 4th biggest city in Slovenia – unveiling the world’s first public Bitcoin monument. A Bitcoin roundabout was financed by Bitstamp, cryptocurrency exchange that used to be based in Slovenia.
While the market was growing extremely fast, it crashed in 2018. Numerous countries have implemented bans and regulations, ICOs started to fade and some currencies dropped for astonishing 90% of their price. Crypto currencies were, and are still being criticized in the course to these years, but the community is expecting a price recovery in the coming months. Looking back, Bitcoin achieved a lot in this decade as there are thousands of virtual currencies in the market and being used by multiple companies across the globe.