1 November will mark the 10th anniversary of the birth of bitcoin, for it was on this day that the white paper was published which first mentioned an ‘electronic cash system’, which would of course go on to become bitcoin. So just what has happened over the past 10 years? And more importantly what does the future hold for bitcoin and cryptocurrency?
It was on the 18 August 2008 that the domain bitcoin.org was first registered, with the owners being Martti Malmi and of course Satoshi Nakamoto. A couple of months later on 31 October 2008 was when the infamous white paper was published. What has happened since then to bitcoin and the blockchain technology that it runs on is nothing short of incredible.
A brief history of bitcoin
As mentioned it started out as an ‘electronic cash system’ which kickstarted a whole new era of technological innovation, and most importantly, disruption. Over the past decade the technology and bitcoin itself has become more and more widespread, having an effect on a number of various different industries.
After the initial creation of bitcoin it was on 12 January 2009 that the first bitcoin transaction took place when Nakamoto sent Hal Finney 10 BTC as a test. It was not until October the following year, two years after the birth of bitcoin, that it was first used to purchase physical goods. The transaction of course has become well known, as Laszlo Hanyecz purchase two pizzas for a staggering 10,000 BTC.
Of course at that time 10,000 BTC really wasn’t worth that much, but it of course serves as an important marker for the enormous growth that bitcoin has enjoyed. It was in February 2011 that bitcoin first reached parity with the US dollar in terms of value. It was at this moment that the value really started to soar, and an incredible four months saw the price of one bitcoin shoot up from $1 to just under $32.
There were of course some downs as well as ups over the past ten years, none more so that when the infamous Silk Road website was shut down. The website, which operated on the dark web, was selling a number of illegal items such as drugs and weapons and accepting bitcoin as payment. This led to the FBI seizing over 26,000 BTC, with the fallout from the whole event seeing the price of BTC fall from $139 to $109 in an afternoon.
The whole Silk Road saga didn’t have a negative effect in the long term though, and in late 2013 the price reached parity with an ounce of gold, about $1000 at the time. This turned out to be little more than a spike though and it soon dipped down to around the $600 mark where it sat for around the next two months.
Bitcoin becomes mainstream
In the years that followed bitcoin started to become more mainstream, with one of the big milestones coming when Microsoft announced that it would begin to accept BTC payments. Bitcoin also featured on the front page of the Economist, some five years after the release of the white paper.
It seemed that it was now really starting to gain some momentum, and it was the beginning of 2017 that saw the start of bitcoin’s spectacular bull run. Just after the new year the price broke the $1000 mark, but this was only a small taster of what was to come.
After reaching $5000 in September, a few weeks to turbulence followed, mainly due to the fact that China had announced its plan to ban all cryptocurrency, as well as the JP Morgan CEO announcing that bitcoin was a ‘fraud’.
Like the previous dips in price though, it turned out to be short lived and in November the price hit an incredible $11,000. This was nothing compared to what would follow in December though, as the price almost doubled and hit an all-time high of $20,000.
A tough 2018
Of course, we don’t need to mention what was to follow in 2018 as bitcoin endured its toughest year to date with the price dropping considerably. There are a number of factors which are to blame for this, with a lot of this being due to worries about regulation, as well as high profile cases such as Facebook and Twitter banning advertising related to cryptocurrency.
Despite the troubles of 2018, let’s not forget just how much bitcoin has grown since its inception though, and of course the many uses that have been found for blockchain technology. The use of blockchain technology is no doubt going to experience huge growth in the future as more and more industries and businesses begin to realise what this technology can do for them.
The bright future of bitcoin
So what does the future hold for bitcoin? Even though 2018 has been a turbulent year, there are still a lot of reasons to be hugely optimistic about the future. On October 17 bitcoin enjoyed its highest level of stability for 12 months, something which prompted experts to announce a positive forecast for the future.
There is also a widespread belief that perhaps as regulation becomes tighter in the future it will see an increase in prices as trust levels begin to rise. This coupled with the aforementioned growth in the use of blockchain technology across a number of industries, means that the future could be very bright indeed.
Of course there is no denying that it has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride over the last ten years, in particular over the past two years. One thing that remains a constant though is the strength of bitcoin in the face of its competitors as it is the original and still remains the strongest of the pack. Having said that over 1000 cryptocurrencies have been launched since 2008, and it seems love them or loathe them they are here to stay for the unforeseeable future.