2010 > 2019: Decade of Disruption – The first decade of cryptocurrency

THE cryptocurrency space has had an eventful journey over the first decade of its existence as what was initially perceived as a shady tool used for illegal purposes is now being considered by governments as a possible viable alternative to regular currencies.

The crypto craze began with the creation of Bitcoin (BTC) in 2009 by a party under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, and was listed on the now-defunct BitcoinMarket.com, the world’s first BTC exchange on March 17, 2010.

The current value of BTC is a far cry from its peak of close to US$20,000 per coin in mid-2017, but the cryptocurrency could be considered one of the best-performing assets over the past decade, given that it is worth US$7,580 at the time of writing, versus its initial value of 0.0025 US cents per coin when it was first listed.

While cryptocurrencies remain volatile, the past year has seen relatively more stable prices as more institutional investors make their entry.

 

The US$71 million pizza order

During the early days of BTC, the cryptocurrency was mostly held by programmers and developers, with many holders giving away BTC for free or much less than what they are worth now.

The first online purchase using BTC was done in 2010 — a 10,000 BTC pizza purchase by Laszlo Hanyecz on May 22, 2010, from Papa John’s pizza, translating into US$25 at the time.

Two years after the birth of BTC, the infamous deep web marketplace known as Silk Road commenced operations in 2011, driving a significant portion of the cryptocurrency in circulation onto the black market website.

The online marketplace, which was accessible only through special web browsers, provided an e-commerce platform for drug dealers to display their products, allowing an avenue to purchase illegal drugs using cryptocurrency. Other online markets soon surfaced, offering various other illegal products and services ranging from firearms to stolen credit card information.

Several of these websites have been shut down by the US…

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