Celebrate bitcoin’s milestones on these holidays

Bitcoin has already begun to radically change how people transact. Wondering how we got to where we are today? Here are a list of bitcoin’s milestones to date that have helped define the ecosystem and build a new financial future for millions across the globe.

Multiple balloons tied to a suitcase. Each balloon has a symbol representing one of the bitcoin holidays covered in the post.

Bitcoin’s White Paper – October 31, 2008

Bitcoin’s initial round of exposure to the world was an academic paper called “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Payment System”. Written by an unknown person or persons using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto, the paper laid the groundwork for the digital currency and the peer-to-peer decentralized payment network that powers it all. It’s been speculated that Halloween was intentionally chosen as a release date.

The Genesis Block – January 3, 2009

A few months after the release of the White Paper, Satoshi mined the very first bitcoin block, which was the first evidence of activity recorded on the block chain. This activity, referred to as the Genesis Block or Block 0, is commonly celebrated as the other half of bitcoin’s birthdate; the White Paper being the initial half. Both being important milestones, Block 0 represents the genesis of bitcoin in action. The first official bitcoin transaction followed soon after, with cryptographer Hal Finney receiving a total of 10 BTC from Nakamoto on January 12, 2009.

Bitcoinween – October 31, 2014

During 2014’s spooky season, a contest dubbed “Bitcoinween” was organized by our very own Nicolas Cary. The pumpkin carving contest put the spotlight on bitcoin-accepting nonprofits, with Cary donating $500 in bitcoin to the contest winner’s nonprofit of choice. While Bitcoinween was only a one-year event, one thing is clear: bitcoin is an epic transaction medium for nonprofits.

Bitcoin Pizza Day – May 22, 2010

Source: news.bitcoin.com

This holiday generates quite a bit of buzz on social media each year. Despite what a quick Google Search might lead newer users to think, this bitcoin milestone didn’t kick off because we’ve got some strange pizza fetish. The truth is that pizza was the first documented purchase of a good with bitcoin.

In May of 2010 BitcoinTalk.org user Laszlo posted an offer to pay 10,000 BTC to anyone who would order him two pizzas. At the time, bitcoin was still in its infancy and hadn’t been used for purchasing much of anything. On May 22, Laszlo’s offer was accepted and his bitcoin-for-pizza transaction marked the very beginning of bitcoin’s use potential as an everyday currency. The 10,000 BTC transaction was only worth $41 USD at the time, but now it holds a value of over 20 million dollars.

Fast forward to today, there are plenty of ways to buy yourself a slice of cheesy goodness, like Pizza For Coins, or through gift card e-tailers eGifter or Gyft. Thank you, Laszlo!

The Halving – once every four years

Illustration of a rocket awaiting launch with a countdown and stats on bitcoin's 2016 halving.
Source: thehalvening.com

Halving is a part of the bitcoin mining process. In short, bitcoin miners are rewarded with bitcoin for each block of transactions they validate. How much they receive is divided in half during the halving, which occurs about once every four years (or once every 210,000 blocks). To date, there have been two halvings. The first was in November 2012, which reduced the reward from 50 to 25 BTC. Last year, gatherings around the globe celebrated the second halving event, which saw it reduced again to 12.5 BTC.

The reward halving makes bitcoin increasingly difficult to mine. As its demand and utility also rises, this creates scarcity, which can have a significant influence on bitcoin’s market value.

And there you have it, a quick and (hopefully) insightful primer on  bitcoin’s milestones that have inspired parties, fundraising efforts, and a worldwide pizza party that’s been happening on the same date for the past 7 years.