Developed by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 and first mined the following year, Bitcoin is synonymous with cryptocurrency. It is the most valuable cryptocurrency by a considerable margin, and all other virtual currencies are known as altcoins by the very nature that they aren’t Bitcoin. Below is a look at six important milestones en route to Bitcoin becoming a valued commodity with a market cap of $1.13 trillion.
A single Bitcoin token was valued at just a fraction of a cent in 2010, but reached $32 by June of the following year. One month before it reached that price, BitPay launched a payment processor to facilitate legitimate Bitcoin payments. The platform attracted more than 1,100 merchants within its first year.
Individuals are required to “mine” new Bitcoin tokens using hardware that solves complex computational math equations. This process was originally incentivized with the offer of 50 Bitcoin for the mining of a single block. However, Bitcoin underwent a reward “halving” from 50 to 25 in 2012 to reduce inflation and discourage mining. Within four years of this decision, Bitcoin’s price increased from $12 to $650.
The first-ever Bitcoin ATM was installed in October 2013 in Vancouver, Canada. Another Bitcoin ATM was introduced that same month in Bratislava, Slovakia. As of October 2021, there are nearly 30,000 Bitcoin ATMs spread throughout 73 countries. There are around 30 different types of Bitcoin ATMs, all of which allow individuals to buy and sell Bitcoin.
Bitcoin is a commodity that has experienced massive price surges throughout its history. For example, it was trading at $13.40 in January 2013 but surpassed the $100 mark and reached $220 by the beginning of April. Yet, it declined rapidly over the next couple of weeks and was trading at $70 in mid-April.
PayPal’s adoption of Bitcoin in 2020 further legitimized the cryptocurrency as an accepted form of payment. As opposed to trading cryptocurrencies on special exchanges, individuals can now invest as little as $1 in Bitcoin and select altcoins via the popular digital payments company.
The COVID-19 pandemic shut down many national economies and government policies brought about widespread concerns about the global economy among investors. While many traditional stocks slumped at the outset of the pandemic, Bitcoin’s price surged. It was valued at $7,200 at the beginning of 2020 and, as of March 2021, reached an all-time high price in excess of $60,000.