Bitcoin’s creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, believed Bitcoin could positively transform
the way we use money by ending our reliance on inflationary fiat currencies, like the US dollar, and central banks.
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.
Who Nakamoto really is; whether he’s even is a he, or is one person, a group or a company, are contentious topics to say the least.
Yet most will agree that Bitcoin has already had — and will continue to have — a profound impact on our global economy.
Twelve years before Bitcoin began dominating the daily news cycle, the cryptocurrency was first quietly revealed on a little-read cryptography mailing list.
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.
Join us in showcasing the cryptocurrency revolution, one newsletter at a time. Subscribe now to get daily news and market updates right to your inbox, along with our millions of other subscribers (that’s right, millions love us!) — what are you waiting for?
August 22, 2008, BTC Price: $0
– Satoshi Nakamoto begins an email exchange
with Wei Dai, the creator of b-money
, pictured below.
October 31, 2008, BTC Price: $0 – Satoshi posts a message titled “Bitcoin P2P e-cash paper” on a cryptography mailing. The email describes an “electronic cash system that’s fully peer-to-peer, with no trusted third party.”
You can find the full message here
, and an excerpt is pictured below.
The email linked to a whitepaper
called “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System."
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.
Bitcoin’s PoW was inspired by the Hashcash system designed by Adam Back in 1997, which Back designed as denial of service counter measure.
December 12, 2008, BTC Price: $0
– Bitcoin is added to open-source community resource Sourceforge
. There are a number of interesting exchanges about how Bitcoin could one day be used between the earliest developers and contributors.
There are several messages from Hal Finney, a fellow software developer, alerting Satoshi to some bugs in Bitcoin’s initial code.
You can find a now infamous post by Finney discussing Bitcoin’s value potential should it become the dominant payment system worldwide, pictured below.
January 3, 2009, BTC Price: $0
– The Bitcoin blockchain launches, and the genesis block
is mined. The block famously included the title of a Times article
title “Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks,” pictured below.
This note from Satoshi gave rise to the popular theory today — namely, that Bitcoin was created as a direct response to the unethical and irresponsible behavior of the traditional banking sector in the run up to the 2008 crash. The total supply of Bitcoin is fixed, with the number of Bitcoins capped at 21 million. Fractions of Bitcoin are called "Satoshis
" aptly named after the founder and representing 0.00000001 BTC.
January 8, 2009, BTC Price: $0
- Bitcoin v0.1 released
. Satoshi describes Bitcoin as “a new electronic cash system that uses a peer-to-peer network to prevent double-spending. It's completely decentralized with no server or central authority.”
January 12, 2009, BTC Price: $0 – The first Bitcoin transaction for 10 BTC takes place between Satoshi and Hal Finney.
By this point, Finney was extremely active in the early Bitcoin space. The computer scientist is credited with creating the first ever reusable PoW system
, and was one of the earliest responders to Satoshi’s initial posts, helping fix some early bugs.
Finney, pictured below, is believed to be the second person to run the Bitcoin network after Satoshi.
Sadly, Finney was diagnosed with ALS in 2009, which led to him spending his final years confined to a wheelchair. Finney shared the news of his diagnosis in a blog post
Despite his diagnosis and resulting paralysis, Finney remained upbeat
. In a 2013 blog post, he writes “It has been an adjustment, but my life is not too bad” and “I’m pretty lucky overall. Even with the ALS, my life is very satisfying.”
During his final years, Finney continued writing code using an eye-tracker system
February 11, 2009, BTC Price: $0
- Satoshi Nakamoto posts
some information about Bitcoin on the P2P Foundation forum.
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.
April 12, 2009, BTC Price: $0
– Satoshi begins emailing
back and forth with Mike Hearn, a developer at Google who later worked full time on Bitcoin’s development. They discussed mining, transaction speed and size, security and more.
October 12, 2009, BTC Price: $0
–A Finnish developer called Martti Malmi
, also known as Sirius, sells 5,050
Bitcoin for $5.02, giving Bitcoin its first price in USD of $0.0009.
January 24, 2010, BTC Price: $0
– A user by the name of Sabunir posts
on the Bitcointalk Forum trying to sell a picture for 500 Bitcoin.
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.
