Crypto Breaking Out
Image: Bitcoin white paper available at bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf
Bitcoin got known by its creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, first publishing the white paper on The Cryptography Mailing List on October 31, 2008.
The network launched on January 3, 2009. At the time, it was just a very small group of cryptographers that knew about Bitcoin.
Nine months later in November 2009, Bitcoin reached outside mailing lists and private emails as Satoshi created the Bitcointalk.org forum . The BitcoinTalk forum became the go-to place for discussion in relation to Bitcoin and also crypto in general and it remains popular to this day.
Bitcoin still wasn’t worth much if anything. In fact, it wasn’t until May 2010 that the first real-world transaction took place. The value of Bitcoin was then less than $0.01.
In July 2010 Bitcoin was introduced to a wider audience with an article in Slashdot. The site at that time was billing itself as ‘News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters’ — a large but limited audience. Slashdot has a big following among computer scientists and thus Bitcoin got in the public limelight for the first time. The price skyrocketed 900% to $0.08 over five days. In would go much higher, in February 2011 a Slashdot article mentioned that Bitcoin achieved ‘dollar parity’ or $1.00 — a milestone in the two year old currency. But the price rally wasn’t over. Forbes and Gawker published articles and the price of Bitcoin increased by another 30x over the coming 4 months.
In November 2011 Bitcoin would break out to an even bigger audience as this time Wired magazine was writing an article about the ‘Rise and Fall of Bitcoin’.
Bitcoin collapsed in value by 93% from a peak of over $29 in June 2011 to a low of $2.00 in December the same year.
At the time, no one could know for certain if Satoshi Nakamoto had unleashed an unstoppable force or if Bitcoin would slowly lose even more value and never come back.
It turned out that Slashdot, Forbes, Gawker and Wired had taken Bitcoin out from the small circle of cryptographers and computer scientist into the consciousness of a much larger audience and created an unstoppable force.
Bitcoin didn’t receive much media coverage in 2012 but the price started moving up again and as price appreciated it was going to break out to a much larger audience once again.
In March of 2013 Bitcoin hit $100 for the first time. The widely followed financial news cable network CNBC started regularly featuring Bitcoin.
Suddenly Bitcoin was breaking out to an audience in the hundreds of thousands. Bitcoin started increasing in price rapidly and in January 2014 reached $1,000 — another milestone.
While the online conversation was still happening on the BitcoinTalk forum that Satoshi started, the Bitcoin subreddit on Reddit had become one of the most popular places for online discussion. In the following years a large part of that conversation was moving to Twitter — what is now known as ‘Crypto Twitter’.
With the launch of Ethereum in 2015 and altcoins came a new wave of activity to the market. In 2017 the market was ready for another rally. The ICO boom slowly grew from early 2017 and by mid year it really picked up speed. The coming 6 months would see record activity media coverage and all time high prices. The crypto market had attracted attention of millions of people. Crypto had in many ways truly broken out into the mainstream.
With price, media interest slowed down in 2018. However big institutions had their eyes on the market and in 2019 Fidelity and ICE (NYSE) both announced the launch of their crypto related offerings. What really got crypto back in the spotlight however was the announcement by Facebook that they together with partners are launching a crypto currency called the Libra Coin.
Crypto was once again breaking out to a bigger audience and for the first time we had the President of the United States commenting on Bitcoin (and Libra), we had the Federal Reserve Chairman being asked about crypto in a congressional hearing and we had the treasury secretary holding a press conference about cryptocurrencies.