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Bitcoin's genesis block is nearly a decade old. Mined on January 3rd, 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto, the genesis block contained the world's first 50 BTC block reward. It's received more than a thousand transactions to date, mostly through people adding BTC to its existing address.
Nobody knows who created Bitcoin in its current incarnation. We know that Bitcoin was ostensibly created by Satoshi Nakamoto, but opinions are divided on who that actually is (or whether Satoshi is actually a group of people).
The genesis block's codebase includes a secret nod to The Times. Embedded in the genesis block's code is a quote saying "03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks". Possibly a joke in disguise, it's an excerpt from a Times article on reserve banking that was published around the same time bitcoin was conceived.
In 2010, Bitcoin's only major vulnerability was found (and fixed). The vulnerability skipped the requirement for verifying transactions before they were included in the blockchain, and in the middle of that year, the vulnerability was exploited and 184 billion bitcoins were generated as a result.
A fraction of Bitcoin is called a "Satoshi". The unit of measurement is named after Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto and is equivalent to one hundred millionth (0.00000001 BTC) of one Bitcoin.
The founder of Bitcoin is likely a billionaire today. Bitcoin's creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, is estimated to hold more than 980,000 bitcoins which, at current market prices, would be worth around $5.8B today. If true, then Nakamoto isn't just a billionaire - he (or she) is one of the richest people in the world.
There will never be more than 21 million bitcoins. Why only 21 million? That hasn't been explained by Satoshi, but we do know that the number of bitcoins mined will decrease by 50% per year for approximately the next four years.
The first recipient of a Bitcoin transaction was legendary PGP developer Hal Finney. Interestingly enough, Hal Finney also happens to be one of the primary suspects in the search for Satoshi Nakamoto.
In 2010, a crypto developer paid for one pizza with 10,000 bitcoins. At market rates, that'd be worth $66M - making it likely the most expensive pizza ever paid for, and the first one paid for with crypto.
The first true cryptocurrency was actually invented all the way back in 1983 by cryptographer David Chaum. He was one of the pioneers in the crypto research space, and Digicash was the product of that research.
ASIC miners haven't always been a part of the crypto mining industry. Although Bitcoin was invented in 2009, ASIC miners didn't come onto the scene until roughly 2013, when the first ASIC miners began to be released.
Bitcoin's codebase contains 77,000 lines of code, primarily written in C++. This makes Bitcoin a fairly lightweight network compared to other apps and operating systems (for example, Linux's kernel contains over a million lines of code).
More than a year after launch, the value of Bitcoin was still just 4 cents. Its status as an underground payment method meant demand stayed tepid until mining and other technological advancements helped the technology break into the mainstream.
Namecoin was the first altcoin launched after Bitcoin's founding. It was the first fork of Bitcoin, and was released in 2011. The total supply of Namecoins, coincidentally, is also 21 million.
With computing power of more than 2M petaflops, Bitcoin is more powerful than the world's fastest supercomputers. As the network is distributed in nature, computing power isn't centralized like most supercomputers, however.
On Bitcoin, a new "block" of coins is solved for every five minutes. This number will increase though, as time goes on and coins get more difficult to mine.
The first ASIC-resistant cryptocurrency to launch was Bytecoin, launched in mid-2012. This means that the cryptocurrency can’t be mined by ASIC miners, which contribute to an imbalance in the crypto mining ecosystem.
Ripple launched in 2012 to service the growing demand for crypto-related financial services. It's now one of the largest crypto companies in the world, with a market cap in excess of $20B (as of November 2018).
Coinbase launched in 2012, just three years after Bitcoin's inception. It has quickly become one of the industry's most influential and innovative companies, and is well-known for its crypto wallet and exchange services.
The total value of all Bitcoin exceeded $1B for the first time in 2013 (the market cap today is now over $110B)
Bitfinex and Bittrex are among the world’s oldest crypto exchanges, but by most estimates they control roughly 2% of the world’s total Bitcoin supply.