February 15, 2010, BTC Price: $0 – In a response to some negative feedback on his post on the P2P Foundation site, Satoshi explains why previous attempts at creating a peer-to-peer digital currency failed:
“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.”
February 26, 2010, BTC Price: $0 – Satoshi asks for feedback on a Bitcoin logo which includes the now iconic “two lines through the outside.”
May 22, 2010, BTC Price: $0
- A man called Laszlo negotiated
with another early Bitcoin enthusiast to have two Papa John’s pizzas
, pictured below, delivered to his home in exchange for 10,000 Bitcoins.
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.
The 10,000 Bitcoins Lazlo paid for the two pizzas currently have a value of more than $600 million — today, that could buy you 10,000
metric tons of real gold.
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.
June 11, 2010, BTC Price: $0
– Software developer Gavin Andresen
launches a now legendary project on Bitcointalk called The Bitcoin Faucet. The Bitcoin faucet gave away free Bitcoins to help the network get off the ground.
Andresen received significant praise for his project, including from Satoshi
himself, whose reply is pictured below.
From 2010 onwards, Andresen was Bitcoin’s chief developer. MIT Technology review
even described Andresen as “The Man Who Really Built Bitcoin.”
July, 2010, BTC First Price: $0.08 – Bitcoin starts trading at an estimated price of $0.0008 to $0.08 per coin.
August 6, 2010, BTC Price: $0.08
– A Bitcointalk member by the name of “gridecon” shares
some concerns about Bitcoin’s energy usage in a post titled “Bitcoin minting is thermodynamically perverse.”
An excerpt from the post is pictured below.
to the post, Satoshi compares mining Bitcoin to mining gold, “the marginal cost of gold mining tends to stay near the price of gold. Gold mining is a waste, but that waste is far less than the utility of having gold available as a medium of exchange.”
He continues, “the utility of the exchanges made possible by Bitcoin will far exceed the cost of electricity used. Therefore, not having Bitcoin would be the net waste.”
In a post
on August 9, Satoshi added “Bitcoin generation should end up where it's cheapest. Maybe that will be in cold climates where there's electric heat, where it would be essentially free.”
This prediction did come true. Some estimates suggest 75%
of the energy currently used for Bitcoin mining comes from renewable sources.
However, this number will likely drop quite soon due to China’s recent regulatory crackdown
on Bitcoin, so many miners (the majority of which were based in China) will have to relocate to countries with less access to renewable power.
July 31, 2010, BTC Price: $0.08
– Bitcoin’s Wikipedia page was deleted
. This might have caused dismay, but Bitcoin’s early fans maintained a sense of humor. A user going by the name “fresno” responded
“Wiki-who? Never heard of it! Is it some sort of Ukulele band?”
Another user added, “the admin who deleted the article is an expert on glaciers. Does this make him an ice-hole?”
is pictured below.
August 15, 2010, BTC Price: $0.08 – 184 billion Bitcoins were created in a fraudulent transaction by exploiting a vulnerability in the Bitcoin protocol. The transaction was quickly seen and removed from the blockchain. The network then forked to an updated version without the fraudulent transaction.
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.
December 10, 2010, BTC Price: $0.50
– PC World shares an article
describing Bitcoin as “a decentralized virtual currency that could either be the best idea since they figured out how to slice bread, or just another hacker’s daydream.”
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.
December 12, 2010, BTC Price: $0.50
– Satoshi posts
his final message on the Bitcointalk.org forum, pictured below.
April 26, 2011, BTC Price: $1.00
– Satoshi’s final confirmed correspondence, which was an email
to Gavin Andresen, pictured below.
June 2011, BTC Price: $31 – BTC’s price surges to $31 before crashing back down to below $10, marking the first Bitcoin bubble.
In July, the NYT
reports that Bitcoin’s price crash was caused by a number of hacking incidents on the earliest Bitcoin exchanges.
October 2011, BTC Price: $3.27
– Often described as "Bitcoin Lite," Litecoin (LTC
) was designed to enable instant, peer-to-peer exchange at affordable rates. Litecoin is one of the first few crypto projects and was created by Charlie Lee, a Google employee and director of engineering at Coinbase later on. Litecoin can be considered altcoins — cryptocurrencies created after Bitcoin.
March 2012, BTC Price: $4.89 – A cloud computing and website hosting platform called Linode is hacked.
