A Snapshot Of Bitcoin's Decade-Old Existence

October 31, 2018 7:50 am
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Bitcoin has come a long way from being a questionable unit of transaction for illicit uses to near-mainstream acceptance.

It hasn't been a cakewalk for the digital currency.

Satoshi Nakamoto, widely recognized as the founder of bitcoin, mailed the white paper "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System," to a cryptographic mailing list on Oct. 31, 2008. This paper set the ball rolling on the development of bitcoin.

It remains unclear whether Nakamoto is a single person or a group, and he or they have since disassociated from the currency. The rationale for bitcoin was to establish a peer-to-peer transaction without the intermediation of banks, which were at the time caught in the eye of the financial crisis that reverberated through global economies.

Key Events In Bitcoin History

  • Aug. 18, 2008: The domain name Bitocoin.org is registered.
  • Oct. 31, 2008: Satoshi emails the bitcoin white paper.
  • Nov. 9, 2008: The bitcoin project is registered on SourceForge.net, a website developing and distributing open source software.
  • Jan. 3, 2009: The Genesis Block, the original block containing the first 50 bitcoins mined, is released.
  • Jan. 9, 2009: The first iteration of bitcoin software is released.
  • Jan. 12, 2009: The first transaction of 10 bitcoins is made between Satoshi and developer Hal Finney.
  • Oct. 5, 2009: New Liberty Standard establishes the first bitcoin exchange range, with each dollar equal to 1,309.03 bitcoins. The exchange rate is developed with a formula that also took into account the electricity required to run a computer that mined bitcoins.
  • Feb. 6, 2010: The first bitcoin exchange, Bitcoin Market, is established.
  • May 22, 2010: The first real-world transaction of bitcoins takes place, as programmer Laszlo Hanyecz offers 10,000 bitcoins to buy a pizza on the Bitcoin Forum.
  • July 17, 2010: Mt. Gox, the second bitcoin exchange, comes into into being.
  • Sept. 18, 2010: The first bitcoin pooled mining occurrs as Slush mines its first block using the collective efforts of several users.
  • Nov. 6, 2010: Bitcoin's market cap exceeds $1 million.
  • 2011: Silk Road, an illicit marketplace used mostly for drug deals, begins using bitcoin as a payment mode, creating negative publicity.
  • Feb. 9, 2011: Bitcoin reaches parity with the dollar.
  • June 19, 2011: A security breach at Mt. Gox compromises data from 60,000 accounts.
  • June 2012: Coinbase, a bitcoin wallet and platform, launches.
  • 2013: Bitcoin surpasses $1 billion in market cap as well as trading  above $1,000; Silk Route shuts down as part of FBI crackdown; Shopify accepts bitcoin as a payment option; bitcoin transactions are banned by the People's Bank of China.
  • 2014: Mt. Gox is shut down.
  • 2017: A hard fork, a code change meant to increase bitcoin's block size limit, lead to the splinter of bitcoin into two: bitcoin and bitcoin cash.
  • December 2017: Bitcoin hits $20,000.

See Also: Cryptocurrency Mining: What It Is, How It Works And Who's Making Money Off It

How Bitcoin Traded Over The Years

Since bitcoin wasn't traded on any exchange in 2009, the first available quote is from 2010.

For much of 2010, the cryptocurrency traded at anemic levels, with the highest recorded price for the year being 39 cents.

The crypto achieved dollar parity in early 2011. It breached the $100 level as well as the $1,000 level in 2013. From late 2013 until January 2015, the crypto underwent a correction, dropping about 80 percent of its value in the bargain in the wake of scandals including Mt. Gox.  bitcoin_0.png

Source: Coinmarketcap

After advancing a moderate 35 percent in 2015, Bitcoin appreciated over 200 percent in 2016, ending at more than $960. The cryptocurrency realm as a whole was bullish in 2017, with bitcoin recording a mammoth gain of about 1,370 percent for the year.

Rising interest in cryptocurrencies; the realization they could come in handy during times of political turmoil; the ICO craze; the SegWit upgrade that increased transaction capacity; and wide media coverage are among the catalysts that sent cryptos soaring, according to Forbes contributor Charles Bovaird.

The rally seems to have lost steam in 2018, as bitcoin has pulled back by about 54 percent year-to-date.

Bitcoin's Outlook

Notwithstanding the lackluster performance so far this year, bitcoin could still see redemption, with the likely approval of a bitcoin ETF by the SEC seen as a catalyst.

Intercontinental Exchange recently announced the launch of the new Bakkt bitcoin daily futures contract set for Dec. 12.

"The Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contract is a physically settled daily futures contract for bitcoin held in Bakkt LLC, ICE's Digital Asset Warehouse, and will be cleared by ICE Clear US, Inc," the exchange said.

Given favorable developments including bitcoin futures, a bitcoin ETF could become a reality in the late first quarter of 2019, Ran Neu-Ner, host of CNBC's "Crypto Trader," recently tweeted.

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