The total value of all Bitcoin exceeded $1B for the first time in 2013 (the market cap today is now over $100B)
The University of Nicosia in Cyprus was the first university in the world to accept tuition payments in crypto.
In its early days, Bitcoin facilitated most donations to WikiLeaks. Due to government sanctions, the organization was forced to accept payments in crypto, leading many would-be donors to get familiar with the technology.
The FBI netted more than $45M in the first-ever mass auction of Bitcoins, which were seized in a massive raid on the underground Silk Road website.
In November of 2013, the value of Bitcoin surpassed that of gold for the first time, breaching the barrier of ~$1250 to become even more valuable than the precious metal.
In 2013, Bitcoin owner James Howell famously lost a hard drive containing his private keys for 7,500 bitcoins. Today, those tokens would be worth around $50M.
In an early study done of Bitcoin, it was found that a single transaction of Bitcoin took around 4,000 times as much energy to execute as a credit card transaction.
The Winklevoss twins didn't just get involved in Facebook early on, they also pursued Bitcoin in its early days. The twins invested in Bitcoin when it was at $9, and have been holding onto their crypto assets ever since.
Lamborghini became the first car company to accept payment in Bitcoin, which led to its popularity among crypto enthusiasts.
The importance of securing one's private keys came into the forefront in mid-2013 after a Bloomberg reporter mistakenly revealed his private key during an on-air broadcast. The reporter's wallet was promptly hacked, and he lost thousands of dollars as a result.
Renowned economist Milton Friedman predicted the rise of Bitcoin during the dotcom boom. Friedman famously said that a digital currency would soon begin to supplant fiat, and just a decade later, the crypto revolution started.
The world's first Bitcoin ATM opened in Vancouver, Canada in late 2013. It's reportedly no longer in operation, though. Check out this map for a list of all the Bitcoin ATMs near you.
Traveling to space with Bitcoin became possible in 2013 after Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic announced that they would be accepting payment for space flights in Bitcoin.
The first acquisition carried out with Bitcoin was the purchase of startup SatoshiDice for $12.4M in 2013.
Bitcoin was exempted from VAT for the first time in Belgium in early 2014. This is the first time that the cryptocurrency was recognized as a true currency by a foreign government - and treated as such in its legal system.
In 2014, the EU published its first investigative report on "virtual currencies" and for the first time recommended regulation in the space.
Elliptic launched the first institutional crypto product in 2014, an insured Bitcoin storage service for financial institutions.
The FBI has maintained its own crypto wallet ever since the early days. It's used for storing seized tokens, and at last measure, stored more than 144,000 BTC (worth nearly $1B USD at today’s market rate).
In 2013, the infamous term “hodl” was coined by a cryptocurrency forum user in Japan. The term quickly went viral, and is now used to refer to someone who holds onto cryptocurrency for the long term.
Mt Gox, formerly the world's largest crypto exchange, was hacked for millions of dollars in mid-2014, and was forced to shut down trading shortly after. At the time of the hack, it was the largest ever in the crypto community.
China's central bank banned its banks from conducting transactions in Bitcoin for the first time in 2013. The ban sent Bitcoin prices plunging, but they quickly recovered after the ban was reversed months later.
In November 2013, the price of Bitcoin surpassed $1,000 for the first time, marking a new milestone for the cryptocurrency.
In August of 2013, Bitcoin's role as both a currency and a store of value was confirmed in a US court ruling for the very first time.
The first Bitcoin regulation was issued by FINCEN (the United States's financial enforcement network) in the form of a white paper with recommendations for anyone purchasing or using virtual currency.
Satoshi Nakamoto has actually been nominated for a Nobel Prize. While he didn't win, the enigmatic creator of Bitcoin was nominated for a Nobel Prize in Economic Science.
November 2012 saw the first-ever "halving day" take place, as the reward for mining a block of Bitcoin decreased by 50% for the first time.
Bitcoin was classified as property for the first time by the IRS in early 2014, making tax implications a key consideration of crypto investors from that point onward.
In early 2015, Coinbase became the best-funded crypto company of all time after it raised $75M in Series C funding from the New York Stock Exchange and other investors.
