Bitcoin has been revolutionary in the world of fiat money, attracting a wealth of people who prefer its peer to peer nature over relying on a financial institution or bank to organise their transactions. This, of course, has the benefit of no transaction fees making it cheaper to send money to anyone all over the world.
The currency itself was two years in its creation and was thought to be the notion of Satoshi Nakamoto, an assumed alias of a man – or men – who resided in Japan (also probably untrue). Nakamoto filed a white paper in 2008 detailing plans for the currency, and in 2009 it first came into public use. This is following a patent application made in 2008 by Charles Bry, Neal Kin and Vladimir Oksman for an encryption patent. Many assumed that these men were, in fact, Nakamoto. All three denied this.
In 2010 the currency was then advertised on the news website Slashdot, which increased its popularity ten-fold. Those using the currency had an exchange rate or around 1.309 Bitcoins to a US dollar when it was first introduced, but a bubble in the currency value was just around the corner, with one Bitcoin costing $31 in 2011. Slashdot users were not concerned with the value of the Bitcoin, though. The website focuses on social news stories for those who are interested in building software and tech devices. Members of Slashdot were no doubt more inspired by Bitcoin’s open source mining and mobile friendly transactions.
Another group of people also took an interest in the currency thanks to its ability to send anonymous transactions – criminals. Amongst the dark web, Silk Road crops up, which was a Bitcoin only marketplace described as the eBay for drugs. It linked some of the biggest dealers worldwide with their customers in a secretive way. You can send Bitcoins to each other without ever having to disclose even your email address.
The currency continued to rise in success, with one Bitcoin costing around $893 dollars (about £723) today. There are now over 16 million Bitcoins in circulation online, and major retailers like Microsoft allow site patrons to pay for their goods with Bitcoin. Many online casinos also now accept Bitcoin too. The number of Bitcoins available is said to be capped at 25 million, so once these have all been circulated it is thought that the value of the existing Bitcoins will increase, leading investors to take a chance on the crypto-currency. However, the future of Bitcoins as a currency is looking less certain, with Bitcoin wallet sites (places you can store your Bitcoin) saying they are no longer interested in being Bitcoin wallets. This is a crucial moment in time for the currency and only time will tell if it will succeed in its goal to become a mainstream currency, or if it will remain on the sidelines looking on.