Happy Birthday Bitcoin! Here’s How The Cryptocurrency Became A Mainstream Force In 10 Years

The digital currency was founded by Satoshi Nakamoto

A gold coin with a dollar sign made using a "B" visually represents the digital cryptocurrency Bitcoin alongside U.S. one dollar bills.
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The digital currency was founded by Satoshi Nakamoto

October 31 is commonly known as Halloween, a holiday to celebrate all things spooky. But to an ever-growing number of people, today’s date celebrates another important holiday in the world of digital currency.

Halloween 2018 marks the 10th anniversary of the founding of bitcoin, the world’s first cryptocurrency, Business Insider reported.

In 2008, the digital coin’s mysterious founder, Satoshi Nakamoto, published a nine-page academic style paper entitled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.” The paper would go on to act as a quasi-constitution for the crypto world, essentially being its “founding text for cryptocurrency,” and leading to the world’s first bitcoin transaction as early as 2009.

Because of how little bitcoin was worth at it’s conception — a fraction of a cent — it’s difficult to say by what ratio the price of the coin has increased over the last 10 years. Based on Bitcoin’s current price of about $6,300 per coin, and its early prices being less than a penny, Business Insider reported that a “conservative estimate” would see its value “increasing more than 1 million fold in the last decade.”

The first bitcoin trade was believed to have potentially been made between it’s founder, Nakamoto, and developer Hal Finney in 2009. Because the first transactions were done privately, however, nobody really knows for sure. According to Business Insider, many have speculated that Finney, who died in 2014, may have actually been Satoshi — whose true identity is still unknown.

The coin’s usage had a slow start, and did not gain mainstream attention until May 2010, on a day that has since become known as “Bitcoin Pizza Day.”

According to Business Insider, Laszlo Hanyecz purchased two Papa John’s pizzas from another bitcoin enthusiast on May 22, 2010. Hanyecz traded 10,000 bitcoins for the pies, conducting what is believed to be the first “real-world bitcoin transaction.” That sale in 2010 is now worth an estimated $63 million.

Fast forward to 2013 — when bitcoin experienced the first of several “hyperinflation incidents,” spiking its value from $100 per coin to $1,000 in over a month.

Despite its worth being halved over the next few months after the dramatic increase, the spike drew mainstream media attention, changing the minds of several skeptics. One such skeptic was Business Insider contributor Joe Weisenthal, who penned the now well-known op-ed piece “I’m Changing My Mind About Bitcoin” after having called it a “joke” just weeks before.

Over the next three years the value of bitcoin fluctuated between $250 and $650. During that time, however, Mt. Gox — the first bitcoin exchange — experienced a collapse after hackers stole close to $500 million of bitcoin and $30 million of cash deposits.

The hack is still the largest ever experienced in the crypto world, and exposed its “massive security flaws,” as it provides “little to no financial protection” for its users.

According to Business Insider, bitcoin truly “hit the mainstream” last year when the cryptocurrency’s value increased from about $1,000 to $20,000 in just a matter of months.

2017 also saw financial institutions making a public effort to get involved in the crypto business, with the CME and Cboe — two US exchanges — creating platforms for their customers to trade bitcoin. Many major banks also announced crypto projects.

But what goes up must come down, and between the last month of 2017 and the end of January 2018 the value of bitcoin had decreased 50 percent, falling from around $20,000 to $10,000, and continuing to fall until eventually stabilizing at around $7,000 per coin. According to Market Trader, on its 10-year anniversary, bitcoin is trading at $6,305 per coin.

However, there are still many concerns about its future, including from bitcoin’s “patient zero” — Wences Casares.

“It may work, it might not work,” he told Bloomberg earlier this week. “We are in the equivalent of 1992 for the internet.”

While its value has experienced several ups and downs over the last decade — and there is still wariness about its future — one thing is certain. Bitcoin, and the larger crypto world, has “truly entered the mainstream consciousness.”