Bitcoin / U.S. Dollar

Bitcoin / U.S. Dollar BITSTAMP
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History of BTCUSD

Important events

Feb 162021

Bitcoin breaks $50k!

It's been a bumper year for Bitcoin, and today takes the cake as the price bounces through $50,000 for the first time ever. Looks like those Musk tweets are really doing the trick. The price is already up almost 75% since the start of the year and the bull run shows no sign of slowing down as investors pile back into the currency. BTC hit a high of $50,602.53 on the Bitstamp exchange on February 16, and it just keeps rising: up to $51,721.15 the following day. Will it ever end? Just FYI, if you'd bought $100 of Bitcoin back in 2010 when it was hovering around the 10 cent mark (so call it 1,000 Bitcoins), they'd be worth over $50 million today. Did you do it? Yeah, we didn't either. Doh! Other cryptos are also doing great – Ethereum (ETHUSD) is up 38% on the dollar for the first half of February, while Ripple (XRPUSD) is also up 9%. Looks like Doge Coin is finally coming down from its Musk-induced high, but overall the crypto world is soaring this year, and Bitcoin is leading the charge. “It’s the best-performing asset of the last decade for sure,” said Daniel Polotsky, CEO of CoinFlip.
Feb 082021

Tesla taps in for a big-time bounce

Remember that time when Musk tweeted #bitcoin and the price jumped? Well this time, he actually puts his money where his mouth is with a whopping great corporate investment, sending the stock through the roof. On Monday January 8, Tesla announced in an SEC filing that it had invested $1.5 billion into Bitcoin (BTCUSD) as part of a new investment policy designed to give the company "more flexibility to diversify and maximize returns on cash that is not required to maintain adequate operating liquidity." In other words, they've got deep pockets and they want to have some fun. Under the new policy, Tesla might also invest in other alternative reserve assets including digital assets, gold bullion, gold exchange-traded funds – but Bitcoin was its first power play, and boy did it have a major impact. Opening the day at $38,870, the price jumped over 10% in the first 30 minutes after the 12pm announcement, and by 1pm it was up 16% to over $44,000 and pushing close to the $45,000 ceiling. By Tuesday morning, it was up at over $48,000. Good news for Bitcoin bulls. In yet another headline grab, Tesla also confirmed plans to accept bitcoin as a form of payment for its products in the near future (on a limited basis to start) which it told the SEC that it "may or may not liquidate upon receipt." So basically, Tesla (and by extension, Musk) could very well end up as one of the world's biggest holders of Bitcoin. Or it could end up with some serious control over the Bitcoin price, if it decides to liquidate its receipts. Either way, the move is likely to have a pretty major impact on the crypto market – something that, given the fun Musk has been having recently with his cryptic crypto tweets, is probably a side effect that was very much intended.
The future currency of Earth
Jan 282021

The Musk effect

In yet another example of the crazy influence Elon Musk can wield online, he adds the #bitcoin hashtag to his Twitter profile and the price goes through the roof, gaining almost 11% in a single day and continuing with a further 10% rise the following day. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey did the same, prompting numerous Tweets along the lines of..."what do these guys know that we don't?" It wasn't just the #Bitcoin hashtag that hiked the price though. Elon also tweeted a meme of a dog on a magazine cover, apparently in support of the joke cryptocurrency Dogecoin, which sent that currency flying also. It's been a funny old week for Dogecoin, which soared by over 60% after a reddit subgroup called SatoshiStreetBets jumped on the bandwagon to try and bump up the price in the same way WallStreetBets had done for Gamestop (GME). It didn't have anything directly to do with Bitcoin, but the currency still saw a knock-on effect of the bump in crypto values.
Jan 272021

Regulators get the jitters

It's been one hell of a ride since Bitcoin topped $40,000 at the start of January, and the currency has fluctuated all over the place. It's lost a quarter of its value since then, dipping briefly below $30,000 on January 22 and again on January 27. And some people are getting the jitters. FCA Chief Andrew Bailey, head of the UK's financial regulator, warned an online Davos panel on January 25 that "Bitcoin's days were numbered" and that although digital innovation in the payments sector was here to stay, he doubted that cryptocurrencies in their current form would continue to exist. "Have we landed on what I would call the design, governance and arrangements for a lasting digital currency? No, I don't think we're there yet," he said. Other bears have also come out with warnings. Guggenheim CIO thinks that the institutional demand isn't "big enough or deep enough" to sustain prices above $30,000, while ex Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein predicted that regulators were likely to be looking very closely at Bitcoin this year, given its recent success. Look closely they will – but that doesn't necessarily mean bad news. US Treasury secretary (and former Chair of the Federal Reserve) Janet Yellen offered up a fairly balanced view to the Senate Finance Committee this month, noting that cryptocurrencies have the potential to “improve the efficiency of the financial system,” and "we need to look closely at how to encourage their use for legitimate activities while curtailing their use for malign and illegal activities." She did, however, promise that she would "work closely with the Federal Reserve Board and the other federal banking and securities regulators" to implement an effective regulatory framework," so a stricter operating environment could very well be on the way...
Jan 112021

Uh oh... down we go...

Bitcoin begins a slide backwards. Cryptocurrencies as a whole have a bad week, with almost $200bn wiped off the market in a single day. Bitcoin loses around 17%, falling back down to a low of $30,261 on January 11 and closing at $35,455.58. Part of the problem was that that regulators were running scared – in the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) warned that people investing in cryptoassets “should be prepared to lose all their money” This went down, unsurprisingly, like a lead balloon in the market, and Bitcoin alone lost about $125bn in market value within 24 hours. It wasn’t the first time the FCA had taken a stand against crypto either - back in October 2020, it banned the sale of crypto-derivatives to retail consumers in the UK. Not everyone is worried though. Upwards cycles usually go through corrections, and a 30% drop was only to be expected, said some observers, with a $30,000 price support even suggesting more potential upside for the future. Optimistic thinking – let’s hope it happens.
Jan 082021

Breaking the $40k barrier

Well, whaddya know. The bull run hasn’t stopped, and Bitcoin bowls into a record-breaking new year by smashing through the $30,000 barrier on January 2 and breaking $40,000 just five days later, before hitting a high of $42,000 on January 8. That’s a 40% gain in the first week of the year. It’s looking good, and the banks are behind the bulls – on January 5, JP Morgan suggested that Bitcoin could realistically reach $146,000 if it started to replace gold in investor portfolios. But be wary. Not everyone is on board, and there are inevitable fears that the bottom could fall out of the market. Michael Hartnett, Chief Investment Strategist at Bank of America Securities, called it the “mother of all bubbles” and compared it to the boom of the late 90s. NYU professor of economics Nouriel Roubini was also skeptical. “The price of Bitcoin is totally manipulated by a bunch of people, by a bunch of whales,” he said. “It doesn’t have any fundamental value. We’re close to the point where the hyperbolic bubble is going to go bust.” But then, his nickname is Dr. Doom, so you'd expect him to be pessimistic...
Dec 312020

Happy New Year!

The year ends on a whopping great high, with Bitcoin nudging $30,000 (hitting a peak of $29,300 on December 31 and closing the year at $28,992. It’s pretty close to what legendary Bitcoin Pundit PlanB predicted all along (though slightly short of the $31,000 he thought it might reach by December 2020). However, it showed that the Stock-to-Flow model he uses is scarily accurate a lot of the time. It treats Bitcoin like a traditional commodity such as gold, and compares its current supply volume with its rate of production – meaning that halvings are pretty important events, even if they can come across initially like an anticlimax. And PlanB is even more optimistic about the future. On December 31 he predicted that between now and the next halving (expected in 2024) the average Bitcoin price would sit at $288,000. That’s one hell of a rise.
Try $5.5T market value
Dec 162020

It’s finally happened!

Crack open the champagne and break out the party hats, because Bitcoin has only gone and done it. Yes, on December 16 the cryptocurrency blows past the $20,000 barrier, barely stopping to say hello before charging on up to reach a record-breaking high of $21,576 – a yearly gain of over 180%. Double whoop. It doesn’t stop there. The currency just keeps on climbing, passing $24,000 on December 21 and $26,000 on December 26. Jeff Dorman, Chief Investment Officer at digital asset investment giant Arca, summarized the situation pretty well, we think. “Bitcoin has graduated from “digital assets playground” to “mainstream global investment”,” he told CoinDesk. “Investors now have the knowledge and means to buy bitcoin themselves, and we are seeing it in real time, which happened quicker than we anticipated.” However, he warned against fund managers jumping too enthusiastically onto the bandwagon. “Very soon, investors will specifically seek out digital asset hedge fund strategies that don’t own any Bitcoin, as they want fund managers to give them exposure to assets that they can’t buy themselves, or don’t know exist. As a result, there is a good chance that actively managed hedge funds and passive indexes built around high allocations to Bitcoin have a very short shelf life.”
Nov 302020

$20k here we come

It looks like all the bulls were on the right track when they called $20,000 by the end of 2020. Bitcoin is very nearly there, edging up with a daily high of $19,864 on November 30 before closing the month at $19,700. It doesn’t hurt that everyone is piling in to praise it to the skies. On November 20 Rick Rieder, chief investment officer of global fixed income at BlackRock, the world’s biggest money manager, said that Bitcoin was here to stay and could “replace gold.” And on November 30, Alliance Bernstein analyst Inigo Fraser-Jenkins had a change of heart, telling clients that Bitcoin had a role to play in asset allocation. It’s still being touted as “digital gold” because of its role in hedging against inflation – but even as gold struggles, Bitcoin continues to rise.
Nov 052020

Bitcoin up 100% on the year

Oh, how the worm has turned. King Bitcoin hits a high of $15,770 in trading today, a gain of over 10% on yesterday’s close, raking in gains of over 100% since the start of the year and taking it to its highest level in three years. Why? Traders seem to think it’s because the Federal Reserve just keeps printing money. As the US election inches nearer and gets ever crazier, the markets are desperately trying to figure out and price in the possibilities. But either way, Bitcoin could be in for a win. "If there is social disorder because of a Trump win, the Fed prints. If the election result is a blue wave and taxes rise, the dollar falls because the Fed prints more, and more and more," Bill Noble, chief technical analyst at Token Metrics, a cryptocurrency research company, told CoinDesk.
King Bitcoin gains over 100% since the start of the year, taking it to its highest level in three years. Photo: William Krause / Unsplash
Oct 212020

