The 31st of October 2018 marks the 10th anniversary of the birth of Bitcoin.
From humble beginnings, the trailblazer of the crypto world is at the very heart of modern finance and is still something of a pioneer in its field. What often gets forgotten is that Bitcoin was born during a time of great financial uncertainty, with markets suffering and terms like Credit Crunch heavy in the air and it is still going strong today.
Bitcoin (BTC) is currently valued at around $6,400 per BTC, which is a lofty position to be in, given the fact that this peer to peer (P2P) electronic cash concept was worth almost nothing when it was first created. The vision of its creator Satoshi Nakamoto, was to realise a direct payment system that could be used to transfer funds from one computer to another, without involving traditional banking mechanisms.
The Present Day
10 years further down the road and this vision is more or less still intact, as payments continue to be performed via a Blockchain - a non-centralised registry. Part of BTC’s rise to prominence is due to the lack of confidence in conventional banks, especially since it was the banking system and its irresponsible lending practices that led to the 2008 financial crash in the first place.
Much of BTC’s evolution happened out of the public spotlight, being focused upon by tech enthusiasts and more pointedly, criminals, who viewed the mechanism as an ideal way to launder their ill gotten gains. This began to change in 2013, when BTC’s value hit $1,000 for the first time and the eyes of the world came to rest on this new way to look at finance.
Not all the attention it received was positive however, as the European Central Bank likened it to a Ponzi scheme and something that would most likely burn brightly and then collapse. However, Ben Bernanke, head of the US Federal Reserve at the time saw it differently and somewhat prophetically, stating that BTC held what he called “Long term promise”.
A Bump In the Road
BTC’s growth has not been without its setbacks, as at the beginning of 2014, the Tokyo based Mt Gox exchange platform on which 8 out of every 10 BTC transactions were performed, was hacked. The resultant collapse in the value of the cryptocurrency was seen as a death knell by some and as a bump in the road by others. The latter proved ultimately to be correct, but it wasn’t until the beginning of 2017 that BTC started to hit the heights it currently occupies.
A Bright Future?
At its height, BTC had a total value of more than $800 billion and whilst it’s fallen back somewhat since then, it has stuck around for the long term, giving rise to more than 2,000 market competitors. And as we stand just a few days away from it’s 10th birthday and with the doom mongers are circling as they have before, repeating almost in unison that crypto’s days are numbered, history tells us that there’s every chance we will be talking about BTC’s 20 year anniversary in another decade’s time.