In October of 2008, the whitepaper for the world’s leading decentralized peer-to-peer electronic money, bitcoin, was released. It was essentially an academic paper named “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” released by an anonymous entity Satoshi Nakamoto. Nobody knows if it was just one person or a group of people. Although not a physical currency, bitcoin carries value in the digital space. It is not backed by gold or any other asset, it is just something that people consider valuable in the digital space. Bitcoin is not a company or an organization. So it does not have a CEO. Although there is a bitcoin foundation that is in place for the development of this space.
January 3rd, 2009 was the day when the bitcoin network went live for the first time. The very first block, or the genesis block, was mined on January the 3rd. So what was bitcoin’s price back in 2009? From 2009 to up until May of 2010, the price of bitcoin stayed below the $0.01 mark and that is the cheapest price of 1 BTC ever.
At the inception of all this, the value of the first bitcoin transactions was decided on a bitcoin forum as 10,000 BTCs were used to buy two pizzas from Papa John’s on May 22nd, 2010.
After climbing slowly, bitcoin reached the $1 mark in the early months of 2011. 2011 also saw bitcoin surge to $31 before coming down to $2 again. A short bull run among many that were about to come. The linear path for bitcoin then went on again as the crypto asset started to climb up the ladder in terms of its price with volatile and uncertain behavior shown in between.
In 2013, bitcoin was roaming around in the $100 range. After gaining much traction in the online world, bitcoin crossed the $1,000 mark for the very first times in November of 2013.
2014 saw one of the most notorious hacks of the Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Mt. Gox. The hack resulted in the loss of a large amount of money and this hack marred the reputation of the asset to a very large extent. In the coming years, uncertainty loomed around the asset as it largely stayed below the $1,000 mark. And then came 2017.
The year of 2015 and 2016 recorded an overall bear market for bitcoin with low trading volumes and price range of $250 to $750.
2017 proved to be one of the most exciting years in crypto. It saw the most historic bull run in the world of crypto. Up until October of 2017, bitcoin saw steady growth in the early thousands and a sudden drop was seen at the end. But in November and December, bitcoin shot up aggressively. Crossing the $6,000, $7,000, $10,000 in a matter of weeks, bitcoin was almost touching the $20,000 mark in December. The highest price that bitcoin ever saw was $19,783.21, and that was on December 17th, 2017. Soon after touching this mark, bitcoin took the downward road again.
At the start of year 2017, bitcoin was trading at $960 and at the end of the same year, 1 BTC touched the peak price of $19,783, according to Coin Market Cap data.
2018 overall proved to be quite bearish for the cryptocurrency market. The entire market came crashing down as different crypto projects struggled to survive. At the time of writing in early 2019, bitcoin is floating around the $3,474 mark. A price much lower than its peak of December 2017.
Many people have gotten rich from this journey of bitcoin up until now. Winklevoss twins are one of the most prominent in this regard and probably made the most money from bitcoin. The brothers made an $11 million dollars investment in bitcoin back in 2013 and the current number of bitcoins Winklevoss twins own is unknown. The investment seems pretty worthy now. It is often rumored that the brothers hold around 1% of all the bitcoins in circulation. Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonym for the creator of bitcoin, is also believed to be holding the most or at least a large number of bitcoins and Satoshi is considered to be the wealthiest bitcoin owner.
Currently, at the time of writing, 17,505,600 bitcoins are in circulation (bought & sold or traded) and the total number of bitcoins that can ever be mined is 21,000,000. After an average of 10 minutes, 12.5 more bitcoins are added into the network by the miners and there are around 3,400,000 bitcoins left to be mined.
The 10 years challenge for bitcoin proved to be quite an exciting one. A lot of ups and downs were seen. Let’s see how the next 10 years unfold… if there are going to be any.