It has been a decade since bitcoin was introduced to the world. This pioneer cryptocurrency sparked hysteria among retail investors last year. Although it was founded to bypass them, it caught the attention of some of the world’s most powerful institutions. But in these ten years the cryptocurrency had a bumpy ride. Here are some of the most notable events in bitcoin’s timeline:
On Oct. 31, 2008, bitcoin was created by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto and over the past decade it evolved from an anti-establishment move to a household name on the Wall Street. Bitcoin’s original intention, according to its white paper, was “purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution”. Satoshi’s vision resolved the ‘double spending’ problem that other unsuccessful digital currencies, like e-Cash or DigiCash couldn’t handle.
After its commencement, by 2009 the first 50 bitcoins, known as the “Genesis block,” were mined. The first-ever bitcoin transaction happened when Satoshi Nakamoto sent 10 bitcoin to the late software developer Hal Finney.
In May 2010, a programmer from Jacksonville, Florida, paid 10,000 bitcoins for a pizza which at that time, using bitcoin’s newly established exchange rate, was worth about $25, according to CoinDesk. On 15 August, a major vulnerability in the system was exposed. A highly unusual transaction was noted by bitcoin developer Jeff Garzik, who acknowledged it by saying: “We’ve had a problem here”.
The debut of Litecoin, Namecoin and Swiftcoin marked the emergence of new cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile another smudge on bitcoin’s reputation appeared after claims emerged that it was being used on a dark web marketplace such as Silk Road that facilitated transaction for illicit goods.
Cryptocurrencies begin to enter the popular consciousness and the popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, was founded.
Bitcoin holders failed to reach a consensus on a new rule for transactions, resulting in the blockchain literally splitting up into two. For the next six hours before it got resolved, there were effectively two Bitcoin networks operating simultaneously, each with its own version of the transaction history.
Meanwhile, various countries were attempting to come up with the best ways to deal with cryptocurrencies. Thailand banned bitcoin, declaring that trading in the cryptocurrency was illegal. Germany did not accept it as an official currency but rather as a ‘unit of account’ resulting in the possibility of a framework to tax bitcoin-based transactions. The People’s Bank of China refrained financial institutions from using bitcoins at all, prompting a dip in value. The first bitcoin ATM was founded in Vancouver, Canada.
The Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange Mt Gox went offline and filed for bankruptcy protection, leaving investors out of pocket. In spite of this, as a testimony of bitcoin’s growing popularity, Microsoft allowed users to buy games with the currency.
Many new cryptocurrencies emerged, including Ethereum. Bitstamp, a European based bitcoin exchange got hacked, but it promptly resumed trading a few days later by assuring the customers that their funds were safe.
Cryptocurrencies continued to become more mainstream and popular. The number of bitcoin ATMs nearly doubled in a year. In Argentina, Uber switched to bitcoin payments for their services. Furthermore, the Swiss national railway and software website Steam were among new entrants who started accepting the currency.
The DAO (decentralised autonomous organisation), a stateless venture capital fund on the ethereum blockchain, was created in May. It was hacked a month after its launch and a third of its assets was siphoned off. This resulted in a fork in the in Ethereum blockchain, which gave rise to Ethereum and Ethereum Classic.
The much anticipated Bitcoin cash ‘hard fork’ took place which splits bitcoin into two derivative cryptocurrencies namely BTC and bitcoin cash. While, Japan passed a law to make bitcoin a legal payment method, Skandiabanken in Norway integrated bitcoin accounts and considered it as an investment asset and payment system.
Samsung confirmed that it would be making chips to mine coins. Numerous European governments came together to cooperate on regulating cryptocurrency. Ripple launched an app along with Santander for enabling effective international money transfers.
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