It’s been a little more than 10 years since the birth of Bitcoin. Over the past decade, the world of cryptocurrency has seen a fair share of ups and downs. In December 2017, Bitcoin hit a record high of $19 783.06 before it started seeing rapid fluctuations in 2018 and later, plummeted below $5000 in November 2018.
In recent years, cryptocurrency has become more mainstream and technology in this industry is rapidly developing. From gaming coins to decentralised internet coins and even lending coins, a wide range of altcoins are rolled out to solve old and new problems. As 2018 draws to a close, it’s only fitting to revisit 10 key cryptocurrency milestones over the last 10 years:
Satoshi creates first ever bitcoin and blockchain technology (2008)
It’s only appropriate to begin with the very first milestone, when Bitcoin was invented. Bitcoin is the father of all cryptocurrencies and it was created by a mysterious person, or group, Satoshi Nakamoto.
In 2008, Satoshi published his white paper on a mailing list at metzdowd.com which described the Bitcoin currency and explained how it would work. The goal was to invent a “peer-to-peer electronic cash system” and in 2009, the first bitcoin software was launched.
Bitcoin reaches parity with the US dollar (2011)
Before Bitcoin was nvested heavily, like it is now, it was mostly traded between cryptography fans who sent each other Bitcoins. However, when the BitcoinMarket.com exchange was launched in 2010, it gave Bitcoin a chance to rise from obscurity and move towards the mainstream. Interest in Bitcoin grew and from a coin which had no value, Bitcoin achieved parity with the US dollar between February 2011 tp April 2011.
First altcoin: Namecoin (2011)
In the same year where Bitcoin matched and eventually surpassed the US dollar, the first altcoin was created. Namecoin was created by a developer named “Vinced” and was launched in April 2011 and worked towards decentralisation through “protect[ing] free speech rights online by making the web more resistance to censorship.” Namecoin’s creation can also be identified as the first fork in the cryptocurrency world since it is a fork from Bitcoin.
The development of Ripple actually began in 2004 but it was only launched in 2012. Ripple’s development marks an important point in history for cryptocurrency. Since Ripple works with many banks and institutions, many crypto fans identify Ripple as the “banks’ cryptocurrency”. Unlike Bitcoin, Ripple doesn’t work on a proof-of-work algorithm and naysayers to Ripple often point out that Ripple is not “decentralised” which goes against the raison d’être of cryptocurrencies.
Total value of bitcoin exceeds $1 billion (2013)
As the exchange rate for individual units of Bitcoin rose in the market, 2013 marked the year where the total value of all Bitcoins in circulation surpassed $1 billion. The sudden surge in prices could be attributed to the automatic inflation safeguard that was triggered when the total number of Bitcoins reached 10.5 million. This means that the Bitcoin system reduced the rate which new coins can be mined by 50%.
Overstock first major e-commerce store to accept bitcoin payment (2014)
Bitcoin was mostly traded or mined at this point – it still wasn’t the preferred currency for mainstream transactions. Overstock, however, was the first major e-commerce store to accept payments in Bitcoin. In January 2014, it accepted Bitcoin payments in the US and months later, accepted Bitcoin payments globally. At that point in time, Overstock was a company with $1.3 billion in annual sales. Accepting Bitcoin payment gave the cryptocurrency a chance to increase its reach to a wider audience.
Today, one of Bitcoin’s greatest competitor is Ethereum. The altcoin was created in 2015 and quickly gained popularity. Smart contracts on Ehteruem defined rules and penalties around an agreement and also automatically enforces them. This makes the Ethereum ecosystem attractive for businesses and within a few short years, Ethereum’s price has shot up quickly.
Bitcoin’s value exceeds gold (2017)
As investments and hype for Bitcoin grew, Bitcoin’s prices in the exchange continued to rise. In May 2017, Bitcoin’s value exceeded gold, going above $1 290 per unit. The value of an ounce of gold was $1 228. Bitcoin’s popularity wasn’t the only reason why it surpassed gold in value. In 2017, the Federal Reserve was making active moves to drive the price of gold lower as a rise in interest rates was predicted. That being said, Bitcoin’s growth is still an achievement
33% increase in Bitcoin prices (2018)
In April 2018, Bitcoin prices have risen exponentially. Between 1 April and 1 May, prices of Bitcoin have risen between $6,926 to $9,244 making it the best performing month for BTC in 2018.
Wall Street warming up to Bitcoin (2018)
There’s still a long way to go before Wall Street will give Bitcoin full recognition but there are signs that major financial institutions are starting to accept Bitcoin. In May, the New York Stock Exchange announced that it would allow customers to buy Bitcoin while Goldman Sachs stated their interest in opening up to Bitcoin futures.
In the beginning, Bitcoin was just a currency traded between hobbyists. Now, it’s one of the most talked about digital currencies. Although Bitcoin has had many ups and downs, especially in the exchange market, it has indeed come a long way in the past decade. There’s still a long way to go before Bitcoin can be accepted as part of the mainstream. However, with the progress it’s made thus far, it’s clear that Bitcoin is headed in the right direction.