10 Years Bitcoin Anniversary: Genesis Block
On January 3, 2019, the largest cryptocurrency by market cap — Bitcoin (BTC) — celebrated the 10th year of its existence. For a lot of people, these ten years flew by. Despite the fact that a lot has happened, it still seems like it was only yesterday that news about the new form of digital cash started flowing around the web.
However, for Bitcoin and other crypto projects, these ten years were marked by constant struggle, with countless milestones reached in an attempt to ensure their very existence and survival. While Bitcoin was conceptualized a few months earlier, January 3, 2009 was the date when it all officially started and when Bitcoin's Genesis Block was mined. It took a decade for this cryptocurrency to get where it is now, with no help from institutions, banks, or governments, which were typically strongly against it for most of its history.
Of course, the fight for survival and going mainstream is still far from over. In fact, many would say that it is only just starting and that everything so far was only establishing the battleground and introducing the combatants. However, the future of crypto is a topic for another time, and right now, we would like to take a look back and see some of the biggest events in Bitcoin's history.
A brief history of Bitcoin
Bitcoin came to be as a response to an economic crisis of 2008 when an anonymous user/group decided that banks have crossed the line and that their misuse of power can no longer be tolerated. This unidentified individual or team later became known as Satoshi Nakamoto, and their real identity has never been truly revealed, even after ten years of Bitcoin's existence.
If asked, many would say that the first ever Bitcoin-related event happened when its white paper was published. However, there was another, real beginning of it all, which occurred on August 18, 2008. This was the date when Bitcoin.org domain came to be registered by an anonymous user. Naturally, nobody knew what was coming, so nobody really paid any attention to this.
Then, October 31, 2008 — the famous BTC white paper was published. It was named “Bitcoin A Peer-to-Peer electronic cash system”, it had nine pages, and it started the series of events that are still unraveling to this very day.
That brings us to Bitcoin's official launch and the mining of its first block — the Genesis Block — which happened on January 3, 2009. Back then, the reward for mining was as high as 50 BTC. However, it should also be noted that Bitcoin basically had no value at this time in its existence.
Only nine days later, Satoshi Nakamoto successfully completed the first-ever Bitcoin transaction. This happened on January 12, 2009 when Nakamoto managed to send 10 BTC to Hal Finney, a well-known cryptographer. As mentioned, Bitcoin was still worthless at this point, and this situation continued for more than half a year. Finally, on October 5, 2009, Bitcoin received its first exchange rate.
This was a huge milestone for the coin, even though its value was still so low that it was nearly non-existent. At the time, $1 had the ability to by around 2300 BTC. As mentioned, this was virtually worthless in terms of value. However, it also officially marked the start of crypto trading, as any value is good enough, as long as it exists. Many would still argue that this might be the moment when Bitcoin actually “came alive”.
While there are still very few practical uses for Bitcoin coins today, as not a lot of shops and businesses would accept it, there are at least some things that you can do with it these days. Back in 2009, there were none. Because of this, Bitcoin's next milestone came on May 22, 2010, when an individual called Laszlo Hanyecz used BTC to buy physical goods for the first time. He paid 10,000 BTC and got two pizzas in return. Since then, they have become the two most expensive pizzas in the history of the world.
Bitcoin's next big milestone came less than a year later when the coin's price hit $1. As mentioned, when it first received any value, $1 was equal to 2300 BTC. However, on February 8, 2011 — $1 equaled 1 BTC for the first time in history.
More than four years after Bitcoin white paper came out, the coin faced the first halving of its mining reward that was 50 BTC per block up to that point. On November 28, 2012, the reward was cut in half by design, and miners received 25 BTC for each mined block from this day onwards.
One year later, in November 2013, Bitcoin price reached that of an ounce of gold, which was $1000. This is also the moment when BTC started attracting more attention, and when investors started entering the crypto space in greater numbers. However, the situation quickly turned four months later, when in February 2014, the largest crypto exchange of that time — Mt Gox — ended up being hacked and losing 850,000 BTC. The exchange was forced to shut down due to this event, and later filed for bankruptcy. This event brought a big change into the crypto world, as BTC price dropped, and the bear market took hold. It took BTC around three years to fully recover from this blow.
However, before this recovery took place, a few more events occurred, one of which came in December 2015, when Microsoft started accepting payments in BTC. After that, Bitcoin experienced another halving of its mining rewards, which happened on July 9, 2016. However, when 2017 arrived, things started picking up again, and the coin's price kept growing throughout the year.
This resulted in a new all-time high, which BTC reached in December 2017, when its price nearly hit $20,000 per coin. This was a result of a large hype that surrounded the crypto space, and investors around the world started flooding the market and pumping up the price. While BTC certainly has potential to reach this value, many believe that it was reached much sooner than it was supposed to because of the hype, which led to a large market crash in January 2018.
Throughout 2018, BTC has been losing its value until it seemingly found a bottom at $6400. This situation persisted until November 2018, when a second market crash brought the coin down to $3200, which was the lowest point BTC experienced in the entire year. Since then, it slightly recovered, and on the day of the 10th anniversary of the Genesis Block, the price of the largest cryptocurrency fluctuated at around $3860.