Bitcoin (BTC)


Bitcoin (BTC) is a decentralized digital currency that has been making headlines since its release in 2009. It has revolutionized the financial industry with its unique features and the blockchain´s potential to provide an alternative to traditional banking systems. The advent of Bitcoin signaled a shift towards a new era of financial decentralization.


Origin and Development

Before Bitcoin

Several digital cash technologies were created prior to Bitcoin, such as David Chaum´s concept for ecash which was around as early as the 1980s (but was not decentralized). They never got the same impact as Bitcoin and would largely remain experimental.

In 1997, Adam Back developed the proof-of-work scheme Hashcash, although it was for spam control – not for cryptocurrencies – and if used for cryptocurrencies, it had no protection against double-spending. A year later, Wei Dai (b-money) and Nick Szabo (bit gold) began promoting the idea of a distributed digital scarcity-based cryptocurrency, but their creations turned out to be vulnerable to Sybil attacks.

The first cryptocurrency based on resusabloe proof-of-work was created by Hal Finney in 2004.

Satoshi Nakamoto

The concept of Bitcoin and how it would work was developed and introduced by a person or persons using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. The mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto released a white paper titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”, and this paper laid the groundwork for the creation of a decentralized digital currency that does not rely on any central authority to maintain transactions. 

Bitcoin is launched

In 2009, the first block of Bitcoin, known as the Genesis Block, was mined by Satoshi Nakamoto. The first real-world transaction took place in 2010, where programmer Laszlo Hanyecz paid 10,000 Bitcoins for two pizzas. Today, the value of those Bitcoins would be in the millions of dollars, reflecting the significant growth in value that Bitcoin has experienced. 

Satoshi Nakamoto has not been heard of since 2010. According to estimations, Nakamoto mined roughly 1 million Bitcoins before stepping back and sending the network alert key and control of the code repository to Gavin Andresen. The identity or identities behind the pseudonym are still not known, although several people have claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto.

In 2012, the Bitcoin Foundation was founded, with Gavin Andresen as the lead developer.

Early Growth of Bitcoin

The earliest Bitcoin transactions were mostly made just to test if it worked, such as the abovementioned pizza purchase. Later, various actors on black markets online began using BTC, including buyers and sellers on Silk Road. Throughout its 30 months of existence, Silk Road only permitted the use of BTC as payments, and during those 30 months, roughly 9.9 million BTC was transferred for Silk Road purchases.

Functionality and Usage

Bitcoin transactions are made from peer-to-peer without the need for intermediaries, such as banks. These transactions are verified by network nodes through cryptography and recorded on a public ledger known as a blockchain. 

Bitcoin can be exchanged for other currencies, products, and services. Over 100,000 merchants and vendors accept bitcoin as payment. Research produced by the University of Cambridge estimates that in 2017, there were 2.9 to 5.8 million unique users using a cryptocurrency wallet, most of them using bitcoin.

Potential and Limitations

Bitcoin has shown significant potential as a global currency. Its decentralized nature eliminates the need for central banks and provides an alternative to traditional financial systems, particularly in countries with unstable economies. Moreover, Bitcoin transactions are typically faster and cheaper than traditional banking transactions due to the absence of intermediaries.

However, Bitcoin is not without its limitations. It has been criticized for its association with illegal transactions, its high electricity consumption, price volatility, thefts from exchanges, and the possibility that Bitcoin is an economic bubble. Bitcoin has also been used as an investment, with several ponzi schemes and initial coin offerings that have been associated with fraudulent activities.

Bitcoin keeps on truckin´

Bitcoin has had a profound impact on the financial industry, prompting many traditional financial institutions to explore blockchain technology and consider the potential of digital currencies. It has also sparked a wave of new cryptocurrencies, collectively known as altcoins, each with its unique features and purposes. 

The rise of Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, has brought about regulatory challenges as governments and financial institutions grapple with how to regulate a decentralized currency. Despite these challenges, Bitcoin continues to grow in popularity and is increasingly seen as a legitimate asset class.

In 2020, several well-known large companies and institutions began buying BTC. Two notable examples are MicroStrategy, which made a $250 million purchase to keep BTC as a treasury reserve asset, and The Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) which invested $100 million.

Examples of other milestones for Bitcoin in the early 2020s:

  • In February 2021, Bitcoin´s market capitalization reached $1 trillion for the first time.
  • In September 2021, Bitcoin became legal tender in El Salvador, alongside the U.S. dollar.
  • In October 2021, the first bitcoin futures Exchange-traded Fund (ETF) was approved by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States. Created by ProShares, it was named BITO and listed on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).
  • In November 2021, the Taproot soft-fork upgrade was activated.
  • In 2023, ordinals – non-fungible tokens (NFTs) went live on the Bitcoin blockchain.
  • In January 2024, the first 11 US spot bitcoin ETFs began trading on stock exchanges in the U.S.


Bitcoin, in its short history, has disrupted the traditional financial system and introduced a new way of conducting transactions. Its potential to democratize finance, reduce transaction costs, and provide a global currency is exciting. Nonetheless, it’s essential for investors and users to understand the volatile nature of Bitcoin and the risks associated with it. Only then can they truly harness the potential of this revolutionary digital currency.

While Bitcoin is sometimes painted as the “enemy” of the existing financial system, existing financial institutions have not been unwilling to jump on the train to get their share of the Bitcoin enthusiasm. The first Bitcoin futures based ETF was listed on the CME in 2021, and in January 2024, the first 11 US spot bitcoin ETFs began trading on stock exchanges in the U.S.

In the world of finance, Bitcoin has indeed marked its territory, steamrolling its way into the consciousness of individuals and companies alike. Its future, while uncertain, holds considerable promise. While the future of Bitcoin remains uncertain, its impact on the financial industry is undeniable. It has paved the way for a new era of digital finance and has the potential to revolutionize the way we conduct transactions. However, its success will largely depend on how it addresses its limitations and navigates regulatory challenges.