Celebrating 14 Years Since Bitcoin Was First Introduced
Bitcoin was the world’s first peer-to-peer cryptocurrency, running on a distributed ledger, enabling users to transact without requiring an intermediary. It is widely regarded as the one that started it all, launching an entire industry that has changed the future of the financial system, giving millions a cheaper and more efficient alternative to fiat currencies.
Yesterday marked 14 years after the enigmatic and anonymous creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, published the original Bitcoin whitepaper, on October 31st, 2009. Today we are taking a brief look at the history of this pioneering cryptocurrency. From its humble beginnings, its staggering highs, and the challenges along the way, documenting its rise as the go-to cryptocurrency.
The Early Years
As mentioned earlier, bitcoin is a digital currency designed to facilitate payments directly between two parties without the transaction having to go through a financial institution. All transactions are recorded on a public, decentralized, and immutable ledger, ensuring complete security and transparency. No one thought at the time that this cryptocurrency would go on to change the future of currency.
Initially, bitcoin was confined to a niche community. However, it appealed to users as it offered them a new way to pay for goods and services without relying on a centralized authority or intermediary. No one knows the true identity of the creator of bitcoin, who used the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto when publishing its white paper. Bitcoin’s genesis block was mined on the 3rd of January, 2009, with the first identifiable individual to be associated with the project being Hal Finney, who downloaded the program to run it. Finney also received the first ever Bitcoin transaction on the 12th of January, 2009.
The first real-world transaction involving bitcoin occurred on the 22nd of May, 2010, when an individual in Florida purchased two pizzas for around 10,000 BTC. Today, this day is remembered by the Bitcoin community as Pizza Day. The cryptocurrency first became available to buy and sell on cryptocurrency exchanges in 2010 and faced its first meaningful competitor in Litecoin in 2011. Bitcoin’s price continued to rise with its popularity and visibility; by the end of 2013, it crossed the $1.000 threshold.
Bitcoin’s first true rally came in 2017 when prices soared to unimaginable heights. By November, the price of bitcoin reached $10,000 and, just a month later, reached $20,000. The driving force behind this rally was CME Group’s announcement that they would launch Bitcoin futures contracts. However, the bubble burst and the price dropped to under $5,000 by the end of 2018.
The price surged once again in late 2020 as an extended lockdown of businesses and activities left users with significant disposable income in their hands. This, along with the launch of several Bitcoin Exchange-traded funds or ETFs, acted as a catalyst for another bull run. Bitcoin surged to new all-time highs, surpassing the $20,000 mark and reaching a staggering $69,000 by the end of 2021.
Why Is Bitcoin Special?
Bitcoin has several qualities that set it apart from its peers.
- Bitcoin is highly decentralized. No one person or entity controls it.
- It does not need an intermediary to process transactions.
- Bitcoin can easily be transferred between users, no matter what their location.
- Once the transaction is recorded on the blockchain, it is impossible to change or manipulate.
- It solves the problem of double spending.
While the crypto markets are currently in the middle of a market downturn, Bitcoin remains one of the best-performing financial assets, especially in the long term. The cryptocurrency’s value remains some way off the $69,000 ATH but remains well above the lows it fell to after the 2018 crash. Its reputation has grown as a viable investment and an excellent store of value and hedge against inflation. Several individuals and institutions such as MicroStrategy, Tesla, Block, and a host of others have collectively purchased millions of dollars worth of BTC.
Bitcoin could well and truly become legal tender, as shown by El Salvador and the Central African Republic. El Salvador officially adopted Bitcoin as legal tender on the 7th of September, 2021, becoming the first country in the world to do so. Soon after, the Central African Republic became the second country to do so.