Looking back on January in history, what happened to Bitcoin?


This year, Bitcoin will celebrate its 14th “birthday.” Bitcoin has come a long way over the past 14 years, with its market cap surpassing $1 trillion in 2021.

Since the birth of Bitcoin, January has been essential every year because this month carries several historical events and milestones of Bitcoin.

2019 to present

Bitcoin has barely escaped the public eye since its sharp price drop in early 2018. Instead, cautious investors started accumulating slowly while Bitcoin’s price hovered around most of 2018 and 2019. Bitcoin started to surge in the second half of 2019 ahead of its halving in May 2020.

Although there were no significant events in January during this period, Bitcoin did surpass $40,000 for the first time in January 2021 and reached a historic $1 trillion market cap shortly after that. Also, January 2022 is not without historical events. On January 2, the Bitcoin hash rate surpassed 203.5 exhalates per second for the first time, increasing more than 200 times over the past six years.

2018: Government Boycott

One of the most significant government boycotts against Bitcoin occurred in January 2018. That month, governments and central banks in countries including China, Bahrain, India, South Korea, and Tajikistan strongly opposed Bitcoin as a currency. More countries followed in the months since.

That same month, Facebook banned all cryptocurrency-related ads on its platform. However, Samsung is partnering with a Chinese company to make Bitcoin miner chips and semiconductors. Swiss authorities are starting to accept Bitcoin payments, and the Peter Thiel Foundation is buying Bitcoin.

2017: Overly Bullish

2017 was an overly bullish year, with Bitcoin hitting $1,000 again in January after nearly three years of development; it even rose to just under $20,000 before falling sharply at the end of 2017.

2016: Crazy Fork

In January 2016, Bitcoin Classic joined the “fork camp,” the first fork favored by many Bitcoin enterprises, developers, investors, and miners among many failed Bitcoin forks. Interestingly, the Bitcoin network hash rate will also surpass 1 exahash per second for the first time in January 2016.

2015: Rise and Fall

Bitcoin had a very turbulent start to 2015 and saw one of the most significant monthly losses in January of that year, falling 30.9%. However, Coinbase’s $75 million Series C in January, considered the largest for a Bitcoin-related company, launched Coinbase Exchange later that month.

At the time, Coinbase was focused on Bitcoin and helped companies like Overstock, Dell, Expedia, Dish Network, and others accept Bitcoin payments. It also partners with Stripe, Braintree, and PayPal to process Bitcoin payments.

2014: Games and Casinos

Things are starting to heat up as more companies start accepting Bitcoin payments. For example, Zynga announced plans to allow users to make in-game purchases with Bitcoin on January 4, while the company tested payments using BitPay’s infrastructure.

On January 21, two Las Vegas casinos and their hotels announced plans to accept Bitcoin in some of their operations. Las Vegas Casinos and Golden Gate Casinos became the first casinos to start accepting Bitcoin long before Bitcoin became today’s globalized digital currency.

A physical copy of the February 2014 Bitcoin Magazine, written in January 2014, is displayed at the National Museum of American History.

2013: The rise of startups

Nearly five years after Bitcoin launched, investors are starting to pay attention to Bitcoin-related startups. On January 7, Bitcoin payment service provider BitPay became the first Bitcoin-related startup with a $510,000 funding round. It raised an additional $2 million later that year.

2012: Bitcoin shows on TV

By 2012, Bitcoin was starting to make waves around the world, and it appeared in episode 13 of season 3 of The Good Wife, which focused on a lawyer being defended for not disclosing the identity of his client, who allegedly created Bitcoin, the first time Bitcoin has appeared in mainstream media outside of news broadcasts.

2011: Bitcoin for Nonprofits

On January 20, 2011, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) made history by becoming the first nonprofit to accept Bitcoin donations, paving the way for many such organizations in the future.

In the same month, three people bought 4 BTC (100 trillion Zimbabwe dollars) each for 100,000,000,000,000 Zimbabwe dollars using OTC services. To this day, it remains the most significant value in Bitcoin transactions.

2010: Real Bitcoin First Buy?

Almost everyone knows the story of Laszlo Hanyecz, who bought two pizzas for 10,000 BTC in May 2010, in what is primarily considered to be the first “real world” purchase made with Bitcoin. Another milestone for digital currencies as we know them today.

2009: Dawn of Bitcoin

On January 3, 2009, a few months after the release of the Bitcoin white paper, Satoshi Nakamoto dug up the Bitcoin genesis block and emphasized some of the financial turmoil that inspired him to invent Bitcoin, officially launching the Bitcoin network.

Just six days later, the first Bitcoin (0.1) client was released on January 9, enabling users to perform Bitcoin transactions and paving the way for the first Bitcoin transaction on January 12, when Satoshi Nakamoto Sent 10 BTC to Hal Finney (block 170).

Bitcoin has had many milestone events in its history in January; if one thinks that the Bitcoin network came online in January 2009 when Satoshi Nakamoto mined the genesis block, one could even call January the actual Bitcoin month of birth. Still, by looking back at the milestones, growth, and building of a lasting community worldwide over the years, January is a month everyone in the Bitcoin community should celebrate.

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