Bitcoin has caused quite the storm over the last ten years. Since its inception in October 2008, the crypto has been more controversial than Eminem, used to buy more drugs than Snoop Dogg and responsible for more money laundering than, well, not banks—they’re much worse. Which is kind of funny: Given that the idea of the world’s first, real digital currency sounds pretty prosaic, the story of Bitcoin has been surprisingly dramatic.

Here are the most defining moments in the history of Bitcoin:

Nick Szabo blogs about his BitGold proposal

Nick Szabo created a proposal called BitGold
Is Nick Szabo the real Satoshi Nakamoto? Photo Credit: Decrypt

Crypto OG Nick Szabo proposed the BitGold system on his blog on December 27, 2008, which was a radically new idea for digital money. It has major similarities to Bitcoin, as expressed in the Bitcoin whitepaper. For a start, it has a limited money supply to protect against inflation, it uses "proof-of-work" to create new blocks, and it avoids the need of a trusted third party. Even the name is similar. This has led some to believe Szabo is Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of Bitcoin.

Date: December 27, 2008

Media: You can read the proposal here.

Seismic moment: 9/10

Satoshi Nakamoto publishes the Bitcoin whitepaper

bitcoin whitepaper by satoshi nakamoto
The Bitcoin whitepaper turned years of research into something concrete. Photo Credit:

The birth of Bitcoin. On a cryptography mailing list at, Nakamoto published the Bitcoin whitepaper, setting down an ingenious system for peer-to-peer electronic cash. In January, 2009, Nakamoto released the Bitcoin software, having been writing the code for it since 2007. Since then, the whitepaper has been translated into 19 languages. The first Bitcoin block was mined on January 3, 2009 and contained a headline from the Times magazine that reads, “Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.” Looks like the banking system hasn’t changed much.

Date: October 31, 2008


Media: You can read the whitepaper here.

Seismic moment: 10/10

Hal Finney receives the first Bitcoin transaction

Hal Finney recieved first bitcoin transaction
Hal Finney was a pioneer in the history of Bitcoin. Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Hal Finney was a cryptographer who was among the first few people to start mining Bitcoin. He received the first Bitcoin transaction from Nakamoto—one data point among many that lead many to believe he was, in fact, Nakamoto. Finney was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2009, just two months before Nakamoto disappeared forever. He died in 2014 and his body was cryogenically preserved by the Alcor Life Extension Foundation. In a post on BitcoinTalk, he said, “I have always loved crypto, the mystery and the paradox of it.”

Date: January 12, 2009

Media: Hal Finney made this post on BitcoinTalk.

Seismic moment: 10/10

Laszlo Hanyecz pays 10,000 Bitcoin for two Papa John’s pizzas

Lazlo Hanyecz buys two pizza for 10,000 Bitcoin
How good does a million dollar pizza taste? Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Have you ever looked back on a meal and thought to yourself, that was expensive? This would certainly be there case for Laszlo Hanyecz: He  traded 10,000 Bitcoin to someone on BitcoinTalk to get them to have delivered to him two Papa John’s pizzas. At the time, Bitcoin was all but worthless (10,000= $41.) Now it would be worth $38 million. Why did he do it? “I just think it would be interesting if I could say that I paid for a pizza in bitcoins,” he wrote in a follow-up comment. You’d think someone would learn from doing something like this but oh no, just last year, he did it again.

Date: May 18, 2010


Media: You can see the original pizza post here.

Seismic moment: 7/10

The Winklevoss twins say they own 108,000 Bitcoin

jihan wu with the winklevoss twins
Winklevoss, left and Winklevoss, right. Jihan Wu, middle. Photo Credit: Gemini

Just after Facebook co-inventors the Winklevoss twins announced how much Bitcoin they owned, the price of dropped 60% to $105. (Prompting Business Insider to observe  that it must be a "tough time" to own so much cryptocurrency.) That amount of Bitcoin is now worth $410 million. (Must be a tough time to be so rich.) This iconic image was taken much later as they met with Jihan Wu, head of Bitcoin mining giant Bitmain. Let’s hope that this time, they don’t get Zuckerberged.

Date: April 11, 2013

Media: New York Times broke the story.

