Bitcoin (BTC) is the iconic cornerstone and golden egg of the cryptocurrency movement. The world’s first blockchain, BTC leads the entire market in terms of market cap and trading volume and inspired thousands of alternative digital assets.
Born from the ashes of the 2008 global financial crisis, Bitcoin challenges our traditional understanding of money and the true ownership of assets.
What is it about Bitcoin that has captivated the imagination of millions of users all over the world, from Wall St and Silicon Valley’s institutional elite to individuals from all walks of life?
Often dubbed ‘Digital Gold’, Bitcoin is considered by crypto enthusiasts to be the currency of a new era of financial independence and inclusion. The world’s largest cryptocurrency was created by anonymous enigma Satoshi Nakamoto and aims to give everyone greater control of their wealth and provide a concrete hedge against inflation.
Where to begin? Bitcoin has has opened the doors of self-custosy and financial inclusion to the world. Here’s what makes Bitcoin so special:
As the world’s first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin revolutionized how we transfer value online. Anyone with an internet connection can access this network, sending value anonymously anywhere in the world using a public, peer-to-peer payments network.
It pioneered a new kind of technology called the blockchain, an open-source, distributed public ledger that automatically records every single transaction.
Once verified, every transaction on the blockchain becomes an immutable part of network history. This means that it cannot be altered or tampered with, giving Bitcoin transactions an unprecedented level of security and trust.
On top of that, the Bitcoin blockchain is completely decentralized. It has no owner or central authority who gets to decide how it is used, ensuring that the network remains immune to political whims, policy changes and personal biases. In every sense, Bitcoin is a digital currency created for the people, by the people.
How does Bitcoin achieve this? If there’s no central authority, who’s responsible for making sure the network keeps running? The answer lies in cryptocurrency mining and the Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism.
Despite what you might think, crypto miners aren’t a bunch of pickaxe-wielding fairytale dwarves who scurry through the tunnels of the internet looking for Bitcoin. A crypto miner is high-powered computational device that is responsible for adding new information to the blockchain.
As a reward for verifying blockchain data and creating new blocks, miners are rewarded with payments of BTC. In simple terms, miners race to solve complex equations, with the winner taking the lion’s share of mining rewards. This is what’s called Proof-of-Work, an algorithmic process for ensuring that all miners agree on the state of the blockchain.
Of course, part of what makes Bitcoin special is the fact that it has a finite supply. There will only ever be 21 million bitcoins, meaning that Bitcoin is inflation resistant and cannot be diluted. This is one of the main reasons that Bitcoin Maxi’s like Michael Saylor’s Microstrategy are so convinced of Bitcoin’s potential.
Back when the decentralized network first launched in 2009, anyone could mine Bitcoin using any laptop. However, these days Bitcoin mining has become so competitive that without a industrial mining operation its almost impossible to mine new BTC.
These Bitcoin mining farms have caused plenty of controversy over the years, due to their gargantuan energy consumption and negative environmental impacts. These concerns have only mounted as the network evolves, with BTC Ordinal NFTs and the Stacks (STX) smart contract layer adding to Bitcoin’s workload.
Bitcoin’s financial odyssey has been nothing short of a rollercoaster, marked by exhilarating highs, heart-stoppings lows and catastrophic volatility throughout it’s lifespan. In fact, news publications around the world have pronounced ‘Bitcoin is Dead’ over four hundred times since the cryptocurrencies inception.
In it’s early days, BTC was nothing more than a whispered rumour amongst niche pockets of the internet that traded hands for pennies. It wasn’t until 2010 when 10,000 BTC was infamously used to buy a pizza that it started catching attention.
In February 2011 BTC price finally broke $1, signalling the beginning of the first-ever Bitcoin bullrun. Early adopters become euphoric as they watched BTC rocket to $8 in May, before catapulting to $20 in June. This marked the market’s blow off top, with Bitcoin crashing down just as quickly as it rose.
Bag holders didn’t have long to wait, with the next Bitcoin surge coming a mere two years later. By April 2013, BTC defied the non-believers and raced to $150, changing the lives of HODLers. This proved to be just the beginning, with BTC exploding to new highs of $1,077 in December 2013.
Bitcoin’s resilience proved as legendary as its volatility. For every euphoric pump, there was a catastrophic crash just around the corner. Following a -80% drawdown from its 2013 highs, Bitcoin shocked the world by surging to over $17,000 in 2017. However, these peaks and troughs were only blips on the radar.
In 2021, Bitcoin again broke new ground. The digital currency pushed through all previous restraints and notched a new all-time high of $68,789, spurred on by the growth of the Lightning Network and El Salvador adopting BTC as legal tender.
This record remains to this day, but the media frenzy that surrounded Bitcoin’s latest run brought cryptocurrency to the forefront of financial markets around the world, with participants from every sector now following crypto’s every move…