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Top 10 Bitcoin Moments You Need to Know

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Throughout the history of the world's first successful cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, there have been particular moments that have reshaped its destiny. A lot has happened since it was first introduced to the world by Satoshi Nakamoto. As such, taking the time to learn about the top 10 Bitcoin moments that changed the market is a smart way to improve your understanding and improve future ROI opportunities.

Whitepaper Release

The top of this list must begin with the release of the Bitcoin whitepaper. In this now-famous document, which is available in 19 languages, Nakamoto describes how Bitcoin could function as an electronic peer-to-peer cash system. The document cited earlier attempts at making digital money and revealed how the introduction of a timestamp eliminated the double-spend issue.

Top 10 Bitcoin Moments

The Bitcoin whitepaper was met with a medium response at first, as the community was tiny. It was these early Bitcoiners that would create a trillion-dollar industry that continues to expand. The Bitcoin whitepaper started a revolution by letting the cat out of the bag in terms of blockchain transparency.

Bitcoin Launch

January 3rd, 2009, marks another major day for Bitcoin. This was the official launch of the network. Until that time, only Nakamoto had operated the system. During this time, Nakamoto mined approximately 1M BTC, which has remained untouched since that day.

Bitcoin's launch wasn't met with a huge celebration as few people understood the magnitude of the creation. However, it's obvious to many that Nakamoto definitely saw the potential to upend the financial district. This belief is evident by the quoting of the Times magazine headline, “Chancellor on the brink of the second bailout for banks,” placed in Bitcoin's Genesis block.

Pizza Day

Pizza Day is a Bitcoin holiday that is still celebrated. It represents the first time BTC was used in a real-world transaction to purchase goods. Until that point, Nakamoto and a few others had only ever sent the digital asset to others in the group. That changed on May 22, 2010.

This was the day that Laszlo Hanyecz, a crypto miner from Florida, posted on the Bitcoin forum that he would pay anyone 10,000 Bitcoin if they would pick up and deliver two large pizzas. It's vital to remember that Bitcoin was only worth a few cents at that time, and the pizzas were around $25. Today, the event serves as a bittersweet reminder of the long journey Bitcoin has experienced.

Silk Road

It was the dark web that first demonstrated the advantages of a peer-to-peer electronic currency. The dark web is a massive list of websites that are not listed on any search engine. Within the dark web are marketplaces, with one of the most famous that is now closed called Silk Road.

The Silk Road was created by Ross Ulbricht to serve as a completely open market. The market accepted Bitcoin due to the belief it was anonymous at the time. Infamously, the Silk Road offered access to everything from fake IDs to drugs and even assassinations. Later, Ulbricht stated that he created the market but didn't monitor or control its contents.

The activity created by the Silk Road market drove BTC value up, with the token hitting the $1M market cap for the first time during this era. People from all over the world learned about Bitcoin for the first time when they interacted with this platform. Interestingly, many of these early adopters became very successful thanks to their many Bitcoin holdings.

Ross-Ulbricht- Top 10 Bitcoin Moments

Silk Road Founder Ross Ulbricht

The Silk Road didn't last very long, and in October 2013, federal agents swooped in and arrested Ulbricht, who was going by the nickname Dread Pirate Roberts, and shut down the Silk Road. The arrest made international headlines and resulted in the US confiscating $183M in crypto and Ulbricht receiving a life sentence.

Mt. Gox Launches

Mt.Gox was the first centralized exchange to hit the market. The effects of this platform were felt immediately as it provided the only way for people to get their hands on Bitcoin without the need to mine or get sent it from others. The Mt.Gox exchange was responsible for over 70% of the total Bitcoin transaction volume at its peak.

The exchange, which was founded by Jed McCaleb on July 17, 2010, provided a vital on-ramp into the market. It also set the pace for the future of crypto exchanges, with CEX (Centralized Exchanges) remaining a vital aspect of the industry today. Of course, the story doesn't end well for Mt.Gox.

