The 10 Year Anniversary of Bitcoin


The global economy lurched into an unprecedented recession after the 2008 U.S. financial crisis.[1] Years later, the economic failure was billed as the worse market collapse to ever affect a nation since the Great Depression of 1929.[2]  However, in the midst of this chaos, on October 31, 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto authored and published a ‘white paper’ on the cryptocurrency[3] mailing list[4]  The white paper announced a theory outlining the creation of the first sustainable [5] cryptocurrency, “[a]purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash”—Bitcoin.[6]  In it, Nakamoto provided an inside look of how Bitcoin’s internal configuration, interspersed with blockchain technology, would work.[7] By doing so, Nakamoto’s invention of Bitcoin sought to facilitate his vision of essentially halting the ubiquitous use of banks by encouraging self-sufficiency.[8]  Hence, amongst a spiraling economy, Bitcoin became a revolutionary idea that fundamentally changed the way business is transacted online.[9]  But can Bitcoin survive through the next decade despite the damaging controversies it now faces?


Bitcoin’s Power

The conceptual nuts and bolts of Bitcoin owes its current popularity and achievements to its use of a ‘public distributed ledger’— aka blockchain.[10]  Blockchain is comprised of a series of digital blocks that stores identifying and transactional information, such as a person’s online Amazon purchase, where each block is tagged with a unique code called “cryptographic hash”.[11] Generally speaking, these codes are generated through a “mining”[12] process that verifies an online transaction.[13]  It does so when Bitcoin ‘miners’ use computer software to solve mathematical problems, which after completion, then links the individual blocks in a chain using cryptography.[14] This procedure paved the way for security benefits that even banks cannot provide.[15] For example, blockchain can protect against digital identity theft by preventing hackers from stealing personal and financial information online.[16]  The process of ‘mining’ can also prevent “double-spending,”[17] which is the online equivalent of using counterfeit money.[18] In important respects, these solutions to digital security made Bitcoin’s invention possible.[19]

Considering these pioneering advancements, Bitcoin is viewed not only as an anti-establishment digital entity, but also one that removes the need for government regulation.[20] After all, Bitcoin was engineered to be a ‘decentralized’ platform.[[21]]  In light of these innovations, it is not surprising that following Bitcoin’s first ‘recorded real-world transaction’ on May 22, 2010 [22], it matured into a mainstream household name.[23]  Even Overstock, the very first major retailer to accept Bitcoin, and other U.S. companies such as Starbucks, have joined in on the craze.[24]  Nevertheless, despite Bitcoin’s peak in late 2013, when its currency was valued at $1,200 per coin [25], some consumers lost interest [26] as momentum waned in 2014 and the price of a Bitcoin suffered a crushing 80% loss in value.[27]  What followed was Bitcoin’s disappointing value, which stayed below $650 per coin through 2016, which consequently alarmed investors.[28]


What happened?

The panicked climate surrounding Bitcoin is shared by proponents and critics alike in the market industry for several reasons.[29] As an initial matter, both sides point to the white paper’s author, Satoshi Nakamoto, which is a pseudonym.[30]  This anonymity is worrisome for many who do not know whether the name represents one or more people and whether the anonymity was a ploy to avoid criminal authorities.[31] Ironically, blockchain security is considered the premier feature of Bitcoin.[32]  However, in February 2014, the public perception of Bitcoin being a trusted and safe platform nosedived when news of the collapse of a Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange, Mt. Gox, surfaced.[33] Mt. Gox was the target of a cyber-attack, where upwards of 800,000 bitcoins worth more than $400 million was stolen in an astonishing heist, thus causing it to shut down and declare bankruptcy.[34]  In fact, during the scandal surrounding Mt. Gox, the reputation of Bitcoin was still recovering from the failure of another online marketplace.[35] That is, in October of 2013, the black-market website, Silk Road, headed by Ross Ulbricht, was taken down for selling various kinds of illicit goods and activities where Bitcoin was the dominant form of payment.[36] What’s more, at this point in Bitcoin’s existence, it still had not received the backing of the U.S. government.[37]  In particular, the Securities and Exchange Commission had repeatedly rejected [38] Bitcoin’s proposals of being an authorized exchange-traded fund.[39]  Yet, despite the public frustration surrounding Bitcoin, its impressive resistance to an onslaught of market attacks still baffle critics who thought Bitcoin would have long been wiped out.[40]


Bitcoin’s Future

The cryptocurrency community has surely seen its fair share of highs and lows.[41] Though, in contrast to other cryptocurrencies, such as Ethereum and Litecoin, Bitcoin is still the largest and most popularly accepted cryptocurrency.[42] Indeed, as compared to Bitcoin’s first practical transaction in May 2010, where 10,000 bitcoins were valued at $25.00, 10,000 bitcoins in May 2018 is worth approximately $82 million (or $8,200 per coin).[43]  Additionally, Bitcoin experienced a remarkable rebound early in 2017 [44], where its value again cracked $1,200 per coin [45] and surged on to a staggering $20,000 that same year in December.[46]  Viewed as a whole, this evidence is proof that Bitcoin has proven resilient in weathering the turbulent and volatile market forces as other cryptocurrencies have fizzled out.[47] On the other hand, critics point to Bitcoin’s unstable and fluctuating value from its recent bull market crash in 2018, where Bitcoin’s value was shaved to $6,500 and continued falling.[48]  Certainly, time will be the ultimate arbitrator of Bitcoin’s still young technology and limitless potential.[49] All things considered, Bitcoin is still a formidable force as it’s progressive stance remains at the forefront of the digital age.[50]

[1] Kimberly Amadeo, 2008 Financial Crisis, The Balance (Nov. 7, 2018),

[2] Eric Rauchway, The 2008 Crash: What Happened To All That Money?, History (Sep. 14, 2018),

[3] Martin Tillier, What Is A Cryptocurrency?, Nasdaq News (Jan. 25, 2018),

[4] Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System, Bitcoin (Oct. 31, 2008)

[5] Nathan Reiff, Were There Cryptocurrencies Before Bitcoin?, Investopedia (Apr. 2, 2018),

[6] Nakamoto, supra note 4.

[7] Id.

[8] Tal Yellin, Dominic Aratari & Jose Pagliery, What Is Bitcoin?, CNN (Aug. 8, 2018),

[9] Danny Bradbury, Bitcoin and Financial Crises, The Balance (Dec. 3, 2018),

[10] Rebecca Campbell,It’s Bitcoin’s 10th Birthday. Here’s What People Are Saying, Forbes (Oct. 31, 2018),

[11] Luke Fortney, Blockchain, Explained, Investopedia (Dec. 19, 2018),

[12] Anthony Volastro, CNBC Explains: How To Mine Bitcoins on Your Own, CNBC (Jan. 23, 2014),

[13] Id.