According to theregister.com
, 43,554 BTC were stolen, many of which belonged to Gavin Andresen. At the time, Andresen was Bitcoin’s lead developer, so this breach was a particularly embarrassing setback for the Bitcoin dev team.
May 12, 2012, BTC Price: $4.95 – Bitcoinica, an early Bitcoin exchange, gained widespread media attention due to a recent security breach in which more than 18,000 Bitcoins were stolen.
The exchange, facing numerous million dollars in lawsuits, decided to shut down
August 17, 2012, BTC Price: $12.51
– The WSJ
reports than Trendon Shavers had been arrested for running a Bitcoin Ponzi scheme that at one point accounted for 7% of the total Bitcoin supply.
Shavers was eventually sentenced to 18 months in prison and faced heavy fines as well as a $40 million civil action.
September 22, 2012, BTC Price: $12.26
– Gavin Andresen launches the Bitcoin Foundation
— a non-profit aiming to accelerate Bitcoin’s growth. The launch received quite a bit of mainstream media attention, including from Forbes.
November 15, 2012, BTC Price: $11.09
- WordPress announces
it has partnered with BitPay
to allow its customers to pay for upgrades with Bitcoin.
This was the first time a recognized, global company had agreed to accept Bitcoin as payment for its services.
November 28, 2012, BTC Price: $12.27
– The first subsidy halving occurs. From block 210,000 onward, the mining reward is halved
from 50 BTC to 25 BTC.
February 25, 2013, BTC Price: $30.14
– Mike Hearn, one of Bitcoin’s early developers, reveals
on a Bitcointalk forum post that Satoshi informed him and a few other developers, including Gavin Andresen, of his plan to leave the Bitcoin project to focus on “other things.”
Hearn’s message on Bitcointalk.org is pictured below.
March 11, 2013, BTC Price: $47.20
– The Bitcoin network suffers a terrifying setback
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.
Two days later, Vitalik Buterin released an article
on Bitcoinmagazine.com describing what had happened.
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.
April 1, 2013, BTC Price: $98.63
– Bitcoin crosses the $100 barrier
for the first time, but panic selling leads to the price rapidly dropping to $68, then rising back to $228 in the second week of April.
April 11, 2013, BTC Price: $127.17
– The Winklevoss twins, also known as Winklevii, arrive
on the crypto scene.
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.”
May 1, 2013, BTC Price: $127.74
– Celebrated actor Ashton Kutcher
tells a crowd at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference that “bitcoins are obviously becoming more and more relevant,”and “the same infrastructure that built out bitcoin could be used in the security industry for mass good.”
May 6, 2013, BTC Price: $114.13
– Bill Gates calls Bitcoin a “techno tour de force” during an interview with Fox business. However, Gates later expressed
some reservations about crypto’s anonymity.
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.”
October 13, 2013, BTC Price: $130.20
– An ATM
capable of converting Canadian dollars to Bitcoin opens in a coffee shop in Vancouver, Canada. The ATM required customers to have their palms scanned before they could exchange any Bitcoin.
November 18,19, 2013, BTC Price: $578.41 – The US Senate Banking Committee holds hearings to discuss the benefits and potential risks of digital assets like Bitcoin. These hearings were among the first to be held by the U.S. government in which Bitcoin has some positive light shone on it.
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.
Jennifer Shasky Calvery
(pictured below) from the Treasury Department, stated that “with regard to Bitcoin…it seems that there’s a lot of legitimate users out there and like any type of payment system it can be exploited by illicit actors.”
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.”
November 20, 2013, BTC Price: $567.35
– A representative of the Chinese government by the name of Wang Yi announces
that Chinese citizens can trade Bitcoin.
The Financial Times
reported that while Beijing hadn’t officially given Bitcoin its blessing, the statement from Yi meant the Chinese government was “content to let the market develop.”
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.
December 18, 2013, BTC Price: $597.50
– On the Bitcointalk forum, the infamous HODLING post
is shared with the world.
January 23, 2014, BTC Price: $815.30 – Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase & CO, describes Bitcoin as a “terrible store of value.”
For the six years following this statement, Dimon has maintained this position. As recently as October 11,
2021, Dimon said, “I personally think that Bitcoin is worthless."
