It’s almost hard to believe that later in 2022 Bitcoin will celebrate its 14th “birthday”. Over the past 14 years, Bitcoin has made great strides, growing ridiculously and preparing to usurp the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency.
Although Bitcoin has been around for what seems like forever, January has been a significant month over the years with several historical events and milestones in Bitcoin’s past.
2009: The dawn of bitcoin
On January 3, 2009, months after the publication of the Bitcoin white paper, Satoshi Nakamoto made history when he mined the Bitcoin genesis block, signing it with the message “The Times Jan/03/2009 The Chancellor is on the brink of a second bailout for the banks”. officially launching the Bitcoin network and highlighting some of the financial turmoil that inspired his invention of Bitcoin.
Just six days later, on January 9, the first Bitcoin client (0.1) was launched, allowing users to transact Bitcoin and paving the way for the first Bitcoin transaction to take place on January 12, when Satoshi Nakamoto sent Hal Finney 10 BTC on block number 170.
2010: The real first purchase of Bitcoin?
Almost everyone knows the story of Laszlo Hanyecz who paid 10,000 BTC for two large pizzas in May 2010, and it was widely accepted as the first “real world” purchase using bitcoin. However, on January 24, 2010, a BitcoinTalk forum user, Sabunir, posted a forum thread titled, “Beginner’s test – anyone want to buy a photo for $1?” where he asked if anyone wanted to buy a wallpaper for $1 in bitcoin.
He posted his wallet address and just a month later two freshly mined batches of 50 BTC were sent to his address, which could very well have been someone “buying” his wallpaper, a simple image of 1280 x 960 which is no longer available on the forum post. If this purchase did indeed take place, it would be the first true “real-world” purchase using bitcoin and another milestone for the digital currency we know today.
2011: Bitcoin for non-profit organizations
On January 20, 2011, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) made history by becoming the first nonprofit to accept donations in bitcoin, paving the way for many more in the years to come. In June 2010 they would stop accepting donations, just before WikiLeaks started accepting bitcoin donations, but they would start accepting bitcoins again in May 2013.
Another historic event occurred in January 2011, when three people each bought 4 BTC at a rate of Z$100,000,000,000,000, or one hundred trillion Zimbabwean dollars using an OTC service. To date, this is still the highest numerical value ever exchanged for bitcoin.
2012: Made for TV
By 2012 Bitcoin had started making waves around the world, and it was featured in “The Good Wife” Season 3 Episode 13 titled “Bitcoin for Dummies”. He saw a lawyer being defended for not revealing the identity of his client, who allegedly created Bitcoin. The episode, which aired on January 15, had 9.45 million US viewers when a single bitcoin cost just $6.90. It was the first time Bitcoin was featured in mainstream media outside of news broadcasts.
2013: Entering the startup scene
Three years after it went live and nearly five years after its initial introduction, investors started taking notice of Bitcoin-related startups. On January 7, BitPay, a bitcoin payment service provider founded in 2011, became the first bitcoin-related startup to raise venture capital funds with a funding round of $510,000. It would raise an additional $2 million later that year.
2014: Gambling and betting
In January 2014, things heated up as more and more businesses started accepting bitcoin payments. Zynga, the mobile developer behind everyone’s favorite mobile games like FarmVille, announced plans on January 4 to allow users to make in-game purchases using bitcoins. Initially, it was limited to just seven titles while the company tested payments using BitPay’s infrastructure.
Later that month, on January 21, two Las Vegas hotels and casinos announced plans to begin accepting bitcoin in parts of their properties. The D Las Vegas Casino Hotel and the Golden Gate Hotel and Casino became the first establishments in Sin City to begin accepting bitcoin, long before it became the common currency it is today.
Interestingly, the February 2014 physical copy of Bitcoin Magazine, written in January 2014, will later be exhibited at the National Museum of American History by the Smithsonian Institute.
2015: Rise and fall
Bitcoin started 2015 quite turbulently, registering one of its strongest monthly declines at the time with a dumping of 30.9% during January 2015. All was not bad at the time, however, Coinbase’s $75 million Series C was noted as the biggest fundraiser for a Bitcoin-related company at the time, launching its Coinbase Exchange later that month.
At the time, Coinbase focused exclusively on bitcoin and helped companies such as Overstock, Dell, Expedia, Dish Network, and Time Inc. start accepting bitcoin payments. It would also partner with payment providers Stripe, Braintree, and PayPal to process bitcoin payments.
2016: Forking Madness
January 2016 saw the first of many failed Bitcoin forks introduced with Bitcoin Classic entering the ring. It wouldn’t last long, but would inspire many others to initiate Bitcoin forks, most as part of a quick cash grab. Bitcoin, as the only true Bitcoin, would continue to see tremendous growth and adoption over the coming years. Interestingly, the Bitcoin network hash rate would also end up exceeding 1 exahash per second for the first time in January 2016.
2017: The start of a bull run
January 2017 started an overly bullish year, which saw bitcoin break above $1,000 for the first time in three years; it would later hit just under $20,000 before a dramatic drop in late 2017.
2018: Governments Attack Bitcoin
After its dramatic rise to prominence in late 2017, January 2018 saw one of the largest global government FUD campaigns against Bitcoin. During this month, banks and governments in Bahrain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Ecuador, Egypt, Ghana, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo, from Mozambique, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Slovenia, South Korea and Tajikistan have strongly opposed bitcoin. as currency.
Other countries would follow in the following months, and by the end of January 2018, Facebook would ban all cryptocurrency-related ads from its global platform. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t all bleak back then, as Samsung partnered with a Chinese company to start creating chips and semiconductors for Bitcoin miners, a Swiss municipality started accepting payments in bitcoin and the Peter Thiel Foundation purchased bitcoin.
2019 (and beyond)
After the dramatic fall in late 2017 and early 2018, Bitcoin has barely left the public eye. Instead, the cautious investor slowly accumulated more and more, while bitcoin saw its ups and downs for the rest of 2018 and most of 2019. Before the eventual halving in May 2020 , Bitcoin began a dramatic surge in the latter part of 2019, just before the global COVID-19 pandemic.
While nothing too big happened during this time, Bitcoin first surpassed $40,000 in January 2021, leading to its historic market cap of $1 trillion shortly thereafter. Moreover, January 2022 was also not without historical events: on January 2, the Bitcoin hash rate exceeded 203.5 exahashes per second for the first time, increasing more than 200 times over the previous six years. .
Bitcoin celebrates many historical milestones during the month of January, it can even be called the real birth month of Bitcoin considering that the network went live in January 2009 when Satoshi mined the genesis block . All things considered, at the end of the day, January should be a month of celebration for everyone in the community, looking back on years of milestones, growth, and building a global and sustainable community.
This is a guest post by Dion Guillaume. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.