Eight (and a bit) Years of Bitcoin

bitcoin-495995_640Popular theory dictates that Satoshi Nakamoto, the enigmatic creator of Bitcoin, began working on his game-changing currency way back in 2007 but the wheels didn’t really begin turning on the cryptocurrency until August of the following year, when the first Bitcoin-related website was founded.

A few months later, at the beginning of 2009, Bitcoin became a functional currency when Nakamoto sent an undisclosed amount of Bitcoin to late developer and cryptographic activist, Hal Finney, a man who is remarkable for a number of reasons, not least because he’s currently cryogenically frozen.

Pizza

Bitcoin wouldn’t see a trade of the currency for real goods until the summer of 2010, when a man from Florida spent 10,000 Bitcoins on two pizzas. The man, Laszlo Hanyecz, would be $7.3m richer today if he’d held onto his stash of cryptocurrency; in fact, just three years after Hanyecz’s fateful pizza purchase, each Bitcoin was worth $1,300 – that’s $6.5m per pizza. Hanyecz said the trade was “incredibly cool”.

2010 also saw the first Bitcoin currency exchange founded and the disappearance of Satoshi Nakamoto from the scene. The mysterious inventor has been ‘unmasked’ a number of times since, firstly as cryptocurrency pioneer, Nick Szabo, then as a Japanese man named Dorian Nakamoto, and most recently as Australian, Craig Wright. Somehow, in 2016, the world is still none the wiser about who or what Satoshi Nakamoto is.

Let’s fast forward a bit.

Virgin Galactic

Bitcoin’s value rocketed in 2013, from $13.53 per coin at the end of 2012 to $1,030 at the same point the following year. 2013 also represented the first time that a major corporation began accepting Bitcoin for its services; in this case, space flights from Virgin Galactic. Microsoft, Valve, Expedia, Overstock, Newegg, and lots of other major firms would come to embrace Bitcoin over the next three years.

Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson and Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft with Paul Allen, remain proponents of the currency to this day, with the former suggesting that the technology behind Bitcoin, blockchain, could be used to help prevent fraudulent activity in developing countries around the world.

Safe Haven

Despite that huge surge in value three years ago, 2016 has arguably been Bitcoin’s year, with financial instability in the wake of the presidential election pushing US investors towards Nakamoto’s currency as a ‘safe haven’ for their money. Janus Capital’s Bill Gross also intimated that Bitcoin could provide a better option for investors looking to escape banks pushing negative interest rates.

The recent appearance of websites like Vegas Casino, a Bitcoin-only iGaming company, is testament to just how promising the future of Nakamoto’s currency is. Offering bitcoin roulette casino, as well as other games like poker and slot machines, Vegas Casino is pinning all its hopes on the success of Bitcoin by abandoning fiat currencies altogether.

It’s hard to see anything but additional growth in Bitcoin’s immediate future. British wallet provider, Blockchain, recently posted its biggest month ever in November, reaching 10m users. Pundits have also predicted another rise in the currency’s value, possibly to as much as $1000 per coin in January 2017.

Bitcoin is in its ascendency.

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