February 2014, BTC Price: $808.21
– One of the largest Bitcoin exchanges, Mt. Gox, collapses
. The exchange lost half a billion dollars of customer money. Predictably, many lawsuits were filed, and the price of Bitcoin crashed.
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.
March 6, 2014, BTC Price: $669.09
– Newsweek posts an article
claiming to have discovered the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto. And so begins the wild, unpredictable, and unfinished manhunt to find the real Satoshi.
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.
However, the shared surname likely doesn’t mean much. There are an estimated
50,889 people living in Japan with the surname Nakamoto, and a further 2,881 living in the United States.
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.
A campaign on Reddit
later raised 100 Bitcoin for Dorian Nakamoto as a way of apologizing for the stressful ordeal he had been put through.
March 25, 2014, BTC Price: $584.84
– The U.S. Inland Revenue Service (IRS) declares
it will “treat bitcoins, and similar virtual currencies as property, not currency for U.S. federal tax purposes.”
October 2, 2014, BTC Price: $378.42
– During an interview with Bloomberg, Bill Gates
stays positive on Bitcoin, saying that “Bitcoin is better than currency in that you don’t have to be physically in the same place and, of course, for large transactions, currency can get pretty inconvenient.”
December 11, 2014, BTC Price: $346.90
announces that it will soon begin accepting Bitcoin for Windows operating system keys and hardware products including phones and Xbox consoles.
October 22, 2015, BTC Price: $271.82
– The EU declares
Bitcoin is to be treated as a currency in Europe, meaning European citizens can trade Bitcoin without paying any taxes.
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.”
December 8, 2015, BTC Price: $407.74
– Wired publishes
a story suggesting an Australian computer scientist called Craig Wright might be Satoshi Nakamoto.
December 9, 2015, BTC Price: $418.88 – Craig Wright’s claims to be the real Satoshi begin unravelling faster than they first appeared.
reports that the PGP keys used to “prove” Wright was Satoshi were generated after
2009. This suggests that Wright’s claims were deliberately deceptive and therefore his claims to be Satoshi were a hoax.
December 10, 2015, BTC Price: $417.02 – An email address previously used by Satoshi sends a message to the Bitcoin developers mailing list saying, “Not this again.” The message is pictured below.
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.
December 11, 2015, BTC Price: $435.51
reveals that Craig Wright had lied about many of his academic and professional credentials, including:
- 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.
January 20, 2016, BTC Price: $398.68
– More bad news for Craig Wright, as reports
emerge that the Australian computer scientist is being investigated for wrongfully claiming tax credits, and that his home was raided
by police in December 2015.
May 20, 2017, BTC Price: $2,000
– Bitcoin crosses $2,000
for the first time.
August, 2017, BTC Price: $2,797
– Bitcoin Cash (BCH
) was created as a hard fork from Bitcoin's blockchain, due to community members disagreement over how to increase block size.
November 29, 2017, BTC Price: $9,849
– John McAfee Tweets
a prediction that Bitcoin will reach $1 million by 2020, and that he would “eat his own d***” were he mistaken.
December 18, 2017, BTC Price: $19,050
– Bitcoin crosses $19,000 to reach a new all-time high of $19,834
January 23, 2018, BTC Price: $10,823
- UBS Chairman Axel Weber, pictured below, warns
that cryptocurrencies are “not an investment we would advise” while speaking at the Davos world economic forum.
February 5, 2018, BTC Price: $7,527
– The Chinese government states
its intent to ban foreign cryptocurrency exchange platforms in addition to domestic exchanges.
On the same day, Virgin Money announces
it will not allow its customers to buy Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency using its credit cards.
May 5, 2018, BTC Price: $9,752
– Warren Buffet, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and the world’s most successful investor, warns investors to steer clear of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general, calling them “probably rat poison squared
December 7, 2018, BTC Price: $3,429
– Bitcoin’s price crashes all the way down to $3,300
April 16, 2019, BTC Price: $5,117
– Craig Wright begins suing
members of the Bitcoin community who claim he is not Satoshi Nakamoto, including Ethereum (ETH) founder Vitalik Buterin.
Buterin responded during a podcast
with Lex Fridman saying, “hey, Craig Wright’s legal team, do you hear me? Yes, I still think your client is a scammer, so sue me.”
