Bitcoin is an innovative online payment system based on a peer-to-peer network and a form
decentralized authorization of value transactions. The system was introduced on October 31st
2008 by an anonymous developer known under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto through the
publication of the “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” white paper and publication
in open-source format of the application client source code.
Bitcoin proposes a transaction mechanism that does not require any central form of
control to which individual users delegate their trust. The validation of each single
transaction is carried out through a decentralized consensus process known as mining and is
permanently and immutably registered in the global public blockchain ledger. Every
single network node contributes to the functioning of the system according to the structural logic of the
The system guarantees the anonymity of users. No registration mechanism is foreseen e
no personal data are required. The data necessary for the attribution of currency properties are one
private-public key pair and a bitcoin address. Moreover, Bitcoin has no boundaries. Any
user, anywhere in the world, has an internet connection can access and exchange
value with other users on the network.
On 03 January 2009 the same Nakamoto records on the blockchain the first bitcoin transaction
creating the first block of the chain (genesis block). In February 2010 the first one was created
exchange bitcoin (which allows to exchange bitcoin currency with US dollars). The price of
exchange stood at 30 cents. In the same year Satoshi Nakamoto
abandons the bitcoin development project by announcing, through a private e-mail sent to a
collaborator, to want to devote himself to other projects. In February 2011 Ross Ulbricht creates the deep web
Silk Road market, an online market for the exchange of goods and services recognized as illicit by the
most of the world’s jurisdictions and based on the services of anonymous browsing software
Tor. Ulbricht chose to use bitcoin’s cryptocurrency as the main currency for its market
since it guaranteed the possibility of transferring value keeping anonymous the identity of the users
who used it. The use of bitcoins in Silk Road raises the market price of the currency
which at the end of 2011 reaches the quota of about 6 US dollars.
The growing popularity of bitcoin attracts the attention of the US authorities which, after a
initial skepticism, they decide to introduce legal regulation systems for the currency.
Many companies, mainly operating on the web, decide to introduce bitcoins as a system
payment. In 2013, the market valuation of the currency exceeds $ 1,000.
2014 is the darkest year in bitcoin history. The main central banks of the world (including
the People’s Bank of China) issue a warning with which they advise against investing capital in
bitcoin. The warning has a disastrous effect on bitcoins since about 80% of the transactions in the
the Chinese market coincided. On November 6, Silk Road is permanently closed
from the FBI and Ulbricht is arrested. In the same year the Mt.Gox exchange (the main exchange for
the Asian market) declares fraudulent bankruptcy and announces the loss of approximately 850,000
bitcoin currency units (which at the time amounted to about $ 450 million) following a
hacker attack. This series of unfavorable circumstances caused the fall in the price of bitcoins that a
the end of 2014 came to just over $ 300. It seems the beginning of the decline for the system, but bitcoin itself
proves extremely resilient. US and European investors, attracted by the huge
possibility of profit, they start to invest in the currency and make the market price rise. The
2017 is the year of grace for bitcoin which reaches its all-time high over quota
19 thousand dollars (December 2017). At the time of writing the market evaluation
it stands at about 8100 US dollars (with about 17 million units of currency issued) and bitcoins
has reached a market capitalization of about 140 billion dollars.
Credits: Andrea Mineo