A complete overview of major Bitcoin events and price history — from Satoshi Nakamoto early posts on the Bitcointalk forum, to events leading up to Bitcoin's all-time-high recently.
Satoshi Nakamoto — Creator of the First Cryptocurrency
Satoshi maintained that Bitcoin could do away with financial intermediaries like global banks and corporate monoliths, which have repeatedly breached our trust and our privacy.
Yet most will agree that Bitcoin has already had — and will continue to have — a profound impact on our global economy.
In the years that followed, it was developed by a group of dedicated, likeminded individuals who saw great value in a new type of technology where nobody else did.
This article covers some of the key events in Bitcoin’s history, from its inception and early development, through to El Salvador’s recent adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender.
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Bitcoin Timeline and Price History
2008 – 2010
The whitepaper describes Bitcoin as “an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust, allowing any two willing parties to transact directly with each other without the need for a trusted third party.”
Satoshi included a description of how transactions would work as follows:
“Each owner transfers the coin to the next by digitally signing a hash of the previous transaction and the public key of the next owner and adding these to the end of the coin. A payee can verify the signatures to verify the chain of ownership.”
Satoshi also included a description of Bitcoin’s proof of work system, pictured below.
There are several messages from Hal Finney, a fellow software developer, alerting Satoshi to some bugs in Bitcoin’s initial code.
Finney, pictured below, is believed to be the second person to run the Bitcoin network after Satoshi.
He writes, “I’ve developed a new open-source P2P e-cash system called Bitcoin. It’s completely decentralized, with no central server or trusted parties, because everything is based on crypto proof instead of trust.”
Satoshi’s description of the problem solved by Bitcoin is pictured below.
This thread includes some interesting back and forth between the first ever Bitcoin users and Satoshi, including an explanation as to why Bitcoin transactions can’t contain encrypted messages.
“A lot of people automatically dismiss e-currency as a lost cause because of all the companies that failed since the 1990's. I hope it's obvious it was only the centrally controlled nature of those systems that doomed them. I think this is the first time we're trying a decentralized, non-trust-based system.”
At this point, there was no “official” or established method for buying and selling goods and services with Bitcoin, and no exchanges, so trading Bitcoin for goods and services usually required some bartering over the internet.
Thanks to Lazlo, Bitcoin fans fondly refer to May 22 as Bitcoin Pizza Day.
It’s not much consolation, but at least Lazlo has the bragging rights for eating the most expensive meal in the history of our species.
An excerpt from the post is pictured below.
Another user added, “the admin who deleted the article is an expert on glaciers. Does this make him an ice-hole?”
Satoshi posted a message on Sourceforge warning users not to trust transactions after the hack occurred, pictured below.
To date, this was arguably the most serious direct breach of the Bitcoin network.
The article suggested that the Wikileaks scandal led to the creation of Bitcoin, which isn’t correct.
Satoshi responded to the article being shared on the Bitcointalk forums the following day, writing, “it would have been nice to get this attention in any other context. WikiLeaks has kicked the hornet's nest, and the swarm is headed towards us.”
While the article didn’t provide Bitcoin with positive press, it had a profound impact on spreading the word about the Satoshi’s creation.
2011 – 2014
Shavers was eventually sentenced to 18 months in prison and faced heavy fines as well as a $40 million civil action.
This was the first time a recognized, global company had agreed to accept Bitcoin as payment for its services.
Hearn’s message on Bitcointalk.org is pictured below.
A second Bitcoin blockchain was created that ran in parallel with the true version. Each blockchain had its own distinct transaction ledger.
Bitcoin trading was immediately stopped so that developers could find and fix the bug. An updated version including a patch to prevent the bug causing the same problem again was released in just six hours.
This bug shook the confidence of many Bitcoin users — yet many still consider the speed and accuracy of the fix to be a remarkable achievement by the development team and wider community.