Seismic moment: 6/10

A drunk trader mistypes HOLD, sparking big Bitcoin meme

drunk typo creates HODL meme
Do you have weak hands? Photo Credit: BitcoinTalk

Have you ever been so drunk you mistyped something three times —and sparked a meme that would define a movement? No, us neither (even Ben.) But, one trader did, in 2013, posting on BitcoinTalk that he was done with trading and planned to just wait it out long term. At the time Bitcoin was worth $644 so, presumably, it paid off. But the typo has subsequently become the rallying cry among people who believe it’s better to hold onto their Bitcoin rather than spend it. We think that's a bad idea—spending Bitcoin will ensure its adoption and cause the price to increase more than holding.  Indeed, here’s our guide of where you can spend Bitcoin everywhere.

Date: December 18, 2013


Media: Check out the post here.

Seismic moment: 9/10

Crypto exchange Mt. Gox gets hacked for $460 million

mt gox users lost millions of Bitcoin
The Mt. Gox funds have been held up in legal limbo ever since. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Back in 2014, Mt Gox was pretty much the only Bitcoin exchange, handling some 70% of all transactions. That made it a ripe target: it was hacked and lost 740,000 Bitcoin ($460 million). Nowadays, exchange hacks are all too common. Just last year, Coincheck lost 500 million NEM ($500 million) and Coinrail lost a variety of cryptocurrencies worth $40 million. Still the Mt. Gox mystery remains one of the most legendary crypto hack of all time.

Date: February 28, 2014

Media: WIRED did the definitive piece here.

Seismic moment: 10/10

Newsweek identifies "Satoshi Nakamoto"

Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, not the inventor of Bitcoin
Will the real Satoshi please stand up? Photo Credit: YouTube

It sounded too good to be true:The inventor of Bitcoin, who went to such great lengths to keep his identity a secret was actually living in plain sight. Indeed, Newsweek tracked down a mathematician named "Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto," who confusingly admitted to being the inventor of Bitcoin. (He though the Newsweek reporter was referring to a government program he had once been involved in.) Well, it turned out that this Nakamoto actually nothing to do with the invention of Bitcoin. (Though he had attended a Bitcoin meetup with Nick Szabo, among others.) This was either a red herring or confirmation that Szabo is The Dude, depending on your belief system.

Date: March 6, 2014


Media: Read the original Newsweek article here.

Seismic moment: 7/10

Craig Wright claims he is Satoshi Nakamoto

Craig Wright says he is Satoshi, many times
Craig Wright now supports Bitcoin Cash SV as the "original" Bitcoin. Photo Credit: Decrypt

Craig Wright has “proven” he's Satoshi Nakamoto more times than there are nodes on the Bitcoin network. And yet, he hasn’t provided a shred of real evidence. In fact, there is even an app that lets you create identical “proofs,” so you too, can be Satoshi. In other words, Nakamoto remains anonymous.

Date: 2 May 2016

Media: WIRED published this story full of clues in 2015, Craig Wright came out to the BBC in a now-deleted post in 2016 and then reaffirmed his stance again and again including this time in 2018.

Seismic moment: 5/10

A dude holds up a “Buy Bitcoin” sign in Congress

Buy bitcoin sign in congress
Why didn't you listen to this guy? Photo Credit: YouTube

Sometimes all you need is a sign. And this time, it was in the form of a yellow notepad with “Buy Bitcoin” written on. The image was broadcast live from Capitol Hill, and fro that moment in July, 2017, the price of the crypto climbed eight times higher, to its peak in December, 2017. Even now, despite its steep plunge, Bitcoin is nearly double its price back then. What did this guy know that we don’t?

Date: 12 July 2017


Media: CNBC covered it here.

Seismic moment: 7/10

Bitcoin Cash is formed from Bitcoin

Roger Ver creates Bitcoin Cash
Should the B be falling backwards or falling forward? Photo Credit:

Is Bitcoin Bitcoin or is Bitcoin Cash Bitcoin? It’s hard to tell. In August, 2017, two mining pools ViaBTC and BitcoinABC decided to create a fork of Bitcoin called Bitcoin Cash. In this version, there are larger block sizes, allowing the network to handle more transactions. But it would later suffer the same fate as the original Bitcoin, when it too split in two. Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin SV were the result, and both networks have struggled to reach the peaks of the original fork. We wish it the best of luck.