Mt. Gox Fails

The failure of Mt.Gox is on par with the sheer importance of its launch. Just like how Mt.Gox introduced the world to crypto exchanges, it also showed the importance of leveraging code auditors and other security measures. In February 2014, Mt.Gox was hacked for 850,000 bitcoins.

This hack was the first in a series of attacks that would ultimately leave the exchange bankrupt. The sudden closure of the industry's premier exchange led to massive price pullbacks, with Bitcoin entering a multi-year crypto winter. Despite the setbacks and the fact that Mt.Gox victims were never compensated for their losses, Bitcoin remains the world's #1 crypto.

Crypto Frenzy 2017

No one could argue against the fact that 2017 was a breakout year for cryptocurrencies, and Bitcoin was no exception. It was this year that Bitcoin first broke the $20K price point. This breakthrough marked a massive rally for the token, which had fallen to $3K months prior during the crypto winter.

This year saw Bitcoin become a household name. Naysayers and those who had counted the crypto down for the count had to swallow their words and accept the fact that cryptocurrencies are here to stay. As such, 2017 was a crucial year for many crypto projects and traders.

Bitcoin Cash Hardfork

The Bitcoin Cash hard fork is perhaps one of the most controversial instances in the history of Bitcoin. During this incident, the community was split on how to handle best the growing congestion faced by the network. The 2017 crypto craze had pushed the boundaries of the network's scalability, and users were experiencing massive fees and delays due to congestion.

The debate eventually led to two massive mining pools, backed by Bitmain, ViaBTC, and BitcoinABC, hardforking to Bitcoin Cash. The only real difference between Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin at that time was a larger 2MB block size as opposed to Bitcoin's 1MB. The debate included many Bitcoin supporters such as Roger Ver, at the time known as ‘Bitcoin Jesus' for his contributions to the blockchain space.

The Bitcoin Core team felt that increasing the block size wasn't the best strategy and would lead to continual block size increases. Interestingly, they were correct, and Bitcoin Cash has since hard forked and increased its block size. Today, the project is not a major contender, while Bitcoin remains the top coin in terms of market cap.

Lightning Network

The Segwit upgrade was the answer that Bitcoin Core developers came up with rather than increasing block size. This upgrade separated parts of the transactions from the blockchain to reduce congestion. The other thing it did was open the door for the integration of off-chain protocols such as the Lightning Network.

The Lightning Network leverages personal payment channels to lower interactions with the main chain. These channels enable unlimited transactions that post to the mainnet when the channel closes. This structure reduces congestion and enables Bitcoin to provide microtransactions and smart contract support. It also improves performance as LN transactions only take seconds.

El Salvador

El Salvador raised the stakes when it became the first country in the world to make Bitcoin legal tender. This ruling means that any merchant and government agency must accept the coin as a form of payment. The maneuver was spearheaded by a long-term crypto supporter and president of the country, Nayib Bukele.

Bukele's out-of-the-box thinking has paid off in many ways. For one, the country was able to educate its citizens via a large blockchain campaign that included the free distribution of Bitcoin to all citizens. To make the project a reality, El Salvador issued all citizens $60 in BTC in a Lightning Network-enabled wallet.

The decision to make Bitcoin legal tender occurred in September 2021 and was condemned by centralized financial regulators. This condemnation didn't pause the country's resolve. The nation even opened a Bitcoin vacation destination town called Bitcoin Beach.

El Salvador remains the top nation in the world for Bitcoiners seeking an open market and friendly regulations. The country is also heavily involved in the mining sector. The country currently operates a selection of massive mining farms that use 100% renewable energy harnessed from the nation's volcanic activity.

Many More Bitcoin Moments to Come

When you examine the history of Bitcoin, you notice a pattern: the community stays strong. The journey this project has taken encompasses all regions of the world and all walks of life. From individual programmers to entire nations, Bitcoin continues to offer a smart solution and access to a freer economy. For these reasons, it remains the big fish.

David Hamilton is a full-time journalist and a long-time bitcoinist. He specializes in writing articles on the blockchain. His articles have been published in multiple bitcoin publications including