May 23, 2019, BTC Price: $7,754
– Financial Times
reports that the U.S. Copyright Office had granted Craig Wright’s application for a copyright registration of the Bitcoin whitepaper and source code. Wright claimed this as proof that he must be Satoshi Nakamoto.
However, the Copyright Office released a statement
, pictured below.
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.
Wright has since posted an altered version of the Bitcoin whitepaper on his website
which includes his own name, pictured below.
October 24, 2019, BTC Price: $7,453
– In a surprising U-turn, Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, publicly states
his support for blockchain technology.
At the time, some media outlets suggested the change of heart was due to President Trump’s recent tweets criticizing cryptocurrencies.
September 8, 2020, BTC Price: $10,251
reports that increasing numbers of Nigerian citizens have been using Bitcoin to hedge against the Naira’s inflation, which has varied between 8.5-16.6% in the past decade.
reported earlier in the 2020 that $65m in Bitcoin was traded every month in Nigeria. Long-time Bitcoin proponents argue this is exactly what Bitcoin was built for.
September 29, 2020, BTC Price: $10,767
– Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey publicly
supports Bitcoin at the Oslo Freedom Forum: “Blockchain and Bitcoin point to a future, and point to a world, where content exists forever, where it's permanent, where it doesn't go away, where it exists forever on every single node that's connected to it.”
October 21, 2020, BTC Price: $12,362
– PayPal wades into crypto, launching
a new crypto exchange service allowing its users to access crypto on its platform.
In a statement
explaining the move, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman said, “the shift to digital forms of currencies is inevitable, bringing with it clear advantages in terms of financial inclusion and access; efficiency, speed and resilience of the payments system; and the ability for governments to disburse funds to citizens quickly.”
October 27, 2020, BTC Price: $13,355 – Kanye West crashes on to the Bitcoin scene.
During an appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast
, West states that “a lot of the tech guys, but specifically [Bitcoin] guys were able to use the new highways, the new information highways, and create the next frontier of our existence while the powers of our political system are still anchoring on the electoral college, which was based around slavery.”
November 6, 2020, BTC Price: $15,601
– The Guardian
reports that the U.S. government had seized Bitcoin worth more than $1 billion from the former administrators of Silk Road, the notorious online black market.
The IRS had partnered with Chainalysis
, a company specializing in the criminal
use of Bitcoin, to track down the individual with control of the Silk Road’s Bitcoin wallet.
November 12, 2020, BTC Price: $16,009
– Stanley Druckenmiller, a hedge fund billionaire, reveals
he has “warmed up to” Bitcoin, and that he owns some.
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.”
November 17, 2020, BTC Price: $17,197
– Ray Dalio, billionaire founder of Bridgewater Associates, says Bitcoin will soon be “outlawed
”. But in December, he changed his tune
, describing Bitcoin as a “gold-like asset alternative.”
January 8, 2021, BTC Price: $40,040
soars past $40,000 for the first time to reach a new all-time high.
January 20, 2021, BTC Price: $35,745
– Craig Wright launches
a formal copyright suit to wrest control of the original Bitcoin whitepaper from Bitcoin.org.
January 25, 2021, BTC Price: $32,276
– Governor of the Bank of England Andrew Bailey warns
that Bitcoin probably won’t last. He later added, “If I were a regulator, I would be hyperventilating over bitcoin.”
January 28, 2021, BTC Price: $31,928 –Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, adds #bitcoin to his Twitter profile, prompting cheers from across the crypto space. Bitcoin’s price immediately gains 10%. Tesla also confirms that it would soon begin accepting Bitcoin as payment for its electric vehicles.
February 8, 2021, BTC Price: $42,653 – In an SEC filing, Tesla reveals it has bought $1.5 billion of Bitcoin.
February 19, 2021, BTC Price: $53,782 – Bitcoin's market cap hits US$ 1 trillion for the first time amid a spectacular broad crypto market rally.
March 17, 2021
– Morgan Stanley
becomes the first large Investment bank to offer its clients exposure to Bitcoin. While this development marked a move in the right direction for Bitcoin, Morgan Stanley’s clients were limited to investing just 2.5% of their total portfolio into Bitcoin.
April 20, 2021, BTC Price: $56,150
– Bill Miller, a revered Wall Street investor, says on CNBC
that “[Bitcoin’s] supply is growing 2% a year, and demand is growing faster. That’s all you need to know.” He later added “I don’t think this is a bubble at all… this is the beginning of the mainstreaming of it.”
