It's bitcoin's birthday, and we're looking back at some of its biggest moments, from the Genesis Block to global adoption.
It’s bitcoin's birthday! 🎂
Today marks 15 years since Satoshi Nakamoto mined the first Bitcoin block in 2009, changing money, and the world, forever.
To say that Bitcoin has come a long way since 2009 is an understatement. Over the past 15 years, bitcoin soared in price, seen surging global adoptions, and new use cases.
Today, we’ll explore some of bitcoin's biggest milestones as it embarks on another year in 2024 – that could promise to be its biggest one yet.
Genesis Block (2009)
Bitcoin's journey began on January 3, 2009, when Satoshi mined the first ever bitcoin block, known as the Genesis Block which marked the birth of bitcoin.
Today, anyone can look at the Genesis Block, as all information on the Blockchain is decentralized and public - that’s the beauty of bitcoin.
The Genesis Block contains the first bitcoin transaction to be validated. For mining the first Block in a transaction that sent bitcoin to a specific address, Satoshi received a 50 BTC reward, worth over $2 million today.
Satoshi mined the Genesis Block just 3 months after publishing the Bitcoin White Paper in an online cryptography forum.
Bitcoin Pizza Day (2010)
On May 22, 2010, a programmer named Laszlo Hanyecz made history by making the first real-world transaction with bitcoin. Laszlo famously purchased two pizzas for 10,000 BTC – worth over $440M today.
Laszlo’s now very costly transaction marked a momentous turning point for bitcoin – established bitcoin as a medium of exchange and demonstrating its real-world utility.
Today, we celebrate May 22nd as Bitcoin Pizza Day.
Bitcoin Halving Events (2012, 2016, 2020)
Every four years, bitcoin experiences a "halving," a pre-programed event where the reward for mining new blocks is cut in half.
These events have taken place in 2012, 2016, and 2020, with the next halving scheduled for 2024. Halvings not only ensure the scarcity of bitcoin in circulation, but also lead to increased public awareness and demand for cryptocurrency.
For that reason, Halvings are typically associated with significant price increases. With the next Halving scheduled for April 2024, get ready to see another historical moment in real time.
Acceptance by Major Retailers (2014)
In 2014, major retailers like Microsoft and Overstock.com began accepting bitcoin as a form of payment. This marked a pivotal step in mainstream adoption of bitcoin, giving users more avenues for using their digital assets in everyday life.
Since then, scores of retailers have started accepting bitcoin as a payment and issuing bitcoin as a reward to their shoppers with Lolli.
Launch of Lightning Network (2018)
The Lightning Network launched in 2018, addressing one of Bitcoin's biggest challenges of scalability. By enabling faster and cheaper transactions through off-chain solutions, people could send and receive bitcoin without racking up network fees.
Since 2018, the Lightning Network has seen various improvements and upgrades that have helped make bitcoin even more scalable for global, everyday use as a currency.
Bitcoin Reaches $20,000 (2020)
In December 2017, bitcoin achieved a historic milestone by breaking through $20,000.
This meteoric rise in value captured global attention and marked a turning point in bitcoin's recognition as a legitimate investment and store of value. The milestone was just the beginning of a bigger bitcoin bull run that would see the leading cryptocurrency soar to over $69,000.
Institutional Adoption (2020-2021)
Over the past couple of years, institutional interest in Bitcoin has soared.
Prominent companies and financial institutions, including Tesla, MicroStrategy, and Square, have added bitcoin to their balance sheets, signaling a growing acceptance of bitcoin as a legitimate store of value.
The trend of institutional bitcoin adoption has only continued to accelerate. As leading financial institutions and companies increasingly understand the benefits and appeal of bitcoin, we’ve seen new products and services that bring bitcoin to wider audiences.
Today, firms like BlackRock, Fidelity, Invesco, and Ark Invest are awaiting approval for Spot Bitcoin ETFs that capitalize on strong demand for bitcoin to provide institutional and retail investors with exposure to bitcoin through mainstream financial vehicles.
El Salvador Adopts Bitcoin as Legal Tender (2021)
In September 2021, El Salvador became the first country in the world to adopt bitcoin as legal tender, marking a significant step toward the global acceptance of cryptocurrencies as a means of conducting everyday transactions.
Spearheaded by President Nayib Bukele, the move aimed to empower the country's citizens by fostering financial inclusion, enabling cross-border transactions, and leveraging the potential of decentralized finance through the integration of bitcoin into El Salvador's official monetary system.
The government's approach has set a precedent for other nations, especially those that rely heavily on the dollar or native currencies that are plagued by inflation, to explore the use of bitcoin in their economies.
The last 15 years have brought tremendous growth and maturity for bitcoin, as millions of people have come to use and embrace the technology.