Date: August 1, 2017

Media: CNN covered it here.

Seismic moment: 9/10

A new protocol increases the Bitcoin block size when needed

Segwit increases Bitcoin block sizes
Bitcoin blocks bigger than 1 MB, who knew? Photo Credit:

Should Bitcoin have a block size limit of 1 MB? It’s a fairly simple question, but one that’s caused years of controversy. The limit was designed to deter spam and it stops the Bitcoin blockchain from becoming too bloated, but the side effect has been higher fees and fewer transactions. Segwit was introduced to allow the network to cope with more demand but it has taken years for it to be widely adopted. It lets the block sizes rise above 1 MB when necessary, keeping transaction fees low.

Date: August 23, 2017


Media: Coindesk explains it here.

Seismic moment: 7/10

Carlos Matos sings his love for Bitconnect

Carlos Matos celebrates Bitconnect
Bitconneeeeeeect. Photo Credit: YouTube

You know that chirpy feeling when you invest in a Ponzi scheme early and start making outrageous sums of money? Well it’s best not to let those emotions out on stage in front of thousands of people. That's what investor Carlos Matos did after buying Bitconnect and starting to make $100,000 a week. He became an Internet meme with his shouts of “NO NO NOH” and “WASA WASA WASUP?” Bitconnect was eventually shut down amid claims it was a Ponzi scheme. The FBI is reportedly investigating.

Date: October 28, 2017

Media: You can watch it here.

Seismic moment: 9/10

Roger Ver ragequits a YouTube interview

Roger Ver rage quits interview
A friendly gesture from Roger Ver. Photo Credit: YouTube

Longtime Bitcoin proponent and self-made millionaire, Roger Ver, likes getting his own way. So much so, that when Bitcoin enthusiast John Carvalho kept referring to Bitcoin Cash (a flavor of Bitcoin Ver created) as “BCash,” Ver got angry, flipped the bird and ended the interview. He later apologized—but not for creating Bitcoin Cash.

Date: November 27, 2017


Media: You can watch it here.

Seismic moment: 8/10

The price of one Bitcoin reaches $20,000

Bitcoin peak prices reached $20,000
Do not mortgage your house to buy Bitcoin. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Imagine investing in Bitcoin when it was $1 only to see your investment rise two million percent. Had you held on, you would have hit $20,000. Billions of dollars poured into the crypto market in 2017, creating a speculative bubble that started to crash shortly after the beginning of 2018. By lastyear's end, the price of Bitcoin had fallen by 85 percent. As mentioned, plenty of people are still hodling, with bulls saying the best is yet to come. (If you’re one, please make sure you don’t throw away your hard drive.)

Date: December 17, 2017

Media: Here is just one article that covered it.

Seismic moment: 8/10

Binance CEO signs a big partnership while wearing shorts

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao wearing shorts
The clothes make the man. Photo Credit: Binance

You’d be forgiven for thinking the guy in the middle had lost his pants—or couldn’t afford any. In fact, he’s Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of crypto exchange Binance, which recorded profits higher than Deutsche Bank early last year. In this moment, he has signed a deal with Bermuda’s premier E. David Burt. However, some eagle eyed viewers noticed that these sorts of shorts are actually considered fine, per Bermuda's formal dress code. So never mind.

Date: April 27, 2018


Media: Covered by Cryptosummer.

Seismic moment: 4/10

Warren Buffett says Bitcoin is "probably rat poison squared"

Warren Buffet isn't a Bitcoin bull
Warren Buffett demonstrates the value of Bitcoin. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Warren Buffett is a Bitcoin hater. Last spring, the Sage of Omaha said that Bitcoin is “probably rat poison squared.” Did his position soften this week when he allowed that blockchain is “ingenious?” No it did not.  He said it is attracting cheats, and told CNBC: “You can stare at it all day, and no little Bitcoins come out or anything like that. It’s a delusion, basically.”

Date: May 5, 2018

Media: CNBC broke the story here.

Seismic moment: 4/10

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