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Here’s a detailed look at the rise, fall, and resurgence of the unregulated digital currency.
Bitcoin continues to grow at a ridiculous rate. The unregulated digital currency has moved from $0.14 in the year of its birth to over $100 today, due in part to recent convulsions in the banking sector in Cyprus and other factors.
In a matter of months, bitcoins have gone mainstream. Banks have been announced to facilitate the movement of the currency, online businesses have agreed to accept it for payments, ATM plans have emerged, and it’s become a talking point for international media.
Here’s a look at the rise, fall, and resurgence of the revolutionary currency.
Pseudonymous programmer, or group of programmers, Satoshi Nakamoto publishes the details of Bitcoin and solves the double-spending issue to keep currency uncopyable. (PDF)
Bitcoin system launches, replete with new currency generation system that will result in 21 million bitcoins over the years, to end in 2040.
First Bitcoin transaction said to take place when a Florida man, Laszlo Hanyecz, sends 10,000 bitcoins to a volunteer in the U.K., who calls a Papa John’s pizza and has them deliver a pizza to Hanyecz’s house.
Vulnerability in the system is discovered (improper verification of bitcoins) and exploited, generating 184 billion bitcoins. It’s later discovered and erased, and the system is transferred to an updated version of Bitcoin.
Inter-governmental Financial Action Task Force publishes paper (PDF) warning of the use of digital currency as a financial mechanism by terrorist groups.
WikiLeaks begins accepting donations only in bitcoins, after being dropped by banks and other payment services, like PayPal, the previous year.
The first Bitcoin bubble pops, falling from over $30 to about $10. Then, over the next several months, it declines to under $3.
Owner of Bitomat, the third largest Bitcoin exchange, loses Bitcoin wallet and the 17,000 bitcoins it held for clients.
MyBitcoin hacked, loses its clients 78,000 bitcoins, 51 percent of its their deposits.
Bitcoins accepted for drugs on illicit marketplace Silk Road
Major Bitcoin exchange, TradeHill, shuts its doors.
TradeHill sues another virtual currency exchange, Dwolla.
Bitcoinica exchange hacked and over 43,000 bitcoins stolen.
Reddit announces its consideration of the currency, delighting the site’s so-called Bitcoin strippers.
Leaked FBI report uncovers government and law enforcement fears of Bitcoin as a tool to facilitate the sales of drugs and weapons and assist terrorist.
Adam Draper launches BoostVC, a Bitcoin startup incubator.
Bitcoin debit card announced.
Bitcoin Savings and Trust shuts down, leaving $5.6 million in debt outstanding; SEC investigates it as a Ponzi scheme.
Lawsuit filed against Bitcoinica.
Bitfloor exchange hacked of 24,000 bitcoins, closes down temporarily then restarts with promise to pay clients back a loss of about $250,000.
Blog service WordPress accepts payment in bitcoins.
First Bitcoin bank opens, Bitcoin exchange Bitcoin-Central partners with French bank Credit Mutuel to operate as a bank.
You can now buy pizza from various companies, including Pizza Hut and Dominos.
Bitcoin revitalizes online gambling.
Kim Dotcom’s Mega file-locker service accepts the currency.
The Internet Archive allows for Bitcoin donations.
Broker service BitInstant social hacked out of $12,000.
Two different versions of the Bitcoin software clash, causing a glitch in Bitcoin price.
U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network announces regulatory position on virtual currencies, emboldens investors.
New spike in Bitcoin value occasions fear of new bubble.
Bitcoin market estimated at $400 million.
Venture capital investment in Bitcoin startups reaches $3 million.
Canadian puts his house on the market for bitcoins.
Another company plans Bitcoin ATM, to debut in Cyprus.
Original illustration by Robert Day, remix by Jason Reed
Curt Hopkins has over two decades of experience as a journalist, editorial strategist, and social media manager. His work has been published by Ars Technica, Reuters, Los Angeles Times, and San Francisco Chronicle. He is the also founding director of the Committee to Protect Bloggers, the first organization devoted to global free speech rights for bloggers