China's dominance in the Bitcoin mining space began in early 2016, as a mining pool called Antpool launched. Soon after launch, it controlled around 20% of the world's mining supply.
In 2014, Air Baltic became the first airline to accept Bitcoin as payment for flights.
The cryptographic hash function that plays an instrumental role in the encryption of Bitcoin is called SHA256.
In 2015, Ethereum saw its official mainnet release take place, and it quickly gained popularity in the crypto community for its ability to run Dapps and other applications on its network.
Ethereum was initially incorporated in Switzerland, but the organization now has a distributed team of software developers working on the project around the world.
Litecoin is well-known for its lower processing times, relative to Bitcoin. While a Bitcoin transaction can take up to 10 minutes to process, Litecoin transactions generally take less than 3 minutes.
Bitcoin reached its all time high value on December 17, 2017, as it briefly reached $19,783.21 before plummeting more than 30% in the weeks that followed.
The 30% drop from Bitcoin’s all time high earlier this year remains one of the largest market corrections in recent memory. In total, billions of dollars were taken off of Bitcoin’s market cap during the decline in price.
TRON was one of the first cryptocurrencies to provide public transparency on the number of remaining tokens outside market circulation. In 2017, it released the public address for all remaining tokens to boost transparency and consumer trust.
Litecoin was the first cryptocurrency to support SegWit, a process that helps increase block size and improve transaction performance. It’s now one of the top five cryptocurrencies in the world in terms of market cap.
In 2017, the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance was officially launched. It’s a consortium of blockchain startups and Fortune 500 companies that are looking to spur innovation on the Ethereum blockchain.
80% of the world's Bitcoin mining facilities are now located in China.
Today, there are more than 2,000 cryptocurrencies in existence, and that number is increasing every day (CoinMarketCap is tracking 2,094 cryptocurrencies today)
EOS has become a poster child for the DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization) movement, and put out its Alpha release of the platform in June of this year.
As of August 2018, there were more than 22 million users investing in crypto, as measured by the number of registered wallets presently storing tokens.
In July of this year, BitPay received a BitLicense from the state of New York for the first time ever. The BitLicense, which is the first legal standard of its kind, allows crypto companies to do crypto-related business within the state.
Fidelity Investments is the world’s first Wall Street firm to offer a cryptocurrency institutional trading desk. The new service will be offered to all investors starting next year.
2017 also saw the controversial launch of Bitcoin Cash, a much-heralded alternative to Bitcoin that is intended to be used as a true digital currency. It was created via a hard fork from Bitcoin Core and is now supported by a number of crypto payment service providers.
Telegram owns the record for the largest ICO of all time, and its $1.7B token sale was completed in late March of this year, counting a consortium of 100+ companies and individuals as investors.
Ripple’s network is now one of the fastest crypto platforms on the market today. It can process more than 2,000 transactions per second, a massive increase in efficiency compared to Bitcoin, which can only process roughly 7 transactions per second.
Some cryptocurrencies, despite being digital tokens, are still backed by fiat currency. One example of this phenomenon is Tether, a USD-backed token which become notorious last year due to allegations of “printing digital money” that actually wasn’t backed by dollars.
There’s now a version of Wikipedia on the blockchain. It’s called Everipedia, and it’s build on the EOS platform.
The largest ICO hub in the world is the US, followed closely by Switzerland and Singapore (both of which are the primary destinations for crypto investment in each of their respective regions).
Coinbase is the first crypto company to become fully regulated by the SEC for crypto brokerage. It did this by acquiring financial services firm Keystone Capital for an undisclosed amount.
In early 2018, Binance became the largest crypto exchange in the world. The Malta-based exchange is currently projecting revenues of more than $1B this year.
This summer, IBM and Maersk launched the world’s first blockchain-powered supply chain. Called TradeLens, the platform has already signed up nearly 100 companies to track their supply chains on the blockchain.
The total market cap of the cryptocurrency market is now more than $200B, with daily trading volumes of more than $20B - making crypto one of the most active investment markets in the world.
