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A History of Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency’s Most Illuminating Moments [Infographic]

Bitcoin History

Admittedly, it is a bit odd phrasing anything as the history of Bitcoin, since it only got its start a decade ago. However, the short life of this pioneering cryptocurrency is already storied with drama, innovation, and memes (the glorious memes).

The background to Bitcoin’s start is peppered with enigmatic characters, contentious tribalism, and millennial millionaires. Stories of overpriced pizza, a Stanford mafia, and people you likely haven’t thought about since watching the Mighty Ducks or The Social Network.

And whether it was Brock Pierce and the Winkelvii twins who piqued your interest here, or the incredible developer community, which has molded and shaped the code cementing the protocols behind Bitcoin, the peaks and valleys in the history of Bitcoin go far beyond its price volatility.

Bitcoin History: Start to Present Day

history of bitcoin timeline

Pre Bitcoin

Bitcoin is the sum of its parts with a genius twist. Like the personal computer, the Internet, and iPhone before it, Bitcoin is a compilation of a handful of existing technologies and theories. It is this collection of virtual currencies and digital networking that enabled Satoshi to craft a decentralized and immutable digital currency.

  1. 1982 David Chaum formalizes eCash in his paper “Blind Signatures for Untraceable Payments”. [Source]
  2. May 1997 Adam Back invents Hashcash. [Source]
  3. 1998 Nick Szabo conceptualizes Bit Gold. [Source]
  4. Nov 1998 Wei Dai publishes an essay outlining B-money. [Source]
    1. [B-money] [Wei Dai]
  5. 2004 Hal Finney creates RPOW (reusable proof of work) [Source]
  6. Aug 18, 2008 gets registered to the interwebs.
  7. Oct  31, 2008 Satoshi Nakamoto first shares the Bitcoin P2P e-cash paper on Cryptography Mailing List [Source]

Post Bitcoin

Bitcoin, the idea, has been released to the world. Satoshi’s white paper has immortalized the theory behind decentralized blockchains. Aside from erasing every copy of the Bitcoin white paper ever in existence, there is no turning back now.

Early 2009 saw the first implementation of Satoshi’s theorized Bitcoin. After which, there is a decade long explosion of ideas and technologies pushing Bitcoin and subsequent cryptocurrencies into new territories. 

  1. Jan 3, 2009 Nakamoto mines first block for 50 bitcoin. [Source]
  2. Jan 9, 2009 Bitcoin software first released [Source]
  3. Jan 12, 2009 Hal Finney receives first bitcoin transaction. Block #170. [Source]
  4. Oct 5, 2009 Bitcoin gets a price! 1USD = 1309.03BTC from New Liberty Standards. [Source]
  5. May 22, 2010 Laslo Hanyecz buys two pizzas for 10 000 bitcoin. [Source]
  6. Sep 18, 2010 First bitcoin mining pool starts – Slush Pool. [Source]
  7. Dec 15, 2010 Bitcoin formally declared dead for the first time. [Source]
  8. Jun 14, 2011 Wikileaks first accepts bitcoin donations. [Source]
    1. Forbes quote about Wikileaks accepting bitcoin reflects the early belief that bitcoin was anonymous and untraceable.  “On Tuesday the secret-spilling group announced via Twitter that it will now be accepting donations of Bitcoins, a wholly digital and theoretically untraceable currency.” [Source]
  9. Oct 13, 2011 Charlie Lee forks us a lite version of Bitcoin. [Source]
  10. Sep 2012 Bitcoin Foundation is established. [Source]
    1. Founded to ”…accelerate the global growth of bitcoin through standardization, protection, and promotion of the open source protocol.” [Source]
    2. At the time of founding, Bitcoin Foundation membership was 2.5 BTC annually. At current, membership is $100 USD annually (payable in bitcoin).  [Source]
  11. Nov 28, 2012  First Bitcoin block reward halvening. [Source]
  12. Oct 2, 2013 The Dread Pirate Roberts is arrested. [Source]
    1. The Silk Road is shut down, and Ross Ulbricht is arrested as its founder and chief operator. At the time The Silk Road was bitcoin’s primary use case outside speculation. [Source]
  13. Dec 18, 2013 A meme is born – hashtag HODL. [Source]
    1. It took 15 minutes before the first HODL meme was created after the term was coined by user GameKyuubi on [Source]
  14. Feb 28, 2014 Mt. Gox files for Bankruptcy. [Source]
  15. July 2014 Realcoin is launched and later rebranded to Tether. [Source]
  16. Sept 22, 2015 Circle becomes the first company to receive New York’s first BitLicense. [Source]
  17. Jul 30, 2015 Ethereum’s Frontier is released setting the foundation for the later Homestead which was considered the first stable version of Ethereum.
  18. Aug 17, 2015 Augur begins Ethereum’s first ICO.
  19. May 02, 2016 Craig Wright claims himself to be Satoshi. [Source]
  20. Jun 17, 2016 DAO Hack on Ethereum [Source]
  21. Jul 9, 2016 Second Bitcoin block reward halvening.
  22. Oct 28 ,2016 Zcash hits the scene [Source]
    1. Zcash begins – “The Zcash blockchain is live! We released the genesis block this morning, and people all around our planet have begun mining and transacting on it.” – Zooko Wilcox [Source]
  23. Jul 17, 2017 John Mcafee bets his manhood on Bitcoin. [Source]
  24. Aug 1, 2017 Bitcoin Cash forks away for bigger block sizes. [Source]
    1. Bitcoin block # 478558.
    2. “A first software implementation of the Bitcoin Cash protocol, called [Bitcoin ABC], was recently [revealed] by its lead developer, Amaury “Deadal Nix” Sechét at the [Future of Bitcoin] conference in Arnhem, the Netherlands. Sechét worked at Facebook for the past years and decided to focus on Bitcoin full time earlier this year.” – [Source]
  25. 2017 Japan recognizes Bitcoin as a legal currency.
  26. Dec 17, 2017 Trading opens on Bitcoin Futures from CME Group Inc. and Cboe Futures Exchange. [Source]
  27. Jan 3, 2018 Biiiiiiitcooooonekt! Texas State Securities Board issues a cease and desist to crypto-Ponzi scheme Bitconnect. [Source]
    1. Bitconnect later shutters its operation on Jan 17, 2018. [Source}
  28. Feb 20, 2018 Maduro opens the pre-sale on the Petro, Venezuela’s oil-backed cryptocurrency. [Source]


It’s early in 2019 and already there are more moments that merit being added to this list. Bitcoin – the community, the technology, the industry – seems to only be increasing in pace despite the deep cold from this current crypto winter.

Lightning Network, Bitcoin ETF’s, crypto regulations, institutional interests and so much more are right around the corner in this enchanting and chaotic space.


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