A year ago, a single bitcoin
was valued at $570. Today, after a dramatic year of big ups and downs, bitcoin is over $4,000 and its market cap has gone over $70 billion for the first time.
If you’re struggling to understand how this came to be — or just looking to relive the glory (or nightmare, depending on your perspective) — come along with us on a trip down meme-ory lane.
First, some history.
As bitcoin legend has it, “Satoshi Nakamoto” started hashing out the concept of a decentralized digital currency in 2007. To this day, the true identity of the person (or people) behind bitcoin remains a mystery.
In January 2009, the very first bitcoin was created and just days later, the first transaction took place between “Nakamoto” and crypto activist Hal Finney.
It wasn’t until a year later that the very first real-world bitcoin transaction took place. Programmer Laszlo Hanyecz apparently paid 10,000 bitcoin for a pizza. At the time, that was worth only $25.
Still, the bitcoin world remained a mystery to many.
Then, in the summer of 2010, bitcoin’s value surged tenfold in just five days. Bitcoin fans were thrilled, but the naysayers still weren’t interested.
In November of that year, bitcoin’s market cap reached $1 million.
Silk Road opened for business in 2011, and became best known as a bitcoin marketplace for selling illegal drugs on the dark web.
Just a few months after reaching parity with the dollar, bitcoin hit $10 in June 2011.
And still the volatility:
It rallied above $31 before plunging in “the crash of 2011” all the way back to single digits. By the time the sellers were through, bitcoin was 93% off its peak.
The bitcoin faithful stood strong, and the recovery began.
Mt. Gox, which became the world’s largest bitcoin exchange after opening in 2010, shut down some four years later amid hacks and security breaches that cast a shadow on the future of cryptocurrencies.
There were eventually calls for the government to ban bitcoin. But bitcoin survived, of course, and more and more cryptocurrencies were created.
Then Donald Trump gets elected president…
… and bitcoin really explodes. Ethereum goes along for the ride, and then some.
Which has some people calling “Bubble!”
And others, “To the Moon!”
Even some of the biggest bulls, though, were biting their nails going into the Aug. 1 “hard fork” that brought about a new version of the currency called Bitcoin Cash. But, fork or no fork, bitcoin’s rally wouldn’t be held down and a week after the split, bitcoin was at an all-time high.
Meanwhile, bitcoin is also gaining a reputation as hackers’ ransom of choice.
Given all the hoopla, it’s not so much of a surprise that regulators are finally stepping in.
So, peak bitcoin?
It’s yet to be seen, but as cryptocurrencies climb ever higher, the bitcoin faithful feel vindicated, for now…
… and the skeptics are left to consider how to play a crypto future.