On October 31, bitcoin’s 11th anniversary, the world’s first cryptocurrency reached a major milestone – $1 billion in cumulative transaction fees.
Analytics firm Coin Metrics said its data showed that over 200,000 bitcoin have now been paid in transaction fees since it launched in 2009 – three months after its mysterious creator Satoshi Nakamoto, a pseudonym, published the white paper that unleashed the revolutionary digital asset, The Independent reported.
Nakamoto outlined in his 2008 paper a “new electronic cash system that’s fully peer-to-peer” that eliminated the need for banks and other third parties. He released it – perhaps to highlight its disruptive potential – on Halloween.
The Bitcoin genesis block was later mined by Nakamoto in January 2009 – creating the first 50 Bitcoins and bringing the currency to life, Benzinga reported.
On May 22, 2010, Bitcoin programmer Laszlo Hanyecz paid 10,000 BTC to a fellow bitcoin enthusiast for two pizzas.
The bitcoins paid for those pizzas, which sold for $41 at the time, are now worth more than $91 million.
Over the past 11 years, many prominent people, including investor Warren Buffett, tech tycoon Bill Gates, and JPMorgan Chase chief Jamie Dimon, have predicted Bitcoin’s “impending doom,” calling it a “bubble,” an “exit scam,” or even “rat poison squared,” among other things.
While bitcoin is notorious for its extreme price volatility, its value has risen inexorably, mocking its critics in the traditional finance sector.
After peaking at close to $20,000 in December 2017, bitcoin fell to below $4,000 before finally making a recovery earlier this year.
The paradigm-shifting decentralized currency led to the creation of a new industry whose market capitalization exceeded $600 billion at the end of December 2017, U.Today reported
The popularity of the leading crypto has risen dramatically in recent years but despite the transaction volume increasing considerably, the actual cost of transactions has fallen over the last year. This is due to the implementation of solutions like the Lightning Network, which accelerates and simplifies blockchain transactions.
“Bitcoin users transacted consistently on the network throughout the year, and solutions like the Lightning Network grew in size,” Galen Danziger, co-founder of blockchain accelerator MouseBelt,” told The Independent.
The upstart currency still faces many challenges before it can be considered a legitimate and mainstream form of payment, including regulatory hurdles, price volatility and security issues that make wallets and exchanges vulnerable to hacking.
It is estimated that around $4.2bn worth of cryptocurrency has been stolen by hackers so far this year, exceeding the record total from last year.