How did Bitcoin first go into circulation?

Jul 10th 2019
New York
So how did Bitcoin go from being worth eight-one hundredths of a penny to over $12,000 per bitcoin? For the first two years, it was basically unknown outside of the developing community of programmers that wanted to see the project succeed. The first ever bitcoin transaction occurred when one Bitcoin user agreed to sell another two Papa John's pizzas in exchange for 10,000 bitcoin. There's a twitter account that tracks the present day price of those pizzas- worth over $120M in today's dollars at the time of this writing.

Bitcoin first came into public awareness with the creation of The Silk Road: a decentralized marketplace that launched in 2011 where any product could be bought or sold (including illegal drugs). Bitcoin was this internet marketplace's currency of choice and the price shot up to around $10 based on demand. When Gawker ran a piece on Bitcoin's role within The Silk Road, the price jumped up to $30.

In 2013, the tiny Mediterranean nation of Cyprus fell into financial crisis and started dipping into their own citizens' bank accounts to bail themselves out. This painted a clear use case for a currency that existed outside the control of governments and the price shot up again to $230. Then the Chinese markets started pouring Chinese Yuan into bitcoin, seeing an opportunity to get their money out of an economy they feared was in danger of collapsing; bitcoin surged to over $1,200.

Then from 2014 to 2015, the music stopped and a series of events brought bitcoin back to earth. China, fearing that Yuan would continue to pour into bitcoin, ruled that it was "not a currency in any true sense of the word" and tightened controls. The FBI arrested the founder of The Silk Road and the most popular exchange for buying bitcoin (Mt. Gox) collapsed due to mismanagement. These 3 events caused panic in the markets and sank bitcoin to a low of $200, but the network rolled on.

In 2016, bitcoin showed its resilience, recovering to just under $1,000 at the end of the year. In 2017, bitcoin went parabolic on global interest, surging to its current high of $12,000. In addition to mainstream global awareness, the price surge is due to more and more people and institutions viewing bitcoin as a legitimate asset rather than a scary magic internet currency. Two of those institutions are The Chicago Mercantile Exchange and The Chicago Board Options Exchange, which will be launching bitcoin futures markets this month - a sign that Wall Street and the mainstream financial world is taking Bitcoin seriously, in a big way.

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