The History of Bitcoin - 12 Key Dates [2020]

Rome’s incredible history was not written in a day. And neither was Bitcoin history. 

We’re only ten years into the roller coaster which is Bitcoin history, full of betrayals, plot twists, epic highs, and terrible lows. 

Someday, Hollywood films will pay A-list actors to play the most amazing parts of Bitcoin’s story. 

But you don’t need to wait for those movies.

In this article, you’ll find the story of Bitcoin through 12 key dates spanning the Bitcoin history timeline. Simply explained.

Here’s a quick Bitcoin history lesson.

Date: 
May 21, 2020
Read time: 
7 minutes

The History of Bitcoin - 12 Key Dates [2020]

Author: Summer B.
Date: 
May 21, 2020
Read time: 
7 minutes

Rome’s incredible history was not written in a day. And neither was Bitcoin history. 

We’re only ten years into the roller coaster which is Bitcoin history, full of betrayals, plot twists, epic highs, and terrible lows. 

Someday, Hollywood films will pay A-list actors to play the most amazing parts of Bitcoin’s story. 

But you don’t need to wait for those movies.

In this article, you’ll find the story of Bitcoin through 12 key dates spanning the Bitcoin history timeline. Simply explained.

Here’s a quick Bitcoin history lesson.

Rome’s incredible history was not written in a day. And neither was Bitcoin history. 

We’re only ten years into the roller coaster which is Bitcoin history, full of betrayals, plot twists, epic highs, and terrible lows. 

Someday, Hollywood films will pay A-list actors to play the most amazing parts of Bitcoin’s story. 

But you don’t need to wait for those movies.

In this article, you’ll find the story of Bitcoin through 12 key dates spanning the Bitcoin history timeline. Simply explained.

Here’s a quick Bitcoin history lesson.

We’re only ten years into the roller coaster which is Bitcoin history, full of betrayals, plot twists, epic highs, and terrible lows.

2005 - Before Bitcoin... Bitgold was proposed.

In 2005, Nick Szabo proposed Bitgold.

It proposed similar features to what Bitcoin is known for: decentralization, proof-of-work, and a blockchain-like system.

Unfortunately, BitGold never took off because of one fatal weakness:

The double-spend problem.

Users of Bitgold could spend their Bitgold twice without being “caught.''

Source:  Biz Vlogs YouTube Channel
 

The problem is similar to the piracy of movies, music, and other digital items. 

Someone could copy/paste the digital token and keep spending it as long as they make copies. Essentially this is counterfeiting. 

Traditional digital payment systems like VISA solve this problem with a centralized, highly secure space where they keep all records of transactions.

But if someone were to break in, they could give themselves all the money they wanted.

Bitgold could not get past that problem. 

Bitgold, at the end of the day, was just another centralized payment system. Nothing truly revolutionary. 

However, some say it was the inspiration that kicked off Bitcoin history.

2008 - Bitcoin’s Whitepaper is Published

In 2008, an anonymous person known as Satoshi Nakamoto arrived on the scene. 

To this day, no one knows who Satoshi is or was. Satoshi first appeared on a few cryptography forums in 2008.

Source: metzdowd.com
 

Then, in January 2009, on a site called SourceForge, Satoshi publicly released version 0.1 of the Bitcoin software. A momentous first step in Bitcoin history. 

He/she/they then launched the network by mining the first block (the “genesis block”). 

He, she, or it (a group or company), published a paper called Bitcoin - A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System

This paper solved the double-spending problem.

Bitcoin solved it by using a decentralized structure. 

Computers all around the world would keep a copy of the blockchain (all the transactions) and verify it with each other.

To break the blockchain, hackers would not need to break into a single ledger (centralized system).

They would need to break into hundreds of ledgers around the world (decentralized system)

A major breakthrough. 

In December 2010, Satoshi disappeared. Many people have claimed to be Satoshi since then, but no one has offered any verifiable proof.

Satoshi’s anonymity remains intact. Pictures do circulate of an old Asian gentleman, but the man in question denies being Satoshi.

Source: theverge.com

2009 - Bitcoin is Launched

In 2009, with help from programmer Hal Finney, Satoshi Nakamoto launched Bitcoin for the first time. 

This was arguably the most important point in the Bitcoin history timeline, because it changed digital finance forever.

Satoshi Nakamoto mined the first blocks in the blockchain himself. 

The first transaction was from Nakamoto to Hal Finney, for a grand total of 10 bitcoins. 

The transaction was a success, and it is permanently recorded in Bitcoin history thanks to Bitcoin’s unchanging blockchain. 

Sadly, Hal Finney had been diagnosed in 2009 with “Lou Gehrig's disease" or ALS (think Stephen Hawking). 

Hal Finney bravely battled the degenerative disease until August 2014, when he peacefully passed away. 

Until his dying breath, Hal denied being Satoshi Nakamoto and insisted he didn’t know who Nakamoto was.

2010 - 10,000 Bitcoins buy 2 Pizzas.

Another absolutely huge moment in Bitcoin history must be the first transaction between Bitcoin and a real-world item. 

This took place on May 22, 2010. 

That day has now become an anniversary day known as Bitcoin Pizza Day.

Source: bitcointalk.org
 

Laszlo Hanyecz organized it. He posted on Bitcointalk forum: 

"I'll pay 10,000 bitcoins for a couple of pizzas.. like maybe 2 large ones so I have some left over for the next day.