ICO funding so far this year (2018) has already blown past last year, with more than $7.1B in token project funding raised to date.
In February of this year, a blockchain node was attached to a Chinese satellite and launched into space by Qtum (in partnership with blockchain startup Spacechain).
In mid-2018, HTC announced the world’s first blockchain-powered phone. It is now available for pre-order, with payment only accepted in crypto.
Around 50% of all Bitcoins are considered lost forever, due to either theft or simply loss of owners’ private keys.
Most experts estimate that Bitcoin’s 21 million token limit will be reached sometime in 2140, after which no more tokens will be able to be mined.
Many crypto investors are excited about the potential behind the BAT (Basic Attention) token that was recently released by Mozilla’s former CEO, Brendan Eich. Users are paid in tokens for the amount of time they spend using the Brave internet browser.
It seems likely that crypto will continue to be used as a payment method, particularly in the mobile space. As an example, Litecoin recently announced that its network would support payments using crypto via Telegram.
World Bank is set to deliver the world’s first blockchain-based bonds later this year, which would mark a significant step forward for mass market adoption.
Bitcoin mining giant Bitmain is planning what could become the world’s largest crypto IPO to date, valued at up to $3 billion.
The next 5-10 years will likely see nation-states continue to adopt crypto for federal purposes, such as the government of Venezuela setting up a central bank for crypto.
Even though Bitcoin’s adoption continues to grow, investors may see its value grow at a slower rate on account of a series of bubbles and corrections - and it’s a sentiment echoed by Coinbase’s Brian Armstrong.
Pay-for-play incentive programs seem set to flourish, and there’s now even a scheme that will let you get paid to use Bitcoin’s Lightning Network. True to their name, these programs pay users in tokens for using certain platforms or pieces of technology (such as the Lightning Network).
Blockchain education is just beginning to take off, and Binance is taking the lead by introducing its very own Blockchain Academy, which teaches users how to better understand blockchain technology.
Ripple’s adoption amongst institutional partners is likely to grow rapidly over the next 3-5 years, with key partners like American Express and Visa recently signing up for pilot projects with the company.
A recent report from KPMG stated that blockchain funding this year has already well surpassed last year’s totals, with more than $7B raised to date worldwide.
From Bitcoin mining to new payment protocols, Asia seems set to be ground zero for crypto innovation in the near future. A prominent Singapore VC firm recently set up a dedicated blockchain fund fo the region, and other investors are joining in as well.
Switzerland’s crypto sector will likely continue to grow in the near future, as cities like Zug and Zurich compete to become the blockchain hubs of Europe. There’s heavy competition, though, as both cities vie with the likes of Malta and others to lure the best blockchain talent.
Investment funds launched by crypto companies to foster innovation in the blockchain space are more commonplace than ever - messaging giant LINE recently launched its own $10M venture fund, and companies like Binance and Coinbase have already launched similar funds.
Crypto crime is set to rise as adoption increases. A recent survey by Kaspersky found that $2.3M was stolen by crypto scammers last quarter, and that number is only getting higher by the month. The scams ranged from simple phishing attacks, to sophisticated social media campaigns.
In the next 1-2 years, it seems likely that national stock exchanges will begin to trade Bitcoin themselves, or introduce sanctioned products to support. For its part, Jamaica’s main exchange has announced that it plans to allow fully-sanctioned trading of crypto assets later this year.
Crypto gaming is big business. One fantasy football league, Crown League, recently announced plans to raise $100M in its upcoming ICO.
China is continuing to make big moves in crypto, and will likely be a leader in the space (at least from an investment perspective) in the months to come. One major Chinese city even launched a $1B blockchain investment fund to encourage local entrepreneurs.
According to Binance’s CEO Changpeng Zhao, dApps are still in the earliest stages of development, and it will likely be years before true mass-market dApps are available.
Mass market adoption of crypto is continuing to grow even during a bear market, evidence of its staying power as a financial instrument. Crypto powerhouse Coinbase is now signing up 50,000 users per day!
The last Bitcoin will likely be mined around the year 2140.