Halloween 2018 marks the tenth anniversary of the basics of bitcoin, the first cryptocurrency in the world, a heritage that can boast of having alterations in the perception of what can be considered a real asset in the financial markets.
About ten years ago, the mysterious bitcoin founder, Satoshi Nakamoto, published a nine-page academic style document titled "Bitcoin: a peer-to-peer electronic payment system". The document will act as the founding text of the cryptocurrency and will lead to the first bitcoin transactions that will be carried out at the beginning of 2009.
It is impossible to say how much the bitcoin has grown in price, like its first incarnation, because its value was then in the fractions of cents. A conservative estimate, based on the current Bitcoin price of about $ 6,300 per coin, and its initial price of less than $ 0.01, would see bitcoin's value increase by over 1 million times in the last decade.
2008-2010: the first years
The first bitcoin transactions were done privately, so nobody really knows when or how many, but it is believed that the first exchange was between Nakamoto and developer Hal Finney. Many have speculated that Finney, who died in 2014, may actually have been Satoshi.
The adoption of Bitcoin has grown slowly in the beginning, with the cryptocurrency that captured the main attention in May 2010 on a day that became known as "Bitcoin Pizza Day".
It was on May 22nd, when the purchase of two pizzas by Pope John of Laszlo Hanyecz from another bitcoin enthusiast marked what is believed to be the first "real" bitcoin transaction. Hanyecz has exchanged 10,000 bitcoins for two large pizzas of Pope John, a sale now worth about $ 63 million.
2013 onwards: mainstream appeal
Bitcoin's journey continued slowly in the beginning, but hit the mainstream in 2013 after the first of numerous episodes of hyperinflation in the currency. At the end of 2013, the peak of cryptocurrency reached a value of about $ 100 per coin at $ 1,000 in just over a month, before halving the value in the next three or four months. Bitcoin will not hit $ 1,000 again until 2017.
The peak, however, drew the attention of the mainstream media, with Joe Weisenthal of Business Insider who wrote a famous editorial entitled "I'm Changing My Mind About Bitcoin" – which a few weeks earlier had called bitcoin one "joke".
For the next three years, bitcoin has remained in a range of about $ 400 – never traded above $ 650 or much less than $ 250. The most important event of that period was the collapse of Mt Gox, the first exchange Absolutely, it filed for bankruptcy after the hackers stole nearly $ 500 million bitcoins and another $ 30 million of cash deposits.
The hack, still the largest ever in cryptographic space, has exposed huge flaws in security and has exacerbated the reputation of bitcoin as a Wild West resource with minimal or no financial protection for its users.
2017: the bitcoin bubble swells
After three years of relative calm, bitcoin really hit the mainstream in 2017, a year that saw the cryptocurrency increase from about $ 1,000 per coin to almost $ 20,000 per currency in a few months.
Part of the spearhead of that huge leap in value was the bitcoin "fork" that saw the bitcoin split into bitcoin and bitcoin cash, after a group of Chinese developers decided to split the original bitcoin code for protest what Reuters calls "currency technology improvements" designed to increase its ability to process transactions. "
2017 also saw the first major public efforts by financial institutions to be involved in cryptocurrencies, with two US exchanges, CME and CBOE, creating platforms for customers to trade bitcoin futures. Several major banks have also announced cryptography projects, which have helped fuel the rapidly growing bitcoin price bubble.
That bubble began to burst just before Christmas – just a couple of weeks after the launch of futures – and by the end of January 2018, the bitcoin had dropped from around $ 20,000 per coin to just $ 10,000.
The falls were partly driven by the growing fear that regulators would plan to suppress cryptocurrency, which until then had operated largely outside the auspices of normal regulators.
Bitcoin continued to decline at the start of 2018, before stabilizing at around $ 7,000 per currency. It has remained between $ 6,000 and $ 7,000 since June, and the volatility that characterized the market in 2017 and at the start of 2018 has almost vanished. On its tenth anniversary, the bitcoin is trading at $ 6,305 per currency, according to Markets Insider.
While now it has entered well and truly into the traditional consciousness, there are still concerns that it has a longevity and that it could eventually fail. Wences Casares, known as Bitcoin's "Patient Zero" for his role in stimulating interest in the crypt in Silicon Valley, also expressed concern for his future.
"It could work, it might not work," he told Bloomberg on Monday. "We are in the equivalent of 1992 for the Internet."