The twins were the among the first publicly recognizable figures to disclose a large stake in Bitcoin. At the time, they claimed to have an $11 million stash of Bitcoin, for which they paid around $10 per coin.
Cameron Winklevoss said to the New York Times, “people really don’t want to take it seriously. At some point that narrative will shift to ‘virtual currencies are here to stay.’ We’re in the early days.”
Charlie Munger (centre), vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, responds that his belief is that Bitcoin is “rat poison.” Warren Buffet (right) plays it safe, saying “I think either Charlie or Bill is right.”
To date, Munger has maintained this position. In 2019, he said “I think the whole damn development is disgusting and contrary to the interests of civilization.”
The committee found that Bitcoin had legitimate and beneficial uses such as micro-payments, faster payment settlement time and enhanced security. Naturally, there was much discussion of Bitcoin’s risks, such as providing criminals with an easier avenue for money laundering.
Calvery later added, “in some countries there may be an interest in Bitcoin because where you have a home currency that might be considered extremely volatile, Bitcoin might be considered a better place in which to store value.”
Bitcoin’s price surges over the $1,000 mark shortly after Yi’s announcement, reaching another all-time high of $1,156.10 in December.
2014 – 2017
Mt. Gox’s CEO, Mark Karpeles, said the loss wasn’t due to a fault in Bitcoin’s code, but rather his firm’s inadequate security.
The man Newsweek believed to be the real Satoshi was a Japanese American engineer called Dorian Nakamoto. Nakamoto shared a few professional similarities with Satoshi, as well as his last name.
To this day, Dorian Nakamoto denies that he is Satoshi.
Newsweek initially shared a photo of Nakamoto’s home, which meant that practically anyone could find out where he lived. This prompted a ferocious backlash against Newsweek for its irresponsible reporting.
The European Court of Justice’s statement said that Bitcoin trades and transactions “are exempt from VAT (value-added tax) under the provision concerning transactions relating to currency, bank notes and coins used as legal tender.”
Unfortunately, as many in the crypto community quickly pointed out, email addresses are easily forged, and this particular email did not contain Satoshi’s cryptographic signature.
Nonetheless, the phrase “We are all Satoshi” is still a favorite on the crypto forums.
- Having a PhD from Charles Sturt University;
- Lecturing at Charles Sturt University;
- Being a subject coordinator for Charles Sturt University.
A statement from the Charles Sturt University is pictured below.
Wright had previously listed these qualifications and work experiences on his LinkedIn profile, which has since been deleted. Upon the Forbes article’s release, Wright deleted his Twitter handle, @dr_craigh_wright.
2018 – 2022
The Copyright Office also confirmed that multiple people can register claims, and it only costs $55 to do so, and the department will only refuse a claim if it is readily apparent the claim is false.
During an interview on CNBC, he said, “Bitcoin could be an asset class that has a lot of attraction as a store of value to both millennials and the new West Coast money and, as you know, they got a lot of it.”
Many media outlets argued that Nayib Bukele, the country’s president, was taking far too great a risk with El Salvador’s economy.
November 10, 2021, BTC Price: $68,742 – Bitcoin price reached a record high, touching $68,742 as inflation data points to the high in three decades.
November 12, 2021, BTC price: $64,155.
November 15, 2021, BTC Price: $63,557.
US President Joe Biden signs a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill which includes some crypto regulation. The bill specifically asks that CeFi exchanges notify the IRS of any and all crypto transactions, similar to how traditional stockbrokers have to supply details of who’s buying stocks and shares. This new reporting requirement is designed to help the IRS track down investors who haven’t paid tax on their gains.
Following the bill’s announcement, Bitcoin’s price plummeted by nearly 10% to $57,000.
December 1, 2021, BTC Price: $57,229.
Bitcoin’s price crashes from $57,229 on December 1st to $49,200 by December 3rd. CNBC and various other news outlets claim the COVID-19 Omicron variant is mostly to blame for the crash. CNBC later interviews Brian Kelley, the CEO and founder of crypto investment firm BKCM, who suggests Bitcoin’s crash was started by investment funds taking their profits throughout December.
