Bitcoin is the most popular form of virtual currency in circulation right now. However, it remains a very mysterious and scary topic for a lot of people. To calm those nerves surrounding Bitcoin, here is a list of 10 things you did not know about the currency.
10. The Founder of Bitcoin Remains Anonymous
Bitcoin was first established back on 3rd January, 2009 by a man identified as Satoshi Nakamoto. Despite initial rumours linking the name to a face of a Japanese computer programmer born in 1975, it has since been confirmed that the identity of the creator of Bitcoin remains a mystery. In fact, it is still not known if Satoshi Nakamoto is the name of a single person or a number of people.
An Australian programmer by the name of Craig Steven Wright did attempt to claim he was the man behind the name but has yet managed to offer substantial proof to add weight to his claims. Other individuals including computer scientist Nick Szabo, trained physicist Dorian Nakamoto, and cryptographic pioneer Hal Finney have all been speculated as the bitcoin founder. Whoever the person/s behind the Nakamoto name turns out to be, they currently own an estimated one million bitcoins at an equivalent value of $1.1 billion.
9. What Is Bitcoin?
The actual physical entity of bitcoin is hard to imagine. It is essentially a digital currency that is ‘mined’ by computers to solve algorithms. There is a limited supply currently available on the bitcoin market. It is anticipated that the last of these supplies will be ‘mined’ by 2140. By that time there will be an approximate 21 million bitcoins in circulation. What is this process of ‘mining’ we hear you ask? Well, it is fundamentally a record-keeping service. ‘Mining’ is the process of submitting transaction records to Bitcoin’s official public ledger of all previous transactions or block chain. This ledger of those stated transactions is labelled the block chain because it is a chain of blocks. The block chain has a purpose of needing to confirm transactions to the rest of the network.
8. ‘Mining’ Requires Immeasurable Computer Power
When considering the amount of time and effort it takes for computers to ‘mine’ for bitcoins and the value that this process has on the virtual currency market it is no surprise that the whole process of ‘mining’ may be deemed very important. So, it is no shock to reveal that the power of the computer network charged with ‘mining’ bitcoins is up to 256 times more powerful than the top 500 super computers on the planet… combined!
7. Bitcoin Pizza Day
It might not be a national holiday or even an historic day that you are aware of but Bitcoin Pizza Day is a thing. It occurs on 22nd May every year and it marks the day that the first ever bitcoin transaction took place back in 2010. An individual by the name of Laszlo Hanyecz purchased two Dominos pizzas from Jercos for 10,000 bitcoins. The value of the coins was equivalent to $41 at the time. If Hanyecz had proceeded with the same purchase in this current day, then he would have paid the equivalent of $12 million for the two pizzas. To celebrate this day, pizza companies across the world offer discounted rates for customers that purchase their pizzas using the bitcoin currency.
6. FBI Led the Way
As previously stated, Satoshi Nakamoto owns a staggering one million bitcoins but that is spread across a number of wallets and could, potentially, be owned by a number of different people. The largest known individual wallet on the Bitcoin market was, at one point, owned by the US-based FBI. That’s right, the Federal Bureau of Investigations possessed a Bitcoin wallet that held 144,000 bitcoins in 2013. That equates to roughly $184 million in today’s money. This happened because the FBI made the move to shut down the Silk Road online drug dealing market. It also put them ahead of the renowned Winklevoss twins who confirmed in the same year that they had cornered 1% of the bitcoin market. As of today, the current richest bitcoin wallet stands at 124,178 bitcoins estimated to be worth $158,429,675. The address is located at 1JCe8z4jJVNXSjohjM4i9Hh813dLCNx2Sy but the user details remain confidential.
5. Bitcoin Is Still a Secret
If you have been involved in business online, then there is every chance that you have been aware of bitcoin for a while. Potentially ever since it was first introduced into the financial market 8 years ago. However, a recent US survey by non-profit and research and advocacy group Coin Center recorded that only 35% of people questioned had any idea what bitcoin is. Furthermore, only 0.003% of the global population own any bitcoins. That is equivalent to approximately 250,000 people. If you own bitcoin, then you belong to a very exclusive club.
4. The Great Heist of 2014
In 2014, one of the world’s biggest heists took place and hardly anyone knew it even happened. One of the world’s largest Bitcoin exchanges, Mt. Gox, confirmed the company had gone bankrupt after over 800,000 bitcoins had gone missing. 650,000 of those bitcoins remain unaccounted for with reports suggesting that they had been hacked by thieves and stolen. At the time, these bitcoins converted to $300 million and roughly 5% of the entire bitcoin circulation. If that very same heist was to take place today it would have been valued at $834 million.
3. Bitcoin Can Pay For Pretty Much Anything
There are a number of reasons Bitcoin has surged in popularity since its introduction in 2009. It offers user anonymity, there are no transaction fees, payments are not taxed, there are no third-party interruptions, and payments can be made on mobile devices. It is also possible to pay for a lot of things using bitcoin. Food shopping outlets, pubs, and even strippers accept bitcoin transactions.
Online casino gaming is another area that has benefited massively from the bitcoin revolution. This has become so much so that bitcoin-specific casinos have been popping up online. Bitcoin casinos such as BitCasino.io, BetChain, and BitStarz have evolved online casino gambling for punters all over the world. As the bitcoin market continues to go from strength-to-strength, it also appears that this will only have a positive impact on casino gaming both online and on mobile devices.
2. Throwing Bitcoins Away
Perhaps the most idiotic moment in Bitcoin history can be attributed to a certain James Howells. As the owner of 7,500 bitcoins, Howells had an estimated $7.5 million worth of bitcoins in his possession back in 2013. This was located on an external hard drive. It was this very external hard drive that Howells accidentally threw away in the trash. Howells spent days searching through rubbish tips in the surrounding area to try and salvage the lost hard drive. His efforts were in vain. It remains the largest accidental loss of bitcoins by a single individual.
Losing track of digital currency can be easy to do. Misplacing a certain number of bitcoins is a lot easier than forgetting where you put your cash investments. This has led to financial experts releasing advice on how best to manage bitcoin and other digital assets. Digital assets are here to stay.
1. Bernanke Changed the Future of Bitcoin
The future of Bitcoin was up in the air back in 2013. It had been in circulation for four years without really taking off. Concerns over its safety, security, and lack of transparency led to businesses and customers steering clear of using bitcoin as a method of financial transaction. It seemed that Bitcoin would disappear as quickly as it had materialized.
However, in 2013, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke changed the Bitcoin landscape when he confirmed that Bitcoin, along with other virtual currencies, would hold long term promise. The confidence displayed by Bernanke in the Bitcoin market saw the value of bitcoins rise sharply and the currency has only continued to increase in value ever since. At the start of 2017, the official value of Bitcoin exceeded the $1,000 mark for the first time ever.