Another user took him up on the offer and bought (with delivery) two Papa John’s pizzas for him in exchange for ... 10,000 BTC!

As a reminder, here’s what 1 Bitcoin is worth today:

 

February 2011 - U.S. Dollar Parity

The price of one Bitcoin finally reached parity with the U.S. dollar.

For the first time, there were enough buyers to raise the price to $1.00 for 1 BTC.

The parity provided a psychological “validation” to people, because one U.S. dollar is viewed as a legitimate type of monetary item. 

November 2013 - The First Bitcoin Bubble

For the first time, Bitcoin burst onto the world stage.

People could tell something big was happening as early as February 2013.

Indeed, Coinbase reported selling over $1 million worth of bitcoins in a single month (the price at the time had climbed from $5 to over $22 per bitcoin).

This was the start of the first major Bitcoin bull run and bubble.

Quickly, Bitcoin reached a dizzying valuation of $1,213 per BTC. 

People around the world were shocked that “fake internet money” could be worth that much.

But the party was over by December of the same year. 

BTC crashed to $600 per coin. 

Yes, it shot back up again to $1000, but then the price fell and stabilized between $650 and $800.

February - March 2014 - Mt. Gox and China

If you could visualize Bitcoin history, you would notice several dark craters where bad things happened. 

The first and perhaps largest was Mt. Gox.

Mt. Gox, the largest crypto exchange in the world, suddenly shut down.

Thousands of people with BTC on the platform were suddenly left with nothing.

Mt. Gox simply shut its doors one day and declared bankruptcy. 

The FBI investigated and seized $2.1 to $5 million in bitcoin, but the vast majority was gone.

Source: techcrunch.com
 

Another crater in Bitcoin history occurred in December when the Chinese government banned bitcoin by preventing banks from dealing with it and its customers.  

Bitcoin price falls again by double digits. 

However, governments are starting to take notice, which provides some legitimacy to bitcoin as an asset class. 

July 2015 - Bitcoin’s competition

Ethereum is created. 

So far, the cryptocurrency space was filled with imposters and other coins trying to “be the next bitcoin” or “be better than bitcoin.”

The only one to give Bitcoin true competition was Ethereum.

That’s because Ethereum wasn’t trying to be a “better bitcoin.” 

It was taking blockchain technology and using it for something other than digital currency.

Ethereum’s blockchain is designed to handle smart contracts

 

Bitcoin’s blockchain can only handle simple exchanges of value from one address to another.

Ethereum’s blockchain can handle transactions that are far more complex, such as digital assets, crypto loan contracts, and more.

August 2016 -- The ICO craze

Ethereum’s smart contracts enabled companies to raise funds in a whole new way.

Traditionally, companies have to reach out to angel investors, accelerators, or conduct a lengthy and expensive IPO (initial public offering) on the stock market.

With Ethereum, all a company had to do is create an Ethereum smart contract.

This new way of raising money was called the ICO, short for Initial Coin Offering.

People around the world could send in ETH or BTC to the address, and the smart contract would automatically send the company's unique new “coins” to them. 

It was like buying stocks. It was speculation, pure and simple.

Bitcoin history was forever altered by this because a whole wave of new competitors began to pop up. 

Along with them came new ideas, new investors, more press coverage, but also scams and hacks

December 2017 - Bitcoin’s Biggest Bubble

Visualizing Bitcoin history is like seeing a mountain range. 

December 2017 is one of the highest peaks.

By this point, the ICO craze had generated so much media buzz, and so many new speculators. 

As a result, Bitcoin and the entire cryptocurrency market reached the peak of their latest bubble. 

Up until this point, Bitcoin had faced competition from 200+ cryptocurrencies, it had been banned by China and India, and Ethereum was taking the spotlight.

But Bitcoin managed to remain king and it emerged victorious at $19,787 per bitcoin.

But not for long….

December 2018 - Bitcoin’s Low Point

One year after the bubble popped, Bitcoin hit its lowest value at $3,300 per coin. 

But that didn’t stop Bitcoin from continuing on.

Throughout the price drop, more people were mining it, more companies were using it, and more funds were investing in it

March 2020 - CoronaVirus vs. Bitcoin

Things were going great. 

Bitcoin started 2020 with a lot of healthy optimism. 

The bitcoin halving was coming up in a few short months in May 2020; the price was hovering around $10,000; good things were on the way.

But then, in March 2020, the CoronaVirus hit the world. 

Traditional markets dropped like a lead balloon. So did Bitcoin.

Source: bbc.com, tradingview.com
 

The price of Bitcoin quickly went down to $3,800 for a few hours. 

However, in a flash, it was soaring back up again!

Since the big drop on March 12, 2020, the price of bitcoin has been recovering with strength.

Nowadays

Could this be the year Bitcoin proves itself? What does the Bitcoin history timeline hold from here on out?

The U.S. Government is printing over $2 trillion of stimulus money to inject into the economy as quickly as possible. 

Not to mention the billions that other countries are printing.

Could that money find its way into Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?

Could this be the decade Bitcoin shows the world how powerful a decentralized, global, cryptocurrency will be?

The future will tell us. 

Which date do you think is most important? What will be the next important date for Bitcoin? 

Let me know in the comments!

More Awesome Resources:

Posted by Summer B.

Summer Brochtrup is a freelance Android Developer, cryptocurrency researcher, and blog writer. She's been to over 40 countries, speaks 4 languages (to various degrees of fluency), and enjoys learning about AI, blockchain, and the way these are changing our world every day.

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