PayPal accepts Bitcoin, price hits record high

Bitcoin prices are staying steady at around $10,500-11,000: up about 50% on the year, but not setting the world on fire. And then suddenly, everything changes. On October 21, PayPal launches a new service allowing its 346 million customers to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrency directly from their PayPal account, as well as using it as a funding source across its 26 million merchants. That’s a very big deal indeed, and Bitcoin jumps over 7% straight away to break $12,000 for the first time since August, hitting a record high for 2020 so far. “It’s the sheer scale of PayPal’s reach that is attracting the headlines. This could well go down in history as a watershed moment, the point at which bitcoin goes properly mainstream,” said Jason Deane, an analyst for cryptocurrency analysis firm Quantum Economics. PayPal marked a turning point in the market, and former skeptics pile on board to boost Bitcoin’s rep. On October 26, JP Morgan wrote that Bitcoin had “considerable price upside” – a pretty big U-turn from the days when CEO Jamie Dimon called the currency a “fraud.”
Sep 292020

“Bitcoin is the future of Twitter” says Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey

Speaking at a conference in Norway, the Bitcoin bull (who has previously predicted that Bitcoin could be the world’s sole currency by 2030), says that Bitcoin pointed to a future where “content exists forever, where it’s permanent, where it doesn’t go away.” “The whole spirit of Bitcoin... is to provide a trusted system in a distrusted environment, which is the internet,” he said. Meanwhile, the price still hovered around $11,000.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says Bitcoin points to a future where “content exists forever, where it’s permanent, where it doesn’t go away.” Photo: Mark Warner / Wikimedia
Sep 282020

Bitcoin reaches 88% capacity

Bitcoin miners have created more than 18.5 million BTC, totalling 88% of the 21 million limit. But it’s still going to take over a century to hit 100% due to the ongoing halvings, with full capacity expected in 2140. By the way, as of September 2020 there were over 17,000 Bitcoin millionaires. If you’d bought 85 Bitcoins on August 31, 2015, you too could have had $1 million by August 31, 2020. But most of us were probably out sunbathing somewhere instead.
Sep 032020

And it was all going so well….

What happened? It was all going great, with the price staying steady between $11,000 and $12,000 for the whole of August, and then on September 3 boom, a crash drops the rate right back down to a low of $9,987.86, ending the day at $10,160. It wouldn’t clear $11,000 again for two weeks. So what happened to wipe 10% off its value? According to Coindesk, a notable rise in deposits onto exchanges suggested that some investors could be trying to offload their Bitcoin all at once, which can depress prices. In other news, nine members of the U.S. Congress wrote a letter urging Trump to use blockchain to help with Covid-19 relief; while over in Switzerland the entire canton of Zug decided to allow people to pay their taxes in Bitcoin.
Aug 062020

Congressman is confident

U.S. Congressman Tom Emmer thinks that as we emerge from the catastrophe of COVID, Bitcoin will only get stronger. And it looks like he’s right. Bitcoin, among other “safe haven” assets, climbs steadily over the week. It benefits from fears that Coronavirus stimulus measures could cause heavy inflation, With Bitcoin often used as a hedge against inflation, a lot more people are now looking to crypto. Winning.
U.S. Congressman Tom Emmer thinks that as we emerge from the catastrophe of COVID, Bitcoin will only get stronger. Photo: House Creative Services / Wikimedia
Jul 272020

Bitcoin breaks through $10k. Again.

Prices had been trading pretty horizontally around $9,000 for a while, but Bitcoin finally breaks out at the end of July with an exciting 11.08% price jump on July 27, taking it surging above $11,000.
Jul 222020

Good news for US banks

Good news - US banks can now hold Bitcoin on behalf of their clients, meaning that the traditional main street players can finally get in on the act. Has crypto made the mainstream? The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) confirmed on July 22 that all nationally chartered banks in the U.S. were now allowed to provide custody services for cryptocurrencies. It was a huge deal – although not great news for specialty platforms like Coinbase, who up till now had been the only guys allowed to perform the service.
Good news - US banks can now hold Bitcoin on behalf of their clients. Photo: Steve Pancrate / Unsplash
Jun 212020

Black Swan author trashes Bitcoiners

Nassim Taleb, outspoken economist and author of books including ‘Skin in the Game’ and ‘Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable’, takes to Twitter to trash-talk Bitcoin investors – although it turns out, he actually thinks Bitcoin itself is a pretty good idea. “Almost all Bitcoiners are total idiots, can’t get nuances beyond fortune cookies,” he, quite meanly, tweeted. He was in a slanging match with Bitcoin enthusiast Giacomo Zucco, who believes that Bitcoin needs to be free from state control. It raised an interesting debate around the origins of Bitcoin as a decentralized, libertartion, real-world currency.
I explain in SkinintheGame scale transformations
Jun 202020

Bitcoin traders dominate the market

As of June 2020 11.4 million BTC (about $107bn) are held by long-term investors, reducing the tradeable supply to just 20%. But, says Chainalysis, it’s the 3.5 million that are being actively traded that supply the market and therefore support the price. “Retail traders, whom we categorize as those who deposit less than $10,000 worth of Bitcoin on exchanges at a time, appear to be the large majority, accounting for 96% of all transfers sent to exchanges on an average weekly basis,” found the report. “Professional traders, however, control the liquidity of the market, accounting for 85% of all the USD value of Bitcoin value sent to exchanges.”
Jun 062020

US Pentagon creates Bitcoin-based wargame

An article on The Intercept reveals that back in 2018, the US Pentagon created a wargame scenario called the Joint Land, Air and Sea Strategic Special Program (JLASS), in which disillusioned young Gen Z-ers in the 21st century are recruited to fight the establishment, and rewarded with Bitcoin for their part in the “Zbellion.” Could crypto be the currency of our post-apocalyptic future? Keep an eye on your kids, people…
May 112020

The Third Halving

To the unknowing, it still sounds like something out of an alien horror movie, but halvings are usually pretty good for the Bitcoin price – the first one pushed it from $12 to over $1,000 within a year. The latest, which occurred slightly earlier than expected on May 11, cuts the reward for mining a Bitcoin block from 12.5 to 6.25 Bitcoins. It kickstarted a heck of a lot of volatility in the market, with the price bouncing around all over the place before breaking the $10,000 barrier again on June 1. In fact, a whole lot of people were still pretty sure that it could top $20,000 again by the end of 2020. Crypto analyst PlanB was one of the biggest bulls – he said that the price could reach $100,000 between 2020-24. Now that’s optimism. Although the upside wasn’t as big (proportionately) as earlier halvings, it marked the start of a pretty good summer – with lots of fun stuff happening, including the growth of new investment tools. The second half of June saw record inflows into Bitcoin-based exchange-traded instruments such as Grayscale(OTC-GBTC)’s Bitcoin Trust, the biggest Bitcoin fund by AUM, which as of September 2020 controlled 2.4% of the total global BTC supply.
Apr 302020

A roaring April

Bitcoin is on a roll. The currency is up by 34% since the end of March, nudging $9,500 on April 30 and ending the month at $8,627.32. It’s roaring towards $10,000 again – but why? Well, partly because it was on a bull run before the pandemic hit, and as investors regain their confidence (and the equity markets make a surprisingly strong recovery) it’s just getting back on track. It doesn’t hurt that Fed chairman Jerome Powell doubled down on his commitment to supporting the US economy, pumping in upwards of $6trn in liquidity and promising more if needed. Most Bitcoin investors are now upbeat, with high hopes of hitting $20,000 by the end of the year. "Bitcoin is now trading at a critical inflexion point, where significant Fibonacci retracements, 50-day moving averages and 10-day moving averages converge on the daily chart," said analysts at Stack, an index fund based in Singapore.
Apr 022020

Bitcoin predicted to double

Well-known Bitcoin bull Mike Novogratz, CEO of crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital, tells CNBC’s Closing Bell that if the Bitcoin price doesn’t double by October (from a high of $7,236.39 on 2 April) and reach $20,000 by the end of the year, he’ll “hang up his spurs” and might even give up on the currency. “This is the year of Bitcoin,” he promises. He’s not the only one. Optimistic predictions abound this year, despite the pressures of the pandemic. The 10th edition of the Crypto Research Report (CRR) in June 2020 was also super enthusiastic. Using the “equation of exchange” model, which estimates a target price based on “certain assumptions regarding changes in supply and demand,” it predicted the price of Bitcoin to rise to $19,044 in 2020, $341,000 in 2025, and $397,727 in 2030. A 35-fold gain in five years? We’d take that.
This is the year for bitcoin
Mar 062020

Coronavirus hits cryptos

The plague strikes. Covid-19 crashes into our lives, and markets around the world take a dive. Bitcoin doesn’t escape, falling by over 50% in less than a week as the world moves towards lockdown. On March 12 it dropped from almost $8,000 to below $5,000, losing 39% in a single day. Market liquidity froze up, and investors fled into cash. Amazingly, however, Bitcoin traders got back into the game pretty quickly – by May, the price was back up to pre-pandemic levels, boosted by a massive Fed stimulus plan and 0% interest rates.
Feb 132020

The Wright saga continues

Remember Craig Wright, that Australian crypto guy who claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto back in 2015, to a somewhat sceptical community who basically pushed back with: “er, no you’re not?” Yeah, well he’s back – and he’s not happy. Wright, who claims to be the sole inventor of Bitcoin, now says that the Bitcoin Core developer team are infringing on his intellectual property by making changes to the database. In a blog post on 13 February 2020 he wrote: “As the sole creator of Bitcoin, I own full rights to the Bitcoin registry. People can fork my software and make alternative versions. But, they have no rights to change the protocol using the underlying database.” He also threatened to take legal action against both Bitcoin Core (the group that maintains and develops bitcoin) and Bitcoin ABC (which does the same for Bitcoin Cash (BCHUSD). He hasn’t. But he might. It all makes for good watching.
Feb 052020

Buffet gets his first Bitcoin

Warren Buffet is NOT keen on Bitcoin. In 2018 he rather melodramatically called it “rat poison squared” and in February 2020 he doubles down. "Cryptocurrencies basically have no value," he insisted. "You can't do anything with it except sell it to somebody else. I don’t own any cryptocurrency…I never will.” But that didn’t stop the community from having some fun with him. On February 5, 2020 a group of crypto pioneers including Tron Founder and Bittorrent CEO Justin Sun treated the 90yo Berkshire Hathaway legend to a three-hour charity dinner at the Happy Hollow Club in Omaha, Nebraska. They presented him with a pair of Samsung Galaxy Fold Smartphones loaded with a bunch of cryptocurrencies – and during the meal, Sun sent Buffet his first ever Bitcoin. Looks like he owns some cryptocurrency now after all. In fact, despite Buffet’s bearish stance on Bitcoin, there were rumblings that he could be about to change his tune. He famously shifted his position on gold in 2020, taking a stake in one of the world’s biggest gold miners. Since then, pundits including Max Keiser have predicted that he could do the same for Bitcoin, possibly with a panic buy if/when the price hits $50,000.
(2/12) @WarrenBuffett received his first #Bitcoin!
Feb 022020