December 9, 2021, BTC Price: $47,672.
An IMF blog post suggests that cryptocurrencies are “potentially changing the international monetary and financial system in profound ways,” which rouses much cheering from the crypto community.
December 14, 2021, BTC Price: $46,612.
The UK’s central bank, the Bank of England, warns investors that Bitcoin could become “worthless.” The bank’s statement queries where Bitcoin gets its value from, and whether it has any value at all. However, the bank’s financial policy committee, set up in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, acknowledged that crypto doesn’t pose a threat to the UK’s financial stability.
January 2, 2022, BTC Price: $47,345.
Mass protests break out in Kazakhstan after the government removes energy price caps, causing energy prices (and Bitcoin mining costs) to surge. The protests escalate into violent riots reportedly fuelled by country-wide economic inequality, and eventually lead to 277 deaths and at least 10,000 arrests. After four days of rioting, on January 6, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev blocked all internet access across Kazakhstan, ending Bitcoin mining nation-wide.
In a typical year, this wouldn’t have caused much of a problem. However, owing to China’s crypto mining ban, Kazakhstan was at the time saturated with Bitcoin miners. In fact, its share of Bitcoin miners grew from 1.4% in September 2019, before China banned crypto, to 18% when President Tokayev turned the lights off. As such, Bitcoin’s global hashrate fell by 14% during the first two blackout days.
During the three weeks following these protests, Bitcoin’s price dropped from $47,345 to $35,030.
February 8, 2022, BTC Price: $44,118.
February 9, 2022, BTC Price: $44,338.
February 24, 2022, BTC Price: $38,332.
Russia launches a full-scale assault on Ukraine, pressing fast towards the cities of Kyiv, Kharkiv and Kherson. Russian civilian aircraft are banned from EU airspace, and Russian state-owned media are banned from EU airwaves. Before long, the Russian government threatens to shut off gas supplies to the EU, which quickly sends energy prices – and Bitcoin mining costs – to the moon.
Coinbase’s statement says, “At this time, we will not institute a blanket ban on all Coinbase transactions involving Russian addresses. Instead, we will continue to implement all sanctions that have been imposed, including blocking accounts and transactions that may involve sanctioned individuals or entities.”
Binance releases a similar statement, in which CZ explains that Binance wouldn’t ban users from one country because “we don’t think we have the authority to do so.”
Kraken CEO Jesse Powell goes further than Coinbase and Binance, arguing the US government had no right to ask his company to freeze Russian accounts: “if we were going to voluntarily freeze financial accounts of residents of countries unjustly attacking and provoking violence around the world, step 1 would be to freeze all U.S. accounts.”
One exchange does comply with the requests; a Ukrainian NFT exchange called DMarket. DMarket freezes accounts registered to Russian and Belarusian citizens, and later prevents people from either country from opening accounts on the site.
Bitcoin’s price plummets from $44,000 the week before Russia invades to $34,000 by the end of February.
March 9, 2022, BTC Price: $41,982.
The order lays out various policy statements related to crypto, such as “we must protect consumers, investors, and businesses in the United States,” and, “we must support technological advances that promote responsible development and use of digital assets.”
One of the order’s notable objectives is to “mitigate the illicit finance and national security risk posed by misuse of digital assets.” This objective likely pertains to Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine and specific concerns about the Russian state (including senior Russian government officials) avoiding financial sanctions using crypto.
April 27, 2022, BTC Price: $39,241.
Following the legislation’s passing, CAR citizens can use the CFA Franc and Bitcoin for all their day-to-day spending. Experts suggest the legislation could help the CAR reduce its independence on the US dollar for international trade, and help citizens protect their wealth from currency inflation.
May 7, 2022, BTC Price: $35,501.
The Terra network, one of crypto’s biggest success stories in 2021, starts coming apart at the seams. Its eventual crash will likely be remembered as one of the most spectacular collapses in crypto history, and the repercussions will be felt for years.
