Bitcoin turns 10 years old this year. It is a moment of maturity for the first cryptocurrency. After ups and downs, Bitcoin is finally considered a legitimate asset and large companies across the globe invest in it.
So, this anniversary moment is a good opportunity to look back at the history of Bitcoin. We will point out the key events that shaped its evolution and the perceptions of the general public. This does not aim to be a point by point timeline. However, we believe that these are the most significant moments, which deserve special notice.
1. 18 August 2008 – Bitcoin.org Domain Registration
On this date, the website Anonymoussspeech.com received an application to register the domain name Bitcoin.org. The website specialises in anonymous domain name registration. Nevertheless, the Bitcoin.org website discloses the names of the founders on the About Us page: Satoshi Nakamoto and Martti Malmi.
Being a decentralised and open source project, Bitcoin.org is not the official website of the cryptocurrency in the generally accepted sense. However, this is the site where most of the developers release new versions of core software behind Bitcoin. At least, that’s how it was, before all the Bitcoin.org drama and before Bitcoin Core developers “broke up” with the website.
2. 31 October 2008 – Satoshi Nakamoto Publishes His White Paper
31 October is generally recognised as the birth of Bitcoin. On this date, Satoshi Nakamoto published a white paper on an electronic mailing list. In the white paper, he described a peer-to-peer digital currency that does not need traditional financial institutions for transfer.
Satoshi’s white paper consists of 11 sections, detailing: transactions, proof-of-work, simplified payment verification, privacy and calculations among others. A few months later, on 3 January 2009, Satoshi moved from theory to practice. He created the first Bitcoin blockchain block (block 0 or the genesis block), containing 50 BTC .
3. 12 January 2009 – The First Bitcoin Transaction
Three days after Satoshi Nakamoto released the core software for Bitcoin, the first transaction with the cryptocurrency took place. Satoshi sent Hal Finney, an early enthusiast, 100 BTC.
4. 22 May 2010 – Two Pizzas Purchased with 10,000 BTC
On 17 May 2010, a Florida-based programmer, Laszlo Hanyecz, made an offer of 10,000 BTC for two Papa John’s pizzas in an online forum. A few days later, on 22 May, another user, Jeremy Sturdivant, accepted the offer. At that moment, the amount represented the equivalent of about US$30. Today, however, those two pizzas would be among the most expensive items in the world – over US$62 million!
5. 2 October 2013 – FBI Brings Down Silk Road
Silk Road was a dark web marketplace with an emphasis on user privacy. Accessible through the Tor browser, it sold everything from drugs, to weapons and other illegal items. BTC was the preferred method of payment among Silk Road users. On 2 October 2013, the creator of Silk Road, Ross Ulbricht, was arrested by FBI in a public library. He was logged on the Silk Road server at that moment.
All this created a negative perception among the general public. Consequently, the price also went down, from around $145 to $109.
6. 27 November 2013 – Bitcoin Reaches US$1,000
Bitcoin came out shaken but not stirred from the Silk Road scandal, and on 27 November 2013 hit the first milestone peak. The price of 1 BTC was US$1,000. A subsequent increase in value after this peak was brought about artificially by Mt Gox – the first BTC exchange. Allegedly, the platform used a trading bot to inflate Bitcoin prices.
7. 28 February 2014 – Mt. Gox Collapses
Jed McCaleb launched Mt. Gox in the summer of 2010 as the first exchange platform for trading BTC. He sold the platform to a Japan-based French businessman, Mark Karpeles.
The platform grew significantly, both in terms of number of users and transaction volumes. By the end of 2013, Mt. Gox started having cash-flow problems. On 24 February 2014 the platform suspended all trading and a few hours later the website went offline. On 28 February 2018, Mt. Gox filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo. The filing disclosed that the platform was hacked and had lost over 850,000 BTC belonging to customers.
8. 1 August 2017 – The Birth of BCH
Over the years, the Bitcoin community split in two factions. One faction wanted to increase the blockchain block from 1MB to up to 8MB. The other faction opted for a technical solution called Segregated Witness (SegWit). The principle behind SegWit was decreasing the amount of transaction data within each block. Thus, blocks would have space for more transactions.
On 1 August 2017, SegWit supporters applied a user-activated soft fork. At the same time, the other faction (promoters of bigger blocks) forked and created Bitcoin Cash (BCH), currently valued at around US$400.
9. 17 December 2017 – Bitcoin Valued at US$20,000
The king of cryptocurrencies hit record high on 17 December 2017. The price of 1 BTC was US$19,528, according to CoinMarketCap. The steady growth of the value of Bitcoin started in November and continued up to this peak point. However, just days later, prices for most cryptocurrencies, including BTC, suffered a30% drop.