Emoji success

Bitcoin makes it to the bigtime. In February, the currency gets its own emoji – revealed by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
#bitcoin cc: @unicode
Jan 142020

A CME partnership to be proud of

CME Group (CME), CME begins trading options on its Bitcoin futures contracts. The next day Bitcoin jumps almost 9% for joy. The launch of contracts on the Chicago-based marketplace was a success which surpassed rival Bakkt in reported volumes within its first day of trading.
Dec 182019

Bitcoin gets a festive boost

Bitcoin gets a nice little Xmas present in the form of a 10% jump on the back of positive market movement leading up to the holidays. Guess we’re not the only ones feeling Christmas cheer. The seasonal boost was kind of expected, after research from digital currency exchange SFOX showed that Bitcoin usually saw a positive market response heading into holiday time. Also in December, YouTube banned all cryptocurrency mistake. Doh. It later apologized, saying it had made the wrong call.
Nov 222019

People’s Bank of China causing chaos

China’s central bank launches a fresh crackdown on crypto currencies, and Bitcoin begins a decline. The People’s Bank of China also warned people of the risk associated with using or trading cryptocurrency, and prices reached a six-month low.
Oct 242019

China gets back in the game

The price jumps after Chinese President Xi Jinping comes out in support of blockchain technology, saying he wants to invest further in cryptocurrencies.
Chinese President Xi Jinping comes out in support of blockchain technology.Photo: Ling Tang / Unsplash
Sep 222019

Bitcoin futures

The New York Stock Exchange launches its long-awaited market for Bitcoin futures through commodity exchange ICE Futures. Back in 2017 the world’s largest futures exchange, the CME, also listed Bitcoin futures, as did the CBOE Futures Exchange (AMEX-CBOE). This time though, the move sent the price tumbling – possibly due to weak trading volumes. Did you know that as of September 2019 there were 5,457 Bitcoin ATMs worldwide? Top of the list were the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Austria, and Spain.
Jul 162019

Republican leaders throw weight behind Bitcoin

On the back of a cryptocurrency hearing held by the US Congress (prompted by the announcement of Facebook’s new digital currency, Libra) a number of Republicans come out in praise of Bitcoin – taking a radically different stance to their Commander-in-Chief. Although most lawmakers were openly critical of Libra, Bitcoin came in for some surprisingly strong support. Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told CNBC at the time: "I like Bitcoin ... The real thing I like when it comes to Bitcoin is I like blockchain because I like the security. I want the government to start using blockchain.” And during his testimony to the House on July 17, North Carolina Congressman Patrick McHenry told Congress that Bitcoin was “an unstoppable force” and efforts to suppress it were “futile.”
Jul 122019

Trump weighs in

President Trump gets involved in a big way. Turns out, he’s not a fan. In a series of aggressive tweets he claims that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are “based on thin air” and accuses them of encouraging “unlawful behaviour.” The price takes a hit – falling from over $12,500 on July 9 to just over $9,000 on July 16. Want to know a fun fact? As of July 2019, Bitcoin's electricity consumption was bigger than Switzerland (over 7 gigawatts). Total Bitcoin mining costs sat at about $360 million per year (2019) – same as the total net worth of Taylor Swift.
Jun 212019

Bitcoin climbs back over $10k

The price continues to climb for a further week, hitting $13,880 on June 26 before sliding back.
May 062019

Taproot upgrade to boost privacy

Genius Bitcoin developer Pieter Wuille unveils two Bitcoin Improvement Proposals (BIP) that could be the next big upgrade for the cryptocurrency, offering major privacy improvements. The proposals sat within Taproot, a code change first proposed by developer Greg Maxwell back in 2018 to improve Bitcoin’s privacy. It was formalized by Wuille in May 2019 as a soft fork, bundled together with an upgrade called Schnorr, which adds a new type of signature. Together, they represented a major step forward for the privacy and scalability of Bitcoin – although there’s still a long way to go, and the full (and very complex) soft fork proposal wasn’t officially formalized until January 2020. Still, the prospect of improved privacy pushed up the price, which rose from a high of $5,755.79 on May 6 to $8,167.50 a week later.
Apr 022019


Now, there have been a couple of April Fool’s jokes that have gone wrong before in the tech world (Elon Musk springs to mind). So you’d think by now they would have figured out that the markets don’t like surprises. This time though, a joke had the opposite effect, and Bitcoin got a bump on the back of it. An April Fool’s article from Finance Magnates pretended that the SEC had finally approved the long-awaited Bitcoin-based ETFs. The post was taken down PDQ, but prices had already begun to climb – and even though the story wasn’t true, they didn’t fall either. There was some speculation that this was because of Bitcoin trading bots, or that automatic keyword searches by traders got people ahead of themselves, but either way it was a great boost for Bitcoin, which carried on with this impressive momentum well into the year.
Tesla Goes Bankrupt
Feb 242019

Pop and drop

After a nice price jump the day before that takes Bitcoin back up above $4,000, the price goes into freefall once more, dropping almost 10% for no obvious reason. Looks like we’d hit bottom though, because this was the beginning of a slow and steady increase for the rest of the year.
Price goes up, price goes down. Photo: Victor Rodriguez / Unsplash
Jan 032019

Bitcoin turns 10

It’s been 10 crazy years since the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto mined the first genesis block back on January 3, 2009 – a decade that has seen lawsuits, drug deals, feuds, forks, and a whole load of serious, never-seen-before wealth creation for the ordinary citizens of Planet Earth. On its 10th birthday, Bitcoin hits a daily high of $3,893.40. It’s not the stratospheric levels of 2017. But don’t worry, because the best is yet to come.
Dec 032018

Mining difficulty drops

Bitcoin’s price enters yet another lengthy decline towards the end of 2018. A hard fork in the Bitcoin Cash (BCHUSD) blockchain makes it worse – although it doesn’t directly impact the original Bitcoin, confidence dips across the crypto market. On December 3 the Bitcoin mining difficulty fell by about 15%, the second-largest drop in history. Why? Because Bitcoin mining difficulty is adjusted to account for how many machines are mining the market at any one time. This is to keep up a consistent 10 minute processing time per block. In general, the difficulty has only gone up since inception, as more and more people enter the game. But after a whole year of bearish performance, the difficulty level fell sharply – a clear loss of confidence. By December 16 the price, which was above $17,000 in January, had crashed to just $3,193.78.
Oct 152018

Big banks mean business

Heads up. After all the drama last month, the big boys really are starting to wake up and show an interest, nine years late to the party. Investment giant Fidelity (FIS) starts up its own institutional platform for crypto trading on October 15. BlackRock (BLK) also revealed plans for a cryptocurrency working group. It didn’t stop the volatility though, and the price continued to yo-yo.
Sep 052018

All press is good press.. right?

September 5 sees another dramatic drop in price of just under 10%, which carries on going for a few days after news that Goldman Sachs is ditching its plan to open a Bitcoin trading desk. The news saw prices drop from $7,353.48 to $6,178.31 by September 8, erasing any gains the price made in August and adding fuel to the “Great Crypto Crash” fire. Although the Goldman CFO stressed that the rumor was “fake news”, and that Goldman had never planned to launch a BTC trading desk in the first place, concerns over the future of the cryptocurrency were growing. Around the same time, a Reddit article revealed that a Silk-Road linked wallet with over 111,000 Bitcoins had been dumped on the market after going missing years ago, driving down the price even further. That’s supply and demand, for you.
Fake news: Goldman Sachs is ditching its plan to open a bitcoin trading desk. Photo: Roman Kraft / Unsplash
Aug 142018

Crypto crash

It’s a bad month. Starting August at $7,726.85, Bitcoin fell to just $5,880 by August 14. In fact, it was a rubbish month for cryptocurrencies in general, which lost about 70% overall. It raised fears over the mental health of all the amateur traders and investors losing money hand over fist as the markets hit panic mode, with reports of increased depression and suicides. Not very cheerful news.
Jul 272018

SEC rejects Bitcoin ET

Bitcoin isn’t having a great time of it, and in July the SEC rejected yet another Winklevoss application for a Bitcoin ET, sending prices down around 3%. And the issues with the SEC weren’t over, becoming a contributor to the volatility that Bitcoin experienced for the rest of the year.
Jun 282018

Advertising ban

UK banking group Lloyd’s (LLOY) and Virgin Money (LSE-VMUK) ban their customers from using credit cards to buy Bitcoin; while Twitter (TWTR), Google (GOOGL), and Facebook (FB) all outlaw crypto advertising. Although they all ended up reversing their decisions pretty quickly, the blanket bans pushed the price back down below $6,000 by the end of June. An ongoing US Justice investigation into crypto price manipulation didn’t help either.
May 232018

Operation Crypto-Sweep

Bitcoin just keeps falling, losing all of its recent May gains. Analysts were bullish leading up to the last week of the month, which saw Blockchain Week take place in New York, but expectations were hit and miss and the price dropped from $8,518.64 to $7,471.18 during the week. Blockchain Week New York is a big deal in the cryptocurrency world, and for the last three years Bitcoin has seen a rise following the event, so it wasn’t completely unlikely that it would do the same this year. Bitcoin wasn’t the only cryptocurrency in trouble, with regulatory concerns pressuring the whole market. That week, both the U.S. and Canadian governments announced major plans for a crack-down on crypto investment schemes in what was named “Operation Crypto-Sweep.” At least 70 investigations were already underway, adding onto the SEC’s efforts to bring a bunch of fraud cases against Bitcoin operators. The movement started a decline that lasted well into June.
Both the U.S. and Canadian governments announce major plans for a crack-down on crypto investment schemes in what was named “Operation Crypto-Sweep.” Photo: Michael Discenza / Unsplash
Apr 122018

Back with a vengeance

After experiencing a dip since March 29, when prices fell over 10% and stayed there, Bitcoin is back with a 14% comeback. The rally was attributed to an increase in buying volume on the day. Bitcoin had been facing worries about a regulatory crack down and tax-related sell-offs before the April tax deadline. When that passed with no major incident, the market gained a bit of confidence back.
Mar 062018