Terra is chiefly known for its algorithmic stablecoin, UST, which was pegged to $1 using a companion token called Luna. Unlike other stablecoins (like USDC), Terra doesn’t store cash in reserve to support its price peg. Instead, the protocol automatically executes swaps to maintain UST’s price peg based on supply and demand. Well, that was the idea anyway.
Bitcoin’s price dropped from $35,501 to $28,900 during the peak fallout.
June 12, 2022, BTC Price: $26,762.
Bitcoin’s price sank by 12% the following day.
Celsius users erupted into a furious rage following the announcement, with most criticising the platform for taking their money hostage and leaving them in the dark. The company refuses to offer any timeline for when its 1.7 million clients could withdraw or transfer their funds. A short while later, the global crypto markets dipped below $1 trillion for the first time since January 2021.
While this is of course true, many users quickly point out this doesn’t explain why their funds had to be frozen in the first place, or why the firm is filing for bankruptcy.
June 15, 2022, BTC Price: $22,572
Rumours emerge that a highly respected venture capital firm called Three Arrows Capital (3AC), which once managed $18 billion in assets at its peak, has become the latest casualty of the crypto crash set off by Terra’s collapse.
Speculation begins after Su Zhu, one of the firm’s founders, tweets:
“We are in the process of communicating with relevant parties and fully committed to working this out.”
Rather than clarify the situation, this tweet suggests the firm is in big trouble without explaining exactly what’s going on, how much capital is at risk, and who might be affected. However, one point seemed clear at the time: the earlier collapse of Celsius and Terra probably had something to do with 3AC’s crisis.
At the time of Terra’s collapse, 3AC’s founders — Kyle Davies and Su Zhu — assured their investors that the crash wouldn’t affect their firm. This assurance was unfortunately untrue, as it later emerged that 3AC had borrowed billions of dollars from platforms like Celsius, Genesis and more to invest in Terra, including swapping $500 million in Bitcoin for an equivalent sum of Luna — Terra’s now nearly worthless governance token.
When LUNA crashed, this $500 million investment practically vanished into thin air. As such, 3AC was circling the drain, but their investors were none the wiser.
Bitcoin, which started June hovering at $32,000 or so, nosedived to $18,000 during the peak of 3AC’s collapse. While other factors certainly influenced Bitcoin’s price, 3AC’s demise undoubtedly played a significant role in Bitcoin dipping below $20,000 for the first time since 2020.
On June 29, two weeks after Zhu’s Tweet, a court in the British Virgin Islands ordered 3AC to liquidate its assets. And on July 1, the firm officially filed for bankruptcy in a New York court, without Zhu or Davies present. Bankruptcy documents reveal 3AC owes at least $3 billion to its creditors.
Despite Zhu and Davies disappearing from public life, they both submitted financial claims against their own firm as part of the bankruptcy filings: Zhu for $5 million and Davies’ wife for $65.7 million. The good people of Twitter mercilessly ridicule the founders for disappearing and refusing to explain how they bankrupted their firm, while simultaneously filing court documents to pursue claims against their own penniless company. This leads a US court to freeze the founders’ assets, citing their near-total lack of communication with their creditors as a cause.
It's not readily apparent how 3AC so suddenly imploded, but one theory posits the firm was both over leveraged and long on all its investments at a time when the crypto market was rapidly crashing. This, combined with its massive bet on Terra, caused a firm that was once revered and respected to dramatically crash and burn, and its founders to flee from public life in disgrace.
June 17, 2022, Bitcoin Price: $20,381.
July 20, 2022, Bitcoin Price: $24,169.
The move follows Tesla’s founder Elon Musk’s change of heart on Bitcoin back in May, when he suggested that while “cryptocurrency is a good idea on many levels…this cannot come at great cost to the environment.” Following this earlier announcement, Tesla stopped accepting Bitcoin payments for its electric vehicles.