May 12, 2021, BTC Price: $53,130 – Tesla U-turns on its decision to accept Bitcoin as payment for its electric vehicles, citing environmental concerns. Elon Musk’s statement, released on Twitter, is pictured below.
July 29, 2021, BTC Price: $40,016
– Germany permits
financial institutions to hold up to 20% of their assets in crypto.
September 7, 2021, BTC Price: $49,776
– El Salvador
becomes the first country to use Bitcoin as legal tender.
Many media outlets argued that Nayib Bukele, the country’s president, was taking far too great a risk with El Salvador’s economy.
In stark contrast, the Bitcoin community considered this moment to be one of the most important in Bitcoin’s history. The Independent
reports that El Salvador has been able to build 20 schools using the profits from its Bitcoin investment.
September 24, 2021, BTC Price: $43,868
– China cracks down
further on Bitcoin by banning mining. It is currently unclear where the majority of Bitcoin mining will end up taking place.
October 15, 2021, BTC Price: $59,499 - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approves Bitcoin futures ETFs for the first time in history, opening up the cryptocurrency to the masses and allowing investors exposure to Bitcoin in an alternative, more regulated form.
October 20, 2021, BTC Price: $65,156
– Bitcoin reaches a new all-time high of $66,974
November 1, 2021, BTC Price: $61,155
– The New York Times
reports that although big banks like JP Morgan initially tried to kill crypto, they are now embracing it.
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.
Bitcoin implements an important upgrade called Taproot
, which batches multiple signatures and transactions together to speed up transactions. It also scrambles single and multi-sig transactions together, which complicates efforts to identify who is transacting on the network. Overall, this upgrade significantly streamlines Bitcoin’s transaction processing times and costs.
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.
The United States Department of Justice announces it has seized $3.6 billion
in stolen Bitcoin from the 2016 Bitfinex hack. At the time, the value lost from the hack was estimated at $4.5 billion. US authorities arrested and charged two individuals
with conspiracy to launder stolen cryptocurrency. The pair face up to twenty years behind bars if found guilty. The whole saga will be available on Netflix
as a docuseries.
February 9, 2022, BTC Price: $44,338.
The European Securities and Markets Authority releases a report
indicating crypto adoption is steadily growing in Europe. At this point, 6% of Slovakians and 8% of Dutch nationals own crypto.
During the same week, the UK’s financial regulator (FCA) updated its prohibition on marketing and distributing crypto-related products, which are not regulated in the UK, and shared data
about crypto ownership and attitudes within the UK. The data suggests that nearly 70% of British crypto owners believe that the FCA regulates crypto, which is not correct. The FCA only regulates crypto-related advertising, not tradeable cryptocurrencies themselves.
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.
Two days after the invasion, the Ukrainian government called for cryptocurrency donations on Twitter
. More than $50 million is raised
within the first three weeks of conflict, and by the third week of March that figure grows to nearly $100 million
. The funds go to the Ukrainian government and an NGO called Come Back Alive, which also supports the Ukrainian military.
Russia is quickly barred from SWIFT, which stops its banks interacting with the global financial system. Questions then arise about whether Russian citizens could use cryptocurrency to circumvent sanctions. In an effort to prevent this, EU and US leadership asked crypto exchanges to freeze any accounts known to belong to Russians. The exchanges, for the most part, refuse. They release statements
explaining that unilaterally banning all Russian users would “fly in the face of the reason why crypto exists.”
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.
President Biden signs an executive order
titled “Ensuring Responsible Development of Digital Assets.” The order broadly lays out a road map for the US government’s plans for using and regulating cryptocurrencies.
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.”
A series of reports from US Government agencies on the creation and use of central bank digital currencies
(CBDCs) are also requested, as well as reports from the Treasury about policy recommendations related to crypto. As part of the reports, the US government will consult with the numerous financial regulators on how best to protect consumers from crypto-related risks.
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.
Following the executive order, Bitcoin surged 9%
as crypto execs reacted favourably to the bill
April 27, 2022, BTC Price: $39,241.
Lawmakers from the Central African Republic
(CAR) voted unanimously to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender, making it the second country to do so, after El Salvador
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.