Naysayers come out in force

After such a show-stopping December, there were high hopes for Bitcoin in 2018, but after the currency lost over $3,500 in early March, the mood shifted. Some started proclaiming that the rapid drop in price was the work of a bubble that had to eventually burst. But there were also those who compared it to the Wall Street Crash of 1929. Was the rally just a blip before the whole thing came tumbling down? Clearly, the answer was no, but peeps didn't know that back then. Even Mr Bill Gates, who in 2014 was bullish on crypto, changed his tune and said it was causing deaths in a “fairly direct way” because of its links to terrorist funding and money laundering. Seems a bit melodramatic, but OK.
After the currency lost over $3,500 in early March, the naysayers came out in force. Photo: 傅甬 华 / Unsplash
Feb 012018

Chinese whispers

China totally bans all Bitcoin trading on 1 February and shuts down all mining activity, leading to a massive price slump. Bitcoin crashes almost 40% in value, dropping from over $10,000 at the end of January to $6,914 by 5 February. Plenty of Bitcoin traders, who had made bank during the bull run of 2017, get “REKT” (as they call it in the chatrooms). Not everyone though – players like TheBoot carried on “buying the dip,” legendarily turning 0.6 of a Bitcoin into 300 between March 2018 and June 2019. But Bitcoin is starting to make traditional bankers nervous. Agustín Carstens, head of the Bank of International Settlements (which represents the world’s central banks), in January 2018 labelled Bitcoin a Ponzi scheme that threatened global financial stability. “There is a strong case for policy intervention,” he said. “Appropriate authorities have a duty to educate and protect investors and consumers, and need to be prepared to act.” Oh and by the way, there’s only 20% left! As of January 2018 a solid 80% of Bitcoin had already been mined. The clock is ticking...
Dec 282017

South Korea takes a stand

South Korea, the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency market, suggests it might follow China’s lead and shut down crypto exchanges, calling the market “irrationally overheated.” The move is deeply unpopular, and the price crashes back down to around $12,000 by the end of the year.
Dec 182017

All-time high

Bitcoin tops a record-breaking $20,089, and closes the day at an all-time high of $19,783.06. In a hilarious story to end the year with, some guy called James Howells threw away an old hard drive that contained a wallet with 7,500 Bitcoins on it – worth upwards of $127 million. It ended up in a landfill site, and his local council wouldn’t let him look for it. Sucks for James.
Nov 302017

Bitcoin smashes $10k – but is it real?

In a gigantic jump, Bitcoin went from under $1,000 on January 1, 2107 to $10,840 on December 1: making a whole lot of people very rich (and very happy) in the process. But were the gains real? Some people don’t think so, and University of Texas Professor John Griffin was one of them. He believes that a lot of it was actually due to coordinated price manipulation using another cryptocurrency called Tether (USDTUSD) – and it could have been done by just one rogue trader. He examined millions of transactions on the Bitfinex exchange and found that Tether (USDTUSD) was being used to buy Bitcoin as soon as the price started to fall, in order to bump it back up again. The banks weren’t too impressed either. JP Morgan Chase (NYSE-JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon famously said that he’d fire any employee he found trading Bitcoin for “being stupid,” calling the currency a “fraud” that would not end well. Funnily enough, despite the trash talk, JP Morgan (NYSE-JPM) still bought over $3 million of XBT shares (exchange-traded notes that track the price of Bitcoin) in September 2017 – making it one of the biggest bank buyers in the crypto ring. We see you, Jamie.
Oct 282017

All aboard the Swiss Railway

The Swiss get on board with Bitcoin in a big way – in October, national railway service SSB begins selling Bitcoin through its network of ticket kiosks. “Until now, there have only been limited opportunities to purchase bitcoin in Switzerland. With over 1,000 ticket machines, SBB has a dense distribution network that is available round the clock and is not only suitable for purchasing tickets, but also allows additional services to be obtained,” said SSB.
Oct 252017

Bitcoin Gold trips at launch

Bitcoin takes another hard fork to create Bitcoin Gold (BTGUSD), in an ambitious bid to bring the currency back to its decentralized roots. The aim was to reform the mining process in favor of smaller players. Nice idea, but sadly it didn’t work that well in practice – the new currency lost over 60% in its first few hours of trading. It’s still going however – hang on in there Bitcoin Gold (BTGUSD).
Sep 112017

China shuts up shop

One of the biggest global outposts of Bitcoin trading, the Chinese authorities have always had a love-hate relationship with the asset. In September they make their boldest move yet, ordering the closure of all Bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. The move had an immediate impact, wiping almost $1,000 off the price in just a few days and taking it back down to a low of $3,227 before it rallied again.
Aug 012017

Fork in the road

In a massive upset, the ultimate event occurs. In its first successfully hard fork, Bitcoin splits into two separate versions, and boom, Bitcoin Cash (BCHUSD) is born 👶🍼 The split was the result of the neverending argument over scalability, which the introduction of SegWit was supposed to have solved. But although no one really disagreed with the need to improve transaction speed through better blocks, they had very different ideas about how big they needed to be (apparently, size does matter 🤷) SegWit optimized the blocks through a software upgrade. But another group of developers wanted the blocks to be even bigger (up to 8MB each), so they spun off into a whole new cryptocurrency called Bitcoin Cash (BCHUSD) (BCH). By boosting the blocks, the theory was that more transactions could then be processed, making it cheaper and faster to use. BCH supporters, including Roger Ver (one-time CEO of and widely known as the “Bitcoin Jesus”) argued that by upgrading rather than increasing the block size, SegWit was pushing Bitcoin to act more like a digital investment rather than a real, usable currency, moving away from its original goals. What do you think? The hard fork basically doubled Bitcoin holdings (so if you held 10 Bitcoins on July 31, by August 1 you’d hold 1 Bitcoin and 1 Bitcoin cash). The new currency began trading at about $240 (compared to $2,731 for its older sister).
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood. Photo: Jens Lelie / Unsplash
Jul 172017

McAfee bets big (and the stakes are high)

Bitcoin crusader John McAfee predicts on Twitter that Bitcoin would reach $500,000 within three years, promising that he’d “eat his own dick” live on TV if it didn’t. In November 2017 he doubled down, betting that it would reach $1 million by 2020. People were pretty keen to see what happened – and a whole bunch of websites sprang up to track the (admittedly unlikely) possibility. With Bitcoin barely hovering above $10,000 as of September 2020, it wasn’t looking likely – and in July McAfee backtracked, tweeting: “Not going to get out of it. I never believed Bitcoin would hit $1 mil. It's absurd. It’s an old, tired, worthless coin. I just wanted to eat my dick on TV.” Spoiler alert: it didn’t happen, and he didn’t do it. He did, however, try to run for US President. Fun times.
BTC has accelerated much faster than my model assumptions
Jul 152017

SegWit takes off

The controversial Segregated Witness software upgrade is approved – oddly enough, sparking a slight dip in price, perhaps as traders price in the possible impact. The upgrade was designed to improve a number of longstanding issues within Bitcoin. First, the issue of ‘transaction malleability’ – the bug that brought Mt. Gox to its knees back in 2014. But perhaps more importantly, the debate around scalability and block size. SegWit enabled the creation of a new payment protocol, the Lightning Network, which allowed almost unlimited numbers of instant and cheap transactions to take place “off-chain”. Although not fully activated until late August, the SegWit upgrade was hugely popular and supported by 100% of Bitcoin mining pools. World domination was pretty much inevitable.
Jun 202017

Growing pains

Get set for a couple months of incredible growth. Bitcoin goes from $928.10 on March 25 to $2,954.22 at the close of June 11. But growth doesn’t come without growing pains, and it slides way back down amid a broader sell-off in digital currencies. The suffering doesn’t last too long though, and shortly after a relief rally brings prices back up from a low of $2,120 on June 15 to $2,740 on June 20.
May 032017

Russia joins the crowd

Russia suggests that it might legalize the use of cryptocurrencies – a pretty major deal for Bitcoin, which sees an immediate price jump. It’s a big turnaround from the previous year, when Russian authorities said that anyone caught trading cryptocurrencies could be jailed. Why? Some cynical people think it could be to avoid sanctions on traditional banking channels, while others think it could be down to the Bitcoin benefits of speed, security and transparency. Either way, it took a while to happen – President Putin finally signed the bill to legalize cryptocurrency in August 2020. It allowed people to trade Bitcoin, but banned its use as a means of payment.
Russia suggests that it might legalize the use of cryptocurrencies. Photo: Felipe Simo / Unsplash
Apr 012017

Japan takes the lead

Japan officially recognizes Bitcoin as legal tender, a move that seems positive but may actually be a cynical attempt to regulate the currency and impose more restrictions on how people use it. Well that’s governments for you. But although the rule change restricted Bitcoin’s freedoms in Japan, it was enthusiastically welcomed by the trading community. The price reflected the boost, jumping from $1,070 at the start to $1,350 by the end of the month. The official stamp of approval gave traders increased confidence. It also led to a surge of new exchanges in Japan, with 11 licensed by September 2017 alone.
Japan officially recognizes Bitcoin as legal tender. Photo: Nicki Eliza Schinow / Unsplash
Mar 102017

Winklevoss woes

The SEC rejects an application from superhero twin brothers Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss to launch the first Bitcoin exchange-traded fund. The decision caused prices to plunge dramatically in minutes, from a high of $1,350 to a low of $975, a whopping -28% swing, before closing the day over -6% down at $1,116.97.
Feb 092017

Bitcoin-China breakup

Bitcoin and China feel like that couple that keeps breaking up, bad-mouthing the other, and then getting back together again. They’re back in the break-up phase right now though, with two of China’s largest Bitcoin exchanges blocking people from withdrawing their Bitcoins. It sends Bitcoin crashing down. The news came following a meeting between the People’s Bank of China and the Bitcoin exchanges. The announcement was particularly hard-hitting because China dominated Bitcoin trading at the time, with almost 100% of Bitcoin exchanges taking place on Chinese exchanges.
Two of China’s largest Bitcoin exchanges block people from withdrawing their Bitcoins. Photo: Xiaokang Zhang/ Unsplash
Jan 032017

Breaking the barrier

Bitcoin breaks $1,000 again for the first time in three years. It doesn’t stay up there, but the surge of new investors brought in by the constant publicity of the previous few years contributes to a massive bull run over the course of 2017. It didn’t do too badly in 2016 either – it was, according to Business Insider, the top-performing currency of the year.
Dec 282016

