Bitcoin (BTC) was invented in 2009 and is the first implementation of a cryptocurrency. What is so special about Bitcoin? Well for starters, Bitcoin is decentralized and digital. It is distributed with the use of a decentralized ledger system known as a blockchain. People tend to think of Bitcoin as Digital Gold, but it can also be scary. It is volatile and exists outside the norm. That being said, the digital currency has been gaining more widespread acceptance over the years and has opened the door for more and more cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin is a great store of value and an important investment. Here are 15 fascinating facts about Bitcoin – the king of cryptocurrencies.
Facts about Bitcoin:
- The supply of bitcoin Is limited to just 21 million. The primary ways to obtain bitcoin is through purchasing via an exchange, receiving them via a transaction or gift, or mining new ones. Mining bitcoin is the process of adding transaction records to Bitcoin’s public ledger of past transactions called the Blockchain. When Bitcoin was founded, the creator of the cryptocurrency only made 21 million bitcoins. Once miners have unlocked this amount of bitcoins, the supply will be exhausted.
- The founder of Bitcoin is a person (or entity) called Satoshi Nakamoto and no one knows who that is. It is not clear whether Nakamoto is a person or a group of people. It is believed that Satoshi Nakamoto holds one million bitcoins. The satoshi is also a references to the smallest unit of the bitcoin cryptocurrency called a ‘Satoshi byte’ or ‘Sats’. Each bitcoin is equal to 100 million Satoshis.
- You can trade bitcoins on Paypal. In October of 2020, Paypal announced it would begin supporting cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. PayPal also plans to extend support to Venmo and international markets in early 2021.
- In 2013 The U.S. government seized approximately 173,991 bitcoins from an online black market. Silk Road was an online black market used for hosting money laundering activities and illegal drug transactions using Bitcoin. It was created and operated by amateur programmer Ross Ulbricht in 2011 who used the online pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts”. Ulbricht was convicted of seven charges related to Silk Road and was sentenced to life in prison. While the government sold the bitcoins in a series of auctions in 2014 and 2015, Ulbricht has challenged the legality of the forfeiture. The saga continued because when the Feds seized Ulbricht’s laptop, they found keys to unlock only a fraction of the bitcoins. Seven years later, the DOJ filed a civil forfeiture of 69,370 bitcoins (worth over $1 Billion) from an unnamed person who court documents refer to only as Individual X.
- The first bitcoin purchase was for pizza. The first person to use bitcoin in a commercial transaction was a developer named Laszlo Hanyecz. On May 22, 2010, when bitcoin was a little over a year old, Hanyecz bought two pizzas for 10,000 BTC, worth tens of millions by today’s standards. May 22nd is now known as “Bitcoin Pizza Day” in the crypto community.
- The Winklevoss twins believe a single bitcoin will be worth half a million dollars (at least). Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who most people know from their lengthy legal dispute with Mark Zuckerberg, are also Bitcoin billionaires. In August of 2020, they made the argument in a lengthy blog post that Bitcoin could eventually sky rocket to $500,000 or more. Later in 2020, a senior analyst at Citibank argued that Bitcoin could pass $300,000 by December 2021.
- A man named James Howells threw away a hard drive containing 7,500 bitcoins, now worth millions of dollars. The hard drive apparently resides somewhere under mountains of trash in a landfill site near his home in Newport, Wales.
- Bitcoin mining consumes about as much energy as a mid-size country. The global power consumption for the machines that run bitcoin’s software accounts for roughly 0.25 percent of the world’s entire electricity consumption. For reference, that is slightly higher than the energy consumption of Switzerland.
- A major U.S. company has invested $425 million into Bitcoin. MicroStrategy Inc, which provides business intelligence and cloud-based services, became the first public company to invest the bulk of its treasury in Bitcoin. Between August and September of 2020, the company purchased $425 million of the cryptocurrency as a hedge against inflation.
- Bitcoin has been banned in several countries. While many countries have no specific legislation relative to the status of bitcoin as a currency, it is down right illegal in other countries. Due to its decentralized nature or links to activities like money laundering or because it might seem to be a threat to current monetary systems, countries like Qatar, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Bolivia and others have banned the cryptocurrency altogether.
- Roughly 10% of Bitcoin’s supply has been untouched for over a decade. 1.8 million Bitcoin has been locked in dormant Bitcoin addresses. Its cumulative value amounts to over $23 billion at the time of this writing.
- In 2020, scammers received 400 payments in bitcoin by hacking the accounts of Elon Musk, Barack Obama, Kanye West and others. The scam involved posting tweets from the accounts of high profile figures saying that they would double any bitcoin payments sent to the same bitcoin wallet. Reportedly 130 high-profile Twitter accounts were compromised by the hackers made up of three people two of whom where people in the teens.
- Nearly 80,000 BTC have been locked in a crypto wallet that no one has dared touch for almost 10 years. These bitcoins are the result of the infamous Mt. Gox hack which occurred in 2011. Mt. Gox was a Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange and at the time was responsible for more than 70% of bitcoin transactions at its peak. The sixth richest bitcoin wallet is likely impossible to access without avoiding detection.
- You can purchase Bitcoin through an ATM. Worldwide there are over 10,000 ATM machines that let users invest in bitcoin. Bitcoin ATM (abbreviated as BATM) work a little differently than traditional ATMs. They connect the user directly to a Bitcoin exchange and allow users to buy and sell Bitcoin using cash or a credit card.
- The last Bitcoin is predicted to be mined by approximately the year 2140. The number of bitcoins entering circulation via mining (known as block rewards) drops by half roughly every four years. These events are known as halving. When bitcoin first launched, the reward was 50 bitcoin and then halved to 25 bitcoin in 2012. In 2016, it halved again to 12.5 bitcoin. The most recent Bitcoin halving took place on May 11, 2020, with the next halving likely to occur in 2024. You don’t have to be a miner to earn Bitcoin however. You can sign up for a rewards program like this one and earn coins when you shop.
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