On the morning of May 7, a LUNA whale swaps $85 million UST for USDC, which leads many people to speculate that UST might slip from its $1 peg, which would spell disaster for the Terra network. On May 9, this fear became a reality as UST unpegs
, dropping from $1 to $0.35.
Luna, Terra’s companion token once worth $120, falls by 96% within twenty-four hours, including a 32% drop in just one hour. It is now worth fractions of a penny. The Terra blockchain halted
, meanwhile crypto investors scramble to cut their losses: DeFi DApps witnessed $28 billion wiped from their protocols within just a few weeks.
Bitcoin’s price dropped from $35,501 to $28,900 during the peak fallout.
The Terra network’s implosion caused an earthquake in crypto that saw the global crypto market cap
more than halve from $1.8 trillion in early May to $822 billion by the middle of June. A venture fund called Hashed reportedly lost $3.5 billion from Terra’s collapse, although the damage wasn’t limited to just one firm. Several crypto platforms and venture capital firms would later become collateral casualties, most notably Celsius and 3AC.
June 12, 2022, BTC Price: $26,762.
The Celsius network announces
it has frozen customer withdrawals, swaps and transfers in response to “extreme market conditions” following Terra’s collapse. Rumours then spread that the firm has secretly slipped into insolvency and is trying to make off with its customers’ cash.
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.
Two weeks after the announcement, in early July, Celsius laid off one in five
of its employees and hired a team of restructuring experts
, causing the rumour mill to spin even faster.
After two more weeks of speculation, Celsius’ users’ worst fears are finally realised: Celsius officially files for bankruptcy
. The firm’s filings attempted to explain why it froze customer funds: “Without a pause, the acceleration of withdrawals would have allowed certain customers – those who were first to act – to be paid in full while leaving others behind to wait for Celsius to harvest value from illiquid or longer-term asset deployment activities before they receive a recovery.”
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.
A court filing in the days that followed revealed a $1.3 billion hole in Celsius’ balance sheet
, and that its users were owed at least $4.7 billion. The firm blames its extraordinary liquidity shortage on a domino effect starting from Terra’s collapse during early May.
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.
A few days after Zhu’s Tweet, the WSJ reports that 3AC might not be able to repay its $665 million loan from Voyager Digital, a firm which subsequently files for bankruptcy
as a direct result of this unpaid loan. Zhu promptly removes all references to crypto from his Twitter bio, other than Bitcoin, and deletes his Instagram account.
It later emerges
that when 3AC was facing dozens of margin calls, Zhu, Davies and their staff were desperately betting their clients’ money in a vain attempt to claw back the cash they had secretly lost.
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.
3AC’s once bustling Singapore offices are visited by court-appointed liquidators in mid-July, who find them empty and abandoned
, with nothing but old mail left behind. US liquidators spoke with 3AC’s creditors, including Genesis Trading, Deribit, BitMEX, BlockFi, Celsius, Voyager Digital and Blockchain.com, all of which are owed large sums by 3AC.
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.
While Bitcoin sank to its lowest price in eighteen months, the UK’s financial regulator (FCA) reports
that 78% of British adults had heard of crypto, and that 4.4% owned at least one cryptocurrency, up from 3.9% the previous year. The FCA also reveals the average Brit holds $361 in crypto, up from $310 the year before.
July 20, 2022, Bitcoin Price: $24,169.
A spokesperson from Tesla reveals that the firm has sold 75% of its Bitcoin holdings
for roughly $900 million. The electric car manufacturer states that “Bitcoin impairment” had negatively affected its quarterly earnings, hence the sale. This decision obviously did not bode well for Bitcoin maxis
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.
This article contains links to third-party websites or other content for information purposes only (“Third-Party Sites”). The Third-Party Sites are not under the control of CoinMarketCap, and CoinMarketCap is not responsible for the content of any Third-Party Site, including without limitation any link contained in a Third-Party Site, or any changes or updates to a Third-Party Site. CoinMarketCap is providing these links to you only as a convenience, and the inclusion of any link does not imply endorsement, approval or recommendation by CoinMarketCap of the site or any association with its operators.
This article is intended to be used and must be used for informational purposes only. It is important to do your own research and analysis before making any material decisions related to any of the products or services described. This article is not intended as, and shall not be construed as, financial advice.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author’s [company’s] own and do not necessarily reflect those of CoinMarketCap.