It’s hard to believe but Bitcoin has been in the public domain for a decade now. Boy, has it been a rocky ride, but the original cryptocurrency has helped pave the way for secure, decentralised digital transactions covering all aspects of everyday life. It all started back in 2009, when the cryptographic concept of Bitcoin was unleashed into the ether by an individual or collective that went by the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto.
We’ll never truly know whether Satoshi is a real person or whether Nakamoto represents a group of cryptography experts. Nevertheless, Bitcoin was unveiled to very little fanfare back in 2009, taking little time for people to take it seriously and have faith in using it as a secure, legitimate form of payment.
It was a snowball effect for Bitcoin from the moment the first real-world Bitcoin transaction was completed in May 2010. An individual used 10,000 Bitcoins to purchase two Papa John’s takeaway pizzas, with 10,000 Bitcoins thought to be worth just $40 at the time. Had that person held onto those 10,000 Bitcoins, they would have been worth $190 million at their peak value. More on that shortly.
Bitcoin managed to overcome a major hack later that summer, which almost threatened its very existence. Its reputation strengthened further in early 2011, when its value hit parity with the US dollar, pricking the ears of investors worldwide. Its value soared even faster once businesses and industries began to accept it as a genuine form of payment.
While Bitcoin’s success also encouraged the development of additional cryptocurrencies, known as altcoins, such as Ripple (2013) and Ethereum (2015), it also spawned a host of ingenuous altcoins. According to recent research by Betway into the most ridiculous altcoins, OneCoin saw the creator, Dr Ruja Ignatova, charged with wire and securities fraud, as well as money laundering through the OneCoin platform.
These failed altcoins only further served to cement Bitcoin as the number-one cryptocurrency of choice; a decentralised digital payment option that could offer security and transparency. By December 2017, Bitcoin’s value reached its all-time high of $19,783.06. A-list celebrities such as 50 Cent were rumoured to have made $8 million from a Bitcoin account he created in 2014 but forgot all about.
However, the ‘boom’ era of Bitcoin was quickly followed by a period of ‘bust’. In early 2018, Bitcoin’s value fell by as much as third overnight, sparking mass panic among investors and glee among those who called Bitcoin a ‘bubble’. Fortunately, the value of Bitcoin settled in 2019, as the regulatory climate around the world continued to embrace Bitcoin’s potential. What’s in store for Bitcoin in the next decade? Fighting off new altcoins such as Facebook’s Libra coin will be its number-one target, which could help its value scale new heights.