Merry Christmas (and a VERY happy new year…)

Although super volatile, Bitcoin didn’t really do anything too mad during 2016. The coming year, however, would tell a very different story.
Nov 092016

Trump elected

Donald Trump is elected President of the USA, and markets tumble around the world. Investors exit the dropping equities market to look for new opportunities, which works in Bitcoin’s favor. The price spikes by around 5% in a single day – ironic really, because Trump is notoriously not a fan of Bitcoin.
Trump is notoriously not a fan of Bitcoin
Oct 112016


For a month Bitcoin has been hovering between $615 and $595, but a New York Times article on central bank usage busts it out of the slump. Bitcoin has had a fairly up and down relationship with government and banking regulations, but it looked like central banks were gradually coming around to the idea of using blockchain technology, if not Bitcoin itself. In 2016, a few banks also started looking into stockpiling Bitcoin to pay off cyber criminals who might threaten their systems.
Aug 292016

A knack for getting hacked

Reuters gets a scoop, and it’s not pretty. According to the data, a third of Bitcoin trading platforms have been hacked at some point, and the risk for Bitcoin holders is doubled because there’s no such thing as depositors insurance for cyber theft. However, this comes as a shock to exactly nobody after the whole Bitfinex (BITFINEX/BTCUSD) fiasco earlier this year, and prices hardly move. Not much seems to have changed since then either – by 2020 more than $11 billion had been stolen from ‘secure’ crypto exchanges, wallets and mining platforms. You could buy an island or two with that.
Aug 022016

Bitfinex hack

Uh oh, it’s another hack. Exchange platform Bitfinex (BITFINEX/BTCUSD) suspends trading after a security hack leads to the heist of almost 120,000 Bitcoins, and prices plunge in response. Around 119,756 customer Bitcoins, worth about $72 million, went missing in the largest loss of Bitcoins since the Mt Gox crisis in 2014. Given the size of the loss, there was (understandably) a lot of confusion and frustration in the market and prices plunged almost 11% from $606.84 to $540.03, reaching a low of $465.28. Luckily, it began bouncing back the next day.
Jul 092016

Second halving day

The second Bitcoin halving cuts another automatic 50%, but because of strong bullish sentiment in the run-up to the split, volatility stays low and the price recovers rapidly.
Jun 212016


After gaining almost 50% between June 1 and June 18, driven by the momentum of Brexit, prices lose almost 10% of those gains on June 21 after a poll shows that UK voters are leaning toward remaining in the EU. Bitcoin lost a further 9.92% on June 22, after the poll helped push financial markets and the sterling higher but caused Bitcoin some trouble. It seems a lot of the Brexitement was because of the belief that a No Deal Brexit might soften cryptocurrency regulations. Added to that, the negative impact on both sterling and the euro could make way for another player… a digital currency perhaps? In fact, if the EU no longer governs UK regulations, the hope was that the UK might welcome Bitcoin with open arms to help bolster its economy. Either way, people were excited. Imagine their reaction if they’d known just how long the “deal or no deal” business would actually go on for. Though the price took a hit on June 21, it recovered on June 23 when the referendum took place, though not quite to the same highs it was riding earlier in the month.
May 282016

Bitcoin gets a May-jor boost

The second halving is coming up. People are excited, and Bitcoin is reaping the benefits. With a 10% price hike on May 28 it’s looking to be one for the books. There were a few different ideas about what exactly caused the May boost, but it was most probably a combination of a few different things. Rival currency Ethereum had entered the market a few months before and was drawing more attention to the digital currency ecosystem globally, as well as finally providing Bitcoin with some real competition. Anticipation was also growing for the upcoming halving, and the possibility of Brexit was creating some excitement for the UK market, with the possibility that a split from the EU could benefits the digital currency. Having started the month at $448.43, May closed at $531.84, and June only got better.
Apr 262016

Blockchain takeover

Bitcoin reaches a closing price of $467.42, its highest since September 2014, after a few weeks of relatively steady overall price performance, despite volatility in daytime trading. Thoughts are that increased adoption of cryptocurrency tech in general could be behind the jump. Globally renowned chip maker Intel (INTC) released plans to use blockchain technology, new developer of blockchain technology Storj joined the Microsoft (MSFT) Azure blockchain, and on April 26 the UK revealed plans to use blockchain to track taxpayer money.
Mar 042016

The Japanese join the party

The Japanese Government approves a bill recognizing virtual currencies as similar to real money, able to make payments and with the potential to be digitally transferred. This is a big step forward, with many other nations still struggling (some to this day) with the role that cryptocurrencies can, or should, be allowed to play. The Amendment Bill to the Payment Services Act of Japan was designed to bring the industry under the supervision of the country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) and bring in new registration requirements for virtual currencies exchanges, including foreign exchanges providing services to Japanese customers. It also imposed a whole new bunch of requirements on crypto exchanges, including recordkeeping, annual reporting, and anti-money laundering compliance.
Jan 142016

Mike Hearn says goodbye

Mike Hearn, the Bitcoin Core developer who earlier launched competing Bitcoin XT software, leaves the community in dramatic fashion, declaring: “Bitcoin has failed.” Btw, he’s the guy that Satoshi Nakamoto apparently sent his “resignation” email to back in October 2013. Hearn predicted a massive price crash for Bitcoin – which, coming from such a respected developer, had its own impact. Bitcoin lost over $60 from its value, falling from $429.55 on 14 January to $360 the next day. In a lengthy post on Medium, Hearn complained that “the fundamentals are broken and whatever happens to the price in the short term, the long term trend should probably be downwards.” He warned that “the network is on the brink of technical collapse” and claimed to have sold all his coins. Bitcoin, of course, is still going strong many years later.
Bitcoin Core developer Mike Hearn leaves the community in dramatic fashion, declaring: “Bitcoin has failed.” Photo: Dima Pechurin / Unsplash
Dec 082015

Believe that I’m Satoshi or I’ll sue!

Australian scientist Craig Wright insists that he is the real Satoshi Nakamoto in a headline-grabbing claim that convinces a whole load of people worldwide. It all started with a Wired article published on 8 December 2015, which suggested that Wright could be Satoshi. The claim was based on documents given to Wired by researcher and dark web analyst Gwern Branwen, that strongly suggested a link. But then, Wired changed their minds. The magazine suspected that the documents may have been leaked to Branwen by Wright himself, and a couple of days later they published a U-turn, based on alleged “inconsistencies” in Wright’s story. Wired has since confirmed that it “no longer believes Wright is likely to be the creator of Bitcoin.” He came pretty close though, and he persuaded a lot of people – including one of the original developers, Gavin Andresen, whose continued support of Wright eventually got his Bitcoin code access revoked, basically destroying his Bitcoin career. Wright struggled to convince the wider community though, and his claim is now widely disputed. Because basically, if you say you have the key to a Bitcoin wallet worth over $10bn, then eventually people are gonna expect you to be able to open that wallet. And, er, he didn’t. But Wright stuck to his guns, and continued to maintain he was the real deal. A few years later he filed US copyright for the original Bitcoin white paper released back in 2008, and 2019 he even tried to sue the people who didn’t believe him (including Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, founder Roger Ver and Blockstream CEO Adam Back) using UK libel law. It did not go well. But the story continues... In January 2021 Wright won a landmark ruling in the UK courts in an ongoing defamation case against Norway-based Twitter user Magnus Granath (Twitter name Hodlonaut), who had repeatedly tweeted that Wright was not the real Satoshi. It's been a complicated legal battle and it's not over yet but one thing is for sure – real or fake (and hey, we ain't judging either way), it makes for great TV.
Moral bankruptcy of Calvin, CSW and the BSV ecosystem
Oct 222015

A shot in the arm

In a massive win for crypto, the EU declares no VAT on Bitcoin trades and rules it a bona fide currency. By comparison, in September the U.S. authorities classified Bitcoin as a commodity. The European decision was as popular as the Queen of England*, and Bitcoin’s new tax-free status brought traders flooding in, pushing the price back up to over $300. *Note: To all the pedants out there, yes, we know that there hasn't actually been a 'Queen of England' since Queen Elizabeth 1 back in 1603, after which the monarch became known as the King or Queen of the United Kingdom. But England sounded better, so we ran with it :)
The EU declares no VAT on Bitcoin trades and rules it a bona fide currency. Photo: Markus Spiske / Unsplash
Sep 182015

CFTC crack down

In a move that doesn’t impact the price very much but makes unregistered Bitcoin derivatives firms very nervous, Bitcoin is classed as a commodity in the U.S. It’s not seen as good news by the community. The Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) made the decision to class Bitcoin as a commodity along with oil and gold, and in September, ordered options trading platform Coinflip to stop trading as a result – with charges filed against the firm for unlicensed activity. Not cool. The CFTC said that “while there is a lot of excitement surrounding Bitcoin… innovation does not excuse those acting in this space from following the same rules applicable to all participants in the commodity derivatives markets.”
Aug 152015

Bitcoin XT creates constitutional crisis

Bitcoin Core developers Mike Hearn and Gavin Andresen sprinkle a bit of chaos into the community by releasing a new, slightly different version of the software called Bitcoin XT. Fears of a potential split send the price spiralling. The issue boiled down to a debate over the size of the blocks in the chain. Andresen, Hearn and their supporters argued that as the currency became more popular, its blocks should be made bigger. If not, they warned that Bitcoin could fall off a “capacity cliff” where all its blocks ended up full, creating a backlog of transactions waiting to be included. This would overload the network with data and make for long delays, not to mention pushing up prices. As a solution, Bitcoin XT wanted to increase the block size from 1MB to 8MB, and then by a further 40% every two years. The release of the new software spooked a lot of people though, because it raised the possibility that the Bitcoin community might not be able to reach an agreement on size. In a decentralized community, consensus is everything – and a permanent disagreement could mean a permanent divorce. It didn’t pan out that way this time – not many miners took up the Bitcoin XT option, and the alternative software eventually petered out sometime around mid-2016. But the possibility of a hard fork still panicked the market, and the price dipped from $261.46 on August 15 to $209.72 on August 24.
Gavin Andresen helps sprinkle a bit of chaos into the community by releasing a new, slightly different version of the software called Bitcoin XT. Photo: Stephen McCarthy / Wikimedia
Jun 162015

