The ‘world’s most expensive pizza’ and 10 other stories about Bitcoin and Ethereum’s incredible rise and fall

With Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies currently in the doldrums, it can be easy to forget just how quickly they gained their value.

RMB Foundery, the sector of RMB currently focused on cryptocurrencies and other fintech, recently published a list outlining just how quickly Bitcoin gained prominence, as well as some of the most unbelievable stories surrounding the cryptocurrency on its way to the top.

“In its relatively short life span of nine years, Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies have taken on many shapes and values and continue to disrupt our lives. Change seems to be the only constant in the cryptocurrency journey.” RMB Foundery said.

Below are some of the biggest changes, moments and stories since the cryptocurrency’s inception nine years ago.


Most expensive pizzas

On the 22nd of May 2010, Hungarian programmer Laszlo Hanyecz made the first purchase with Bitcoin.

He bought two Papa John’s pizzas and paid exactly 10,000 BTC for them (worth more than $73 million today).

The first Bitcoin transaction took place on 21 January 2009 when it was worth nothing. Satoshi Nakamoto (the anonymous creator of Bitcoin) sent another software developer, Hal Finney a 100 BTC which is now worth over $730,000.


An unexpected Bitcoin hoarder

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is known to be in possession of one of the biggest Bitcoin wallets.

 The approximate worth of their Bitcoin wallet is estimated at over $2-billion. As of October 2017, the FBI owned 1.5% of all the world’s Bitcoin, Forbes reported.


21 Million in year 2140 A.D.

There is no infinite supply of Bitcoin and the final figure is already known – 21 million units. After 2140, when the last Bitcoin is supposed to be mined, no new ones will be available.


Lost and Found

A journalist from Bloomberg was given a Bitcoin on live TV in December 2013. It was promptly stolen by a viewer because the presenter was stupid enough to show his private key as a QR code for the entire world to see

$4.7-million was the value stored on James Howell’s hard drive when he accidentally threw it away, sending it to a Welsh landfill in 2013.


Ups and Downs

  • One year after the launch of the project, 1 BTC could be bought for 4 cents
  • For the first five years, Bitcoin, grew from $0 to $1,000. In the next four years, the price of Bitcoin grew ten times to US$10,000 (after retracing back from almost US$20,000)
  • The biggest drop in the Bitcoin exchange rate (by 80% in 24 hours) occurred in April 2013
  • Then in November 2013, 1 Bitcoin was more valuable than an ounce of gold

The ICO

Over the past couple of years, especially with the new blockchain ecosystem called Ethereum, there has been an explosion in the number of cryptocurrencies circulating in the world today.

While people often talk about Ethereum in the context of Bitcoin, it is not a cryptocurrency, but a platform.

Ether, on the other hand, is the unit of exchange that drives Ethereum, and hence can be more accurately described as a cryptocurrency.

There are over 1,000 cryptocurrencies in the world right now – many of which are issued on the Ethereum platform.

Most of these currencies were launched through a process called “Initial Coin Offering” (ICO). This is a process where any investor anywhere in the world can deposit Ether or Bitcoin in return for a number of these new tokens.

ICOs have had their share of fun too.

One of the earliest uses of ICOs for a cryptocurrency project was Mastercoin.

Mastercoin is a meta-protocol on top of the Bitcoin blockchain that provides additional features that the base Bitcoin layer doesn’t. The project was crowdfunded on Bitcointalk forums in 2013.

The project raised more than 5,000 Bitcoins, which was about $500,000 back then.


ICO that was the most profitable for investors

The ICO of the NXT project was held on the Bitcointalk forums in 2013. The startup managed to raise 21 Bitcoin (it was around $6,000 back then).

The project was quite successful for investors, reaching a peak ‘market capitalisation’ of over $100-million.


The most “tragic” ICO

DAO was supposed to be the first decentralised venture fund. Ether was used for transactions and many crypto community members believed in the project’s success.

The project had its ICO in 2016 and raised $150-million. However, a bug in the smart contract underlying the DAO was exploited to drain $60 million.

It was a blow not only for the fund, its founders and investors but for the whole community.

A so-called hard fork was used to freeze all DAO tokens and sent them to a new smart contract address. By using this new address, the token holders were able to get their share.


The most rapid ICO

Brave – the world’s first blockchain browser – encourages views of online advertising with Basic Attention Token (BAT), created on the Ethereum blockchain.

Brave’s ICO broke all records by raising $35-million in just 30 seconds. The developers attracted $73-million in total.


The largest ICO

The crowd sale of EOS currently holds the crypto industry record having collected 651 902 Ether ($170-million) in the first five days of the campaign.

EOS is a smart contract platform. It is used for the simultaneous execution of many tasks and it uses a token that has the same name.

EOS started the first ICO stage on 26 June 2017 and ended on 1 July same year. Close to 200 million EOS tokens were distributed (20% of the total issuance).

The ICO will end on 1 June 2018.


Read: How Bitcoin and other digital currencies could be taxed in South Africa

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The ‘world’s most expensive pizza’ and 10 other stories about Bitcoin and Ethereum’s incredible rise and fall