Bitcoin hit news headlines this week as the price of one unit of the cryptocurrency passed $11,500 for the first time.
Although it’s often referred to as new, Bitcoin has existed since 2009 and the technology it is built on has roots going back even further. In fact if you had invested just $1,000 in Bitcoin the year it was first publicly available, you would now be richer to the tune of £36.7 million.
Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat its mistakes – so here is a brief history of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency.
1998 – 2009 The pre-Bitcoin years
Although Bitcoin was the first established cryptocurrency, there had been previous attempts at creating online currencies with ledgers secured by encryption. Two examples of these were B-Money and Bit Gold, which were formulated but never fully developed.
2008 – The Mysterious Mr Nakamoto
A paper called Bitcoin – A Peer to Peer Electronic Cash System was posted to a mailing list discussion on cryptography. It was posted by someone calling themselves Satoshi Nakamoto, whose real identity remains a mystery to this day.
2009 – Bitcoin begins
The Bitcoin software is made available to the public for the first time and mining – the process through which new Bitcoins are created and transactions are recorded and verified on the blockchain – begins…