Get them to the Greek

The past few months see prices generally sitting between $220 and $240, but on June 16 Bitcoin breaks out of the doldrums, spiking to a high of $252.05 on the back of a shaky Greek economy. Yep, really. People thought that the price bump was related to the state of the Greek economy. It seems like a wild leap at first, but the Greek economy was not looking good. And if the country defaulted on its loan obligations, bank accounts might be frozen. And in that case, digital currency might be the only way of getting money in and out of the country. See the logic here? Some hoped it meant that the volatile currency had finally found a floor, and that it would be all upside from here on out. They were wrong.
Apr 282015

Coinbase comes to the UK

Coinbase, the first licenced Bitcoin exchange in the US, opens its (virtual) doors across the pond, giving Bitcoin a nice little boost after a tumultuous April. The Bitcoin payment processor now allowed people to transfer from GBP into Bitcoin, and vice versa. It was good timing, because the world had just seen the UK come out in support of digital currencies in the name of financial innovation. London was also home to Coinscrum, the biggest Bitcoin networking group in the world. After the April decline, the 5.10% price jump was a welcome one.
Apr 142015

Bitcoin 'laid bare' by board member

The Bitcoin Foundation gets a brand new member in March, and it seems that Olivier Janssens’ first order of duty is to divulge a whole load of Bitcoin secrets in a Reddit post, claiming that the Foundation is "effectively bankrupt" as a result of "two years of ridiculous spending and poorly thought out decisions." It understandably ruffles some feathers. The post was taken down, but the damage had been done. His expose claimed that the Bitcoin Foundation had almost no money left, had fired 90% of its people, and regularly used intimidation tactics to suppress leaks. Now, The Bitcoin Foundation doesn’t necessarily represent Bitcoin, but it works to make Bitcoin globally accepted – and a knock to its reputation is a knock to the currency. The post was released on April 5, and sparked a steady decline that took the price from $260.54 on April 5 down to $215.80 on April 14. Though things started to look up slightly from there, April to June was notable for massive volatility.
Mar 182015

Coinapult is compromised

Coinapult, the service that lets you secure the value of your Bitcoin in fiat, is ironically hacked. Hackers managed to get into the platform on March 17 and steal around 150 Bitcoins, worth $43,000. A terrible Tuesday indeed. Access to the site had to be disabled and everyone was warned off sending Bitcoin (and reminded of its dangers). Chinese bitcoin exchange BTER also had a cold wallet hacked earlier in the year, losing over 7,000 bitcoin; and an AllCrypt hack also led to a BTC42 loss. Looks like the security concerns were getting to people – on news of the hack there was an overnight drop of almost 10%.
Feb 042015

The currency comes into its own

Bitcoin is now accepted by over 100,000 retailers worldwide: including Microsoft (MSFT), Dell (DELL), Wikipedia, Twitch, Greenpeace, Expedia (EXPE) and PayPal (PYPL). The widespread merchant adoption reassures people that Bitcoin has real value as a currency, not just as a digital investment. Data (from Bitcoin payments processor BitPay) also showed that Bitcoin venture capital activity was up by 342% last year, from $96 million in 2013 to $335 million in 2014. Major deals included $40 million for Xapo, $30 million for Blockchain, and $30.5 million for BitPay itself.
Jan 042015

Bitstamp barrage

Hackers break into the Bitstamp exchange through a targeted phishing attack on employee Luka Kodric, gaining access to its servers and stealing almost 20,000 Bitcoins worth over $5 million. The price drops from $264 on January 4 to $171 a week later. It wasn’t the end of the world – it wasn’t even another Mt. Gox. The hackers only stole a small proportion of Bitstamp’s total coins, and the theft didn’t affect any customer accounts or breach the “cold storage” area where most of its assets were kept. What scared people, though, was the systematic social attacks on exchange employees. Six of them were harassed for months in a heavy phishing attack that included constant messages over Skype and numerous emails and attachments. Poor Kodric was finally convinced to download a Word doc, which contained a virus that the hacker used to break into the Bitstamp servers. It was a new type of attack – one that might seem obvious to us now (never open a suspicious file from someone you don’t know) but at the time, it made for a pretty major dent in the currency’s reputation.
Oct 062014

Bearwhale breaks the bank

A random trader offloads the biggest deal Bitcoin has ever seen. He tries to sell 30,000 coins on the Bitstamp exchange at a limit price of $300, well below the current mid-300s trading price. The ‘Bearwhale’ confuses the market – why so much? Why so cheap? – and the price wobbles for a moment. But, crucially, only for a moment. This one can actually be counted as a win – pretty much the whole amount was absorbed, and the price regained stability quicker than a first time lover. Some people think the size of the $9 million cut-price deal was a deliberate ploy to raise profile and draw new buyers into the market, which might have helped to absorb the volume. Either way, the whole “slaying of the Bearwhale” thing has become legendary in the Bitcoin universe, inspiring a whole range of mythology, poetry and art immortalizing his madness. Who doesn’t love a good meme?
Jul 302014

Retailers get on board

A whole bunch of hopeful retailers get on board with Bitcoin over the summer: including Microsoft (MSFT), Dell (DELL), Braintree (a Paypal (PYPL) subsidiary), and online shopping giant Overstock (OSTK). But this doesn’t stop the long-term price slide, and by the end of the year Bitcoin is back to below $300. In fact, there’s the chance that the big companies were actually the ones pushing the price down. They’d accept Bitcoin as payment but immediately put their holdings back on the market to exchange them back into normal currency, shoving up supply and devaluing Bitcoin.
Jun 132014

With great power comes great responsibility

Bitcoin mining pool GHash reaches 51% of all hashing output, giving it the power to sidestep the decentralization of Bitcoin’s blockchain and control a lot of its functions. What does that mean? Well, hashing is basically the calculation process that creates a Bitcoin – it’s what miners do to create the individual blocks, which then get added to the chain. If someone controls more than 51% of the hashrate they can get up to all sorts of trouble – like rejecting or even reversing transactions, spending the same coins twice, demanding higher fees, and even denying service to the Bitcoin network. Lots of 51% attacks get launched on crypto networks to try and gain control, and it raises an interesting question around security. GHash weren’t one of the bad guys – CIO Jeffrey Smith promised they didn’t want to damage Bitcoin, and swore he “never had and never will participate in any 51% attack or double spend.” Later that year the mining pool actually brought miners and developers together in a round table to try and figure out a longer-term solution to the 51% problem. This turned into support for the Segregated Witness functionality (more on this later), along with a hard fork to increase the block size limit to 4MB by July 2016.
Mar 262014

Bitcoin loses currency status

Disaster. Following in the footsteps of China, America’s IRS decides that Bitcoin is property rather than currency – opening it up to capital gains tax. The move struck a blow to the crypto’s original ideals of freedom and decentralization. The loss of faith triggered a loss in value – around a third over the following month, from over $600 on March 10 to just over $400 in mid-April.
Mar 062014

Will the real Satoshi please stand up?

A Newsweek article on March 6, 2014 claims that the real Satoshi Nakomoto is in fact a guy called….Satoshi Nakamoto. Confused? Yeah. Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto was a Japanese-American systems engineer living in California, whose birth name really was Satoshi Nakamoto. Newsweek Journalist Leah McGrath Goodman made a strong case that he was the real founder of Bitcoin, pointing to his experience working with defense systems and as a computer engineer. When she asked him about Bitcoin for the article he apparently said: "I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it. It's been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection.” That’s pretty compelling stuff – but turns out it was wrong. In later interviews, Nakamoto denied all knowledge of Bitcoin, saying he’d never heard of it before, and had thought Goodman was asking him about his previous work on classified defense projects. Another one bites the dust. Hang on though, there’s more. Nakamoto lived just a couple of blocks from crypto pioneer Hal Finney, one of the first developers to work on Bitcoin. Perhaps Finney was the real founder, and he just stole the name of his neighbor (because, let’s face it, Satoshi Nakamoto sounds way cooler)? On 25 March 2014 an article in Forbes suggested exactly that. But in yet another plot twist, by that point Finney was suffering from ALS, a form of motor neurone disease that left him almost completely paralysed and able to communicate only by blinking. He apparently denied involvement, but Forbes journalist Andy Greenberg came up with a ton of research that suggested otherwise. Sadly, Finney died in August 2014, so it looks like we’ll never know.
A Newsweek article on March 6, 2014 claims that the real Satoshi Nakomoto is in fact a guy called….Satoshi Nakamoto.Photo: Ben Sweet / Unsplash
Feb 242014

Mt. Gox goes dark

The world's biggest bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox is bankrupt. Bitcoin drops from a high of about $1,160 in December 2013 to under $400 in February 2014. Wallets are emptied, lawsuits are launched, and the drama continues to this day. Amazingly, however, Bitcoin proves resilient to the reputational hit, with people blaming the exchange rather than the asset. It reads like a soap opera, but the story of Mt. Gox is central to the early years – and early success – of Bitcoin as a tradable asset. Launched in 2010, by 2014 it was trading about 70% of all Bitcoin in existence, and its charismatic CEO Mark Karpeles was enjoying life in Tokyo (some folks even believed he was Satoshi Nakomoto himself). But the nails were already in the coffin. Mt. Gox had suffered through numerous hacking scandals starting as early as 2011, and in February 2014 things went properly belly up. While Karpeles was putting the final touches on his ‘Bitcoin Cafe’ on the bottom floor of the Mt. Gox headquarters (never underestimate the importance of a bespoke quiche oven), hackers were siphoning off all the exchange’s assets using a flaw in the Bitcoin protocol. “Transaction malleability” was a design fault that allowed multiple withdrawals of the same amount – but it wasn’t a new thing. Other exchanges had already identified and coded around the problem. Mt. Gox had not – mainly because Karpeles had written almost all the code himself, without any oversight. With hindsight this seems… a little unwise? The exchange was broke – pretty much all its Bitcoin assets had disappeared, including about 650,000 coins belonging to customers (worth about $40m) and 100,000 belonging to the exchange itself. It suspended trading on February 24 and went permanently dark just hours later. People were furious, and a whole bunch of lawsuits were launched against both Mt. Gox and against Karpeles himself, including from competing US-based exchange CoinLab, as well as hundreds of seriously pissed off clients. Many of them are still dragging on to this day. The value of Bitcoin unsurprisingly tanked, losing over a third over the following month. But things actually could have gone a lot worse. Although the price dipped it didn’t go into the free fall that everyone expected, with most people blaming the mismanagement of Mt. Gox rather than being scared away from the currency itself. Random fact: In February 2014 the first ever Bitcoin ATM was opened in Austin, Texas by Jordan Kelley, original founder of alternative crypto Robocoin.
Dec 052013

China changes its tune

China does a U-turn on Bitcoin. The Chinese central bank bans financial institutions and payment companies from using the currency, leading to a surprise collapse. Buying real goods with virtual currency has been illegal in China since 2009, but internet giants like Baidu (BIDU) and YeePay were still accepting Bitcoin for a whole bunch of services. The 2013 ban stopped all that, and the central bank declared that Bitcoin was not a currency but an asset. That made it liable for a bunch of new taxes, and people weren’t happy. In the same month BTC China, the country’s biggest crypto exchange, stopped accepting deposits in Yuan. Although the currency remained legal for individuals to trade, without third party payment providers such as BTC, activity practically ceased overnight. Remember how we said China was a massive influence on Bitcoin? It lost almost half its value, falling from $1,131.76 on December 4 to close at $693.30 on December 7. It wouldn’t close out at $1,000 again for another three years.
Nov 252013

Can a bot break Bitcoin?

