Bitcoin has had many impressive achievements within its fist six and a half years, but with the help of historyofbitcoin.org to find some key dates of events, here are the Top 10 Moments in Bitcoin history. Some were good, some were bad, some were ugly, but all were memorable … so memorable that many have even transcended the Bitcoin space and reached the mainstream’s consciousness. So let’s take a walk down Bitcoin’s Memory Lane, shall we?
The creation of Bitcoin
Such a “technological tour de force as Microsoft founder Bill Gates once said about Bitcoin, is not easily brought to life by even the smartest among us. There are small pieces to the Bitcoin puzzle that led up to the Genesis Block in 2009 that created this historic event.
Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto is the most mysterious part of Bitcoin’s early history, as he has only been found is some email messages to people like Hall Finney and Mike Hearn (certainly not be Newsweek). Bitcoin development was rumored to have begun in 2007, but real progress is seen in August of 2008, when Neal Kin, Vladimir Oksman, and Charles Bry file an application for an encryption patent application.
Although some aspects are similar to the Bitcoin product to come, no direct connection to Bitcoin or Nakamoto is made. This would not be terribly relevant if the domain bitcoin.org was not registered three days later, anonymously.
On Halloween, October 31, 2008, the official white paper for the design of Bitcoin was published on metzdowd.com. The eight-page outline shows how the Byzantine General’s Theory, previously unsolved for decades, and issues with double spending have been solved by this new Bitcoin invention. Andreas Antonopoulos touts it as the best such research paper he’s ever read, revealing how Bitcoin is not just a currency, but a new technology destined to change the world. Block 0 is mined on January 3, 2009, and Bitcoin is officially invented.
Bitcoin’s first transaction
Nine days later, the first ever transaction in Bitcoin is made between founder Satoshi Nakamoto and cryptographer Hal Finney. This founding father of Bitcoin actually created the first proof of work system even before Bitcoin came to be. Sadly, not long after this historic moment, he was diagnosed with ALS, which would claim his life almost exactly five years later in 2014, at the age of 58.
The first Bitcoin currency exchange is created
And no, it wasn’t Mt. Gox, which would turn out to be the largest Bitcoin exchange in history, but not the first. The first was called the Bitcoin Market, and was created just over a year after Bitcoin was born, on February 6, 2010 by “dwdollar." The beginning of a real-world market value for the digital currency has begun.
The Pizza Purchase
The first retail purchase on May 22, 2010 is probably the most famous story in Bitcoin history. Jacksonville, Florida Bitcoin “miner” Laszlo Hanyecz pays 10,000 Bitcoins that he mined himself for two pizzas. At the time, Bitcoin did technically have an exchange rate of a few cents, but who knew that? The purchase price for the pizza was approximately U$25. Selling 10,000 units of unknown computer code for two real pizzas seemed like a great deal at the time.
“It wasn’t like Bitcoins had any value back then, so the idea of trading them for a pizza was incredibly cool,” Mr. Hanyecz told the New York Times recently.
The year of 2010 sees many first for Bitcoin, including the first escrow transaction (October 16), the first mobile transaction (December 8) and the first time Bitcoin’s total value exceeded US$1 million on November 6, with each bitcoin trading for approx. US$0.50. Bitcoin is now a real currency.
Silk Road Opens Its Doors
The Silk Road chapter in Bitcoin history begins in 2011 with the “Dark Web” release of the infamous Silk Road website. Known as the “eBay for drugs,” everything from contract killers to story writers is allegedly marketed here to those who frequent the Internet’s underbelly.
The largest marketplace for Bitcoin use due to its pseudonymous nature, hundreds of millions of dollars of illegal items, services, and bitcoin are traded over its almost 3 year existence. Creator by Ross Ulbricht, Ulbricht operated online under the handle “Dread Pirate Roberts,” but claims he was not in control of the site for most of its lifespan.
In October of 2013, the U.S. authorities shut down Silk Road with the arrest of Ulbricht, and in June of 2015, Ulbricbht is given life in prison for multiple offenses while forfeiting US$183 million. The evolution of the site’s history, along with its founder, is chronicled in Alex Winter’s “Deep Web” documentary, released shortly after Ulbricht is sentenced in New York.
BitPay Launches in May, 2011
The largest merchant services provider in Bitcoin history began in the spring of 2011, offering new services like the first smartphone wallet. BitPay signed many of Bitcoin’s largest partnerships, including WordPress, Newegg, and the St. Petersburg College Football Bowl, thus creating “The Bitcoin Bowl”. Of the over 100k merchants who use bitcoin, over 60,000 work with BitPay, worldwide.
Bitcoin “To the Moon” in late-2013
Bitcoin’s momentum builds in USD value over the first four years, but suddenly rises from US$125 in September of 2013 to over US$1,100 at the end of November, 2013. This is due to many factors, including the introduction of China exchanges and miners to the ecosystem, and the questionable price management and dealings of the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange at the time, Mt. Gox. Market capitalization value goes from US$1.5 Billion to US$13.5 Billion from October 1 to November 30, 2013, according to coinmarketcap.com
Mt. Gox & Bitcoin Price Collapse
Opened under its original owner Jed McCaleb on July 17, 2010, word on the street of Mt. Gox’s instability, mismanagement of funds, and lack of security culminate in the collapse in February of 2014. Lack of consumer confidence in the exchange begins to erode the price from its peak in November. At the time of the collapse, over 850,000 bitcoins are reported by owner Mark Karpeles to have been stolen, attracting Japanese authorities to investigate. Karpeles is arrested in the summer of 2015 in relation to the findings of the investigation.
The largest exchange collapse in Bitcoin history attracts mainstream media news
Worldwide, destroying bitcoin market confidence as the price plummets throughout 2014. The USD price reaches a 16-month low in January of 2015 before resuming its habitual upward movement once again. This is yet another example of the forecast of Bitcoin’s demise, only to be proven wrong over 100 times, to date.
Microsoft accepts Bitcoin
It was formally announced on December 11, 2014 that the world’s largest computer retailer, Microsoft, is accepting bitcoin as a form of payment, in association with BitPay, their payment processor. Strangely, a press release was not offered before or during this process, and only after Microsoft users began to see the payment option did word go viral online, forcing a formal announcement by both companies.
“The use of digital currencies such as bitcoin, while not yet mainstream, is growing beyond the early enthusiasts. We expect this growth to continue and allowing people to use bitcoin to purchase our products and services now allows us to be at the front edge of that trend,” said Microsoft in their statement.
NASDAQ agrees to begin using Bitcoin’s Blockchain technology
NASDAQ, the world’s second largest financial stock exchange, agrees to begin trials on a blockchain-backed version of the group's Private Market for trading pre-IPO company's shares on June 24, 2015. Working with API developer Chain, NASDAQ’s Private Market will begin issuing, cataloging, and managing transactions of their privately issued shares through blockchain technology.
This agreement expands the scope, perception, and value of Bitcoin’s blockchain technology, inspiring other major financial entities to begin their own research.
2015 represents the opening period when the largest commercial banks, payment providers like Visa, and venture capitalists begin investing, training, and building their interests in Bitcoin technology for many years to come.