15 years after Satoshi Nakamoto mined genesis block

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While many celebrate Oct. 31, 2008 — the release of the Bitcoin whitepaper — as Bitcoin’s original birthday, others take a more technical approach to determining the true age of Bitcoin (BTC). For the latter, Jan. 3 is the actual date Bitcoin materialized as a store of value and transferable currency.

Bitcoin genesis block details. Source: Blockchain.com

The genesis block, a.k.a. the first Bitcoin block, was mined on Jan. 3, 2009, by its mysterious creator Satoshi Nakamoto. What followed was years of triumph versus naysayers that included critics, mainstream media, politicians and governments worldwide. On the occasion of Bitcoin’s 15th birthday, we take a bird’s eye view of the Bitcoin ecosystem.

Bitcoin ATM Network

Bitcoin ATMs were first conceived nearly five years after the first block was mined, with historical data confirming that the first ATM went live in October 2013. The motive was to provide another avenue for people to exchange their local fiat currencies for Bitcoin.

While the Bitcoin ATM network saw staggered growth initially, thousands of Bitcoin and crypto ATMs were added yearly across the globe as mass Bitcoin adoption brewed. At its peak, nearly 40,000 Bitcoin ATMs were active on the network in 2021.

Crypto ATM installations growth to date. Source: CoinATMRadar

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Post 2021, geopolitical tensions and negative investor sentiment amid a bear market saw an immediate but short-lived reduction in Bitcoin ATMs. However, as of Jan. 3, 2024, nearly 34,000 Bitcoin ATMs remain operational worldwide.

Close to 1M Bitcoin blocks mined

15 years after the creation of the first block, Bitcoin miners continue to mine blocks in return for rewards. The growing interest from individuals and corporations in mining Bitcoin confirms the process as a viable business model that also helps secure the Bitcoin network from external attacks.

 Latest BTC blocks. Source: Blockchain.com

Millions of Bitcoin transactions that went through over 15 years have been permanently recorded in 825,000 blocks, and neither the miners nor the investors have any intention of stopping.

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Mainstream adoption of Bitcoin

Despite the strong resistance to mainstream adoption, the importance of Bitcoin as the future of money was first understood by those from hyperinflated economies.

El Salvador took charge of establishing Bitcoin as a legal tender and, in two years, showed the resilience of Bitcoin amid global economic turmoil.

El Salvador President Nayib Bukele indirectly gave confidence to the leaders of other countries to reconsider Bitcoin’s proposition. On the other hand, several countries like China and Saudi Arabia continue to restrict the use of Bitcoin — given its ability to provide unsolicited freedom from centralization.

Bitcoin’s journey from worthless to priceless

Beating all odds, Bitcoin now boasts an eye-watering near-$900 billion market capitalization, a valuation accumulated in just 15 years. In 2010, an early Bitcoiner convinced a pizza joint to sell him two pizzas for 10,000 BTC. Today, he’d be able to startup his own pizzeria business for not much more than just one Bitcoin.

Establishments across nearly all business verticals have started to accept Bitcoin in exchange for their services. From real estate and concert tickets to vacations and education, Bitcoin can be used to make almost any purchase without involving banks or other centralized entities. Read this article to learn more about how to actually spend Bitcoin.

As of January 2024, Bitcoin stands as the 9th most valuable asset in the world based on market cap alone. Professional trader and financial author Oliver Velez noted that Bitcoin surpassed 7,963 assets in 15 years to rank 9th and anticipated the asset to rank in top three by 2025.

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