Bitcoin reaches $1,000 in November: the end of a long-term price rise that started with the first Bitcoin halving back in 2012. But wait – the plot thickens. Research from the University of Tulsa and Tel Aviv University found that the 2013 spike might actually have been driven by two bots – created by a single shadowy figure in the background. Between them, the bots bought and sold hundreds of thousands of Bitcoins over the year in order to manipulate the market. November saw mad volatility, with the price rising and falling by as much as 50% in a day on November 19. It reached a high of $1,163 on November 30 before starting a longer-term decline that would last, give or take, for the next two years.
Nov 202013

China charges in

China’s foreign minister Wang Yi takes a positive stand. He announces at a conference that people in China are “free to participate in the Bitcoin market,” and promises to “adopt a long-term perspective” on the currency. This reassurance did a lot to calm people’s nerves. BTC China (by then the largest Bitcoin exchange in the world) saw trading volumes shoot up while the overall Bitcoin price hopped up from just over $600 to over $1,000. China has always been a major influence on Bitcoin, with Chinese traders keen to embrace its freedoms as an alternative to the highly-controlled domestic currency. As a result, the Chinese authorities have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the cryptocurrency, and they’ve blown hot and cold over the years when it comes to controlling access. When they do show support though, it can have a massive impact on price and volume.
China’s foreign minister Wang Yi announces that people in China are “free to participate in the Bitcoin market.” Photo: Li Yang / Unsplash
Oct 032013

Silk Road gets seized

Remember that secret online black market called Silk Road that uses Bitcoin for shady transactions? In October 2013 the plug is finally pulled, and Bitcoin prices plunge over 18% from $127.30 to $103.85 as a result – hitting a low of $85. A massive two-year FBI sting led to Ulbricht’s dramatic arrest in the San Francisco Public Library (back in the days when real books were a thing). About 144,000 Bitcoins were seized from his private stash and sold in a blind auction (won by legendary crypto champion Tim Draper) and the Dread Pirate is now serving life in prison. He hasn’t thrown in the towel yet though – and he’s still one of Bitcoin’s biggest bulls. Posting from prison, in April 2020 he speculated that Bitcoin could eventually reach a staggering $333 million per coin which, assuming a market limit of 21 million bitcoins, would give a market cap of $7 quadrillion. “That's more than ten times the current GDP of all humanity,” he said on his private Medium account. “So the point is – long term – the sky’s the limit.” Nice to see he hasn’t lost his optimism. Nor did the market. Despite all the drama, Bitcoin rebounded by a solid 13% the day after the arrest.
Jul 052013

Bitcoin takes a tumble

After starting the year at $13.24 and reaching heights of $235.29 in April, prices close at a low of $66.93 on July 5. It’s not a good look. There were a couple of things going on at the time that could have contributed. The world’s biggest known Bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox, stopped paying people out in US dollars, with no real explanation except some mumblings about “increased volume of transactions”. The media also kind of lost interest in Bitcoin at this point, after the hype of its impressive rally earlier in the year. On top of all that, at this point, you still couldn’t really use Bitcoin to buy a whole lot of stuff, which kind of sucks for a currency. Oh, but what a different future lies ahead for this young cryptocurrency – just you wait.
May 012013

Living on a Bitcoin

Amidst the rising hype, Forbes journalist Kashmir Hill decides to challenge herself to not just buy the currency, but to live on it for a week. It went surprisingly well. She went onto Coinbase, bought 5 Bitcoins at $126.69 each (which were worth $142 each by the time they arrived a few days later) and set to work. Turned out it could actually be done – or just about, barring a fussy landlord who didn’t think Bitcoin was a good substitute for rent. But it wasn’t easy.
Forbes journalist Kashmir Hill decides to challenge herself to not just buy the currency, but to live on it for a week. Photo: Kam Idris / Unsplash
Apr 012013

Bitcoin busts through $100

Bitcoin breaks the all-important $100 barrier for the first time, jumping from $96.15 on March 31 to close at $104.70 the next day. But then things start to get seriously volatile – mostly due to a whole ton of media coverage, which brings a bunch of new traders into the market. The price hits $200 by the second week of April, then falls by 70% overnight, breaking $50 by week three. A series of outages and processing delays at major crypto exchanges including Mt. Gox and BitInstant didn’t help much. In fact, things got so crazy that from April 11-12 Mt. Gox, which was by this point handling over 70% of global Bitcoin trades, suspended trading altogether in order to cool things down. Easy, tiger. If you’d bought $100 of Bitcoin on April 1, 2013, you’d have had $6,652.07 on April 1, 2020. It’s not gonna get you a yacht, but you could afford a pretty sweet swan-shaped pedalo.
Mar 112013

Bug breaks blockchain

A bug in version 0.8 of the Bitcoin software causes a temporary fork in the blockchain. For a couple of hours, two different versions operate at the same time, creating complete chaos. Notorious Bitcoin exchange Mt Gox was forced to halt trading for a few hours in order to figure out just what the f*** was going on, and the price dropped by about 23% during the day. But in a brilliant display of teamwork, developers, coders and the wider Bitcoin community all pulled together to work on a fix. By downgrading most of the network back to an earlier software version they managed to get the whole thing back up and running within less than six hours. That’s barely enough time to drive from LA to Las Vegas for a quick spin on the slots. An updated version (v0.81) was quickly released to stop the problem from happening again.
Jan 222013

BitPay makes history

Bitcoin is making its voice heard all around the world, and BitPay is helping pave the way. The world leader in bitcoin payment processing, BitPay surpasses 10,000 Bitcoin merchant transactions in January, with not a single case of payment fraud. Look, Gepetto, it’s a real live currency! Transactions aren’t the only thing increasing, with Bitcoin gaining over $4 for the month.
Nov 282012

Halving day = happy times

Bitcoin undergoes its first halving – when the reward for mining new blocks is slashed by 50% in order to cut the supply of new coins and control inflation. Halvings are supposed to happen once every 210,000 blocks (about every four years) up to a maximum of 21 million Bitcoins and a reward of $0 – expected to happen around 2140. When demand is high, halvings can push the price up, although market reaction can be tough to predict. This first one was super successful though, cutting the mining reward from 50 Bitcoins to 25. It kickstarted a massive run on demand which boosted the price from $12.07 on November 27, 2012 to over $1,012 a year later – a return of more than 8,000%.
Sep 222012

The Bitcoin Foundation

The Bitcoin Foundation launches with the main aim of promoting the uptake of the new currency. Prices don’t move much on the day, but it’s a big step.
Aug 172012

Pirate ponzi scheme

Bitcoin’s getting more popular, and as it does, more people are trying to make a quick buck. In August 2012 a massive ponzi scheme crashes and burns, making headlines around the world. Run by chatroom pundit Trendon T. Shavers (known as Pirateat40 – what is it with crypto-criminals and pirates?) the Bitcoin Savings and Trust scheme is the biggest Bitcoin fraud to date. When the sh*t hit the fan, Shavers escaped with around 146,000 Bitcoins, worth more than $800,000 at the time. But he didn’t get away with it. The SEC charged him with defrauding investors, and arrested him in 2014. In 2016 he was sentenced to 18 months in jail and ordered to pay $2.4 million in damages. However, that fine was nothing at all compared to the separate civil action against him, where he was put on the hook for a whopping $40 million in compensation. In this case, crime really didn’t pay. Bitcoin got stung by the fallout, losing almost half its value and falling from $13.42 on August 16 to a low of $8.06 on August 19. It recovered pretty quickly though – climbing back over the $10 mark by August 20 and rising steadily over the next couple of months.
Jul 182012

Double digits returning

Bitcoin – ever volatile – has been slowly rising again over the last few months after the price peaked back in June 2011 and a lot of people began thinking it’s just a passing fad. But it proves the haters wrong, rising back above $9 for the first time in almost a year.
May 122012

And hacked again

Bitcoinica, one of the first Bitcoin exchanges, is hit again with the theft of 18,000 Bitcoins. Having managed to survive the impact of the March Linode hack, this sends them over the edge and the exchange shuts down in the face of a $460,000 lawsuit from users. The shock value of Bitcoin hacks may be starting to wear off though, as the price didn’t move much. These early investors were hella loyal.
Mar 012012

Hacker heist

Private server network Linode is hacked. Almost 50,000 Bitcoins are stolen from the e-wallets of customers including Gavin Andresen, Bitcoin’s lead developer – a bit embarrassing all round. This is one of the first, but certainly not the last, headline-grabbing thefts to bring Bitcoin into the public eye. But hey, that’s what you get with a decentralized system – everyone wants to test it. The high-profile hack coincided with the growing popularity of Hacker culture, boosted by Mark Zuckerberg’s letter to investors ahead of Facebook (FB)’s 2012 IPO in which he praised “the Hacker Way.” In it, he claimed that “the vast majority of hackers I've met tend to be idealistic people who want to have a positive impact on the world.” Probably not the guys who hacked Linode though, to be fair 🤷.
Feb 112012

Banks bite back

Leading payment platform Paxum drops Bitcoin and starts selling off its Bitcoin assets. Paxum said that “pressure” from its banking partners was behind the decision. Were mainstream players starting to feel a bit threatened by the Bitcoin boom? The price dipped slightly from $5.50 on February 11 to $4.23 on February 18, but it didn’t seem to put people off too much.
Dec 192011

Happy wife, happy price

Bitcoin announces its Hollywood debut on hit TV show, “The Good Wife”, which is set to air a “Bitcoin for Dummies” TV episode. The initial announcement sent the price up 10% as people got excited. When the episode finally aired on January 15, 2012, the price rose even further, by more than 13%. Ah, the allure of the silver screen.
The Good Wife cast. Photo: The Peabody Awards / Unsplash
Oct 202011

Back to basics

It's a great summer for Bitcoin, but by autumn it drops around 90% from its June peak, falling back below $3 to head back into single digits. The crypto-novelty and a wave of media coverage over the summer had given the price a push, but a few PR disasters pushed prices down to a point where it costed more to mine than what they were worth. Notably, a crash on crypto exchange Mt. Gox due to a compromised user account sent the price from $17 to cents, while a subsequent data breach that circulated the personal details of thousands of Mt. Gox users online did nothing to improve its reputation. It wasn’t going to be the first time that Mt. Gox had problems...
Aug 152011

Poodlemania ($10 ceiling)

It’s party time, as Bitcoin breaks $10. If you’d bought $100 of Bitcoin on August 15, 2011, by August 15, 2020 you’d have had $117,763. That’s enough to buy 147 pedigree poodle puppies, in case you’re looking for new friends. 🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩🐩
Jun 012011

Pirate pushes up price

A Gawker article about shady underworld website The Silk Road goes viral. It includes a weblink to the (now defunct) Tokyo-based Bitcoin exchange Mt Gox, which kicks off a massive surge in traffic as people head over to see what all the fuss is about. The price bumps up from around $10 to over $30 within the month. Led by the Dread Pirate Roberts (codename of Californian programmer Ross William Ulbricht), The Silk Road holds a special place in the halls of Bitcoin history. Money laundering, hitmen-hiring, and drug dealing – it was the place to go for everything underhand and illegal. But crucially, it was also one of the first darkweb sites to use Bitcoin for its anonymous transactions. This didn’t do much for its reputation in the eyes of the law, but it raked in an absolute fortune for founder Ulbricht, who took a cut of each deal (making him an estimated $80 million).
Apr 232011

Hey Satoshi - where’d you go?

Remember the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto who created this whole crazy thing? Well in April 2011 he pretty much vanishes, setting in motion the biggest mystery of the Bitcoin universe. On April 23 he sent (or at least, it looks like he sent) an email to Bitcoin Core developer Mike Hearn, saying that he planned to step back. “I've moved on to other things. It's in good hands with Gavin and everyone,” it said. And… that was it. No more Satoshi. But the question of who he *might have been* has bugged everyone ever since.
Apr 162011

Mainstream media makes its move

Bitcoin magnate Jerry Brito debuts Bitcoin into mainstream media with an article for Time on the impact the cryptocurrency could have on governments. Basically, by removing the need for a third-party intermediary, Bitcoin allows people to spend their money where they want, without government oversight or approval. In the wake of the Wikileaks scandal (when the US Government allegedly pressured payment providers such as PayPal to freeze funding to the site) this ideological freedom was becoming increasingly important. The very same day, Bitcoin surpassed $1 again, hitting $1.05.
Feb 092011

Greenback parity

Bitcoin reaches US$1, hits the headlines for all the right reasons. 📰🗞️ Sadly, it falls back down below the line pretty quickly. Pricecheck: If you’d bought $100 of Bitcoin on February 9, 2011, by February 9, 2020 you’d have had $974,700. That’s enough to buy a super rare copy of the legendary 1941 edition of All-Star Comics #8 – the first one ever to feature Wonder Woman 🦸🏻‍♀
Bitcoin reaches US$1, hits the headlines for all the right reasons. Photo: NeONBRAND / Unsplash
Jan 022011

The road to hell is paved with… silk?

The infamous Silk Road website is launched on January 2 by one Mr Ross Ulbricht, who wanted to create a lawless darkweb location where people could buy and sell whatever they wanted with no trace. Bitcoin is an obvious choice of currency. BTC was trading at about $0.30.
Nov 062010

Bitcoin economy tops $1m

It might be slow, but it’s growing. On November 6, the total market cap of Bitcoin tops $1 million for the first time ever. It was calculated by multiplying the total number of Bitcoins in circulation with the price of the last trade of the day on MtGox, valued at $0.50.
Aug 082010

Security gaps start to show

The crypto-novelty is starting to wear off and people are starting to look for ways to exploit the system. Creating 92 billion Bitcoins out of thin air is one way to do it. Given that there’s a limit of 21 million Bitcoins in total that can in theory ever be mined, the massive influx came as a bit of a shock. Bitcoin developer Jeff Garzik first raised the issue on the forum, mildly pointing out that: “The "value out" in this block #74638 is quite strange.” His observation would come to be regarded as pretty much the understatement of the year. Basically, someone managed to exploit a flaw in the code (a bug known as a “number overflow error”) that meant they could flood it with an insanely large quantity of bitcoin. It wasn’t exactly fake money, but it sure as hell wasn’t real, and the community went crazy. Amazingly however, they managed to fix it within just five hours - by resetting the blockchain to the last point before the bad transaction, and voiding everything that had been created since. It was a quick fix, but it worked. Which is lucky, because according to Bitcoin Core lead developer Wladimir Van Der Laan, “It was the worst problem ever.”
Jul 072010

Bitcoin v0.3 hits the shelves

It’s time for an update, and in July the third version of the cryptocurrency is unveiled. It included a host of new updates including translations into German, Dutch, and Italian. It was also, notably, the first upgrade that wasn’t signed off by Satoshi Nakamoto himself. A sign of things to come…? The following week the price of Bitcoin jumped tenfold, from $0.008 on July 12 to $0.08 on July 17. And on July 17, notorious crypto exchange Mt. Gox opened its (metaphorical) doors for the first time. More on that later.
May 222010

Pizza party

The first Bitcoin purchase ever. Programmer Laszlo Hanyecz buys two Papa John’s (PZZA) pizzas for 10,000 Bitcoins (worth about $30 at the time) through an exchange on the Bitcointalk chat forum. Fast forward a decade and in May 2020, 10,000 Bitcoins would have been worth about $92.7 million. That’s more than 6 million Papa John’s (PZZA) pizzas at $15 a pizza – enough to feed the entire population of Ireland 🍕 In February 2018, Hanyecz got hungry again. He bought two pizzas from a friend in London through the Lightning Network (a payment channel designed to keep transaction fees low). They were delivered to him in Florida for a mere BTC0.00649 (about $67 back then). He said at the time he just wanted to prove that the currency could still be used for real world purchases. Anyone else feeling hungry?
Mar 032010

Bitcoin exchange 1.0

The idea for the first official cryptocurrency exchange, Bitcoin Market, is born. started with a proposal on a Bitcoin forum (where else?), back when Bitcoin was trading at about $0.05. By the time it launched in March 2010, one single Bitcoin was worth about $0.03. Oh, how we wish we’d invested back then.
Dec 172009

Bitcoin v0.2 released

Version 0.1 of Bitcoin was first released on January 5, 2009 – but it would go through multiple incarnations, starting with Bitcoin Version 0.2 on December 17, 2009. The new version was available to download on both Windows and Linux, and came with a bunch of new features including multi-processor support, and “an autostart on boot option” so that miners could keep it running in the background automatically. Satoshi also announced the launch of a new forum at A few weeks later, on December 30, the first difficulty increase occurs (when the system makes it harder for miners to achieve block rewards, in order to limit supply).
Oct 052009

First ever exchange rate

The first ever BTC/USD exchange rate is launched by pro-Crypto website New Liberty Standard (run by a Bitcoin developer of the same name, who was instrumental in developing the Linux version of the system.) The site sets the rate of one Bitcoin at $0.0007 on October 5, 2009. It was the first source to price Bitcoins based on the electricity cost it took to mine them, and it was the first to offer a daily price. It wouldn’t be the last. In case you’re interested, during 2009 the exchange rate was calculated by dividing $1 by the average amount of electricity required to run a computer with high CPU for a year (1331.5 kW), multiplied by the the average residential cost of electricity in the U.S. for the previous year, ($0.1136), divided by 12 months, divided by the number of Bitcoins generated by the site owner’s computer over the past 30 days.
Jan 032009

Bitcoin is born - but who’s the father?

Oh Bitcoin, where do we begin with you? The leader in the decade-long rise of cryptocurrency, Bitcoin has changed how global markets work, and made a load of people super rich along the way (and, for a few unlucky ones, significantly poorer too). Little wonder it's one of the most popular symbols on TradingView. The most famous cryptocurrency in the world kicked off on January 3, 2009 with the mining of the genesis block (Block 0), which created 50 Bitcoins. On January 9, Version 0.1 of Bitcoin was officially released, including the generation system that limits the blockchain to the creation of 21 million Bitcoins by 2040. It was a pretty simple outline, tbh. But the big question is not how, it’s who. The simple answer is: some guy called Satoshi Nakamoto. But damn, it gets way more complicated than that. Satoshi Nakamoto was certainly the name on the white paper that first introduced Bitcoin to the world back in 2008. He’s the guy who registered the first website, the guy who mined the first ever Bitcoin block (and hid a secret line of text in it poking fun at normal banks), the guy who wrote and modified all the source code for the first couple of years. He’s the guy who did the first ever transaction on January 12, sending 10 Bitcoins from Block 170 to developer Hal Finney. He’s the king of cryptocurrency, the big enchilada. But is he real? Sorry to disappoint you but probably not. Although his online profile (back in 2012) claimed to be a 37 year old nerd living in Japan, there’s a whole bunch of evidence to suggest that ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ was actually a fake name – and finding the “real” Satoshi has become the Holy Grail of the Bitcoin universe. From space aliens to a reincarnation of Scientology fantasist Ron L. Hubbard time travelling agent from the future (yes, there’s a Reddit on it), a time travelling agent from the future, to CIA operatives, everyone has an opinion. One journalist thinks he’s Elon Musk. Another has suggested notorious drug dealer Paul Le Roux. Some people think he’s British, because he uses British words and often posted in what seemed to be a UK timezone. Most people, however, seem to think it’s one of the original in-crowd of Bitcoin developers. Maybe Gavin Andresen, the guy who Nakamoto apparently “handed over” the source code to back in 2010 before he mysteriously disappeared. Or Nick Szabo, the flamboyant founder of Bit Gold (BTGUSD), an early precursor to Bitcoin. There have been multiple pretenders to the crown over the years, but so far they’ve all fallen by the wayside – some more heavily than others. With over a million Bitcoins still sitting in Satoshi’s personal wallets (which would make him one of the top 50 richest men in the world) there’s a BIG incentive to reappear – but if he exists, and he’s alive, he ain’t budging. To this day, Satoshi’s identity is still the biggest mystery of Bitcoin 🧐
The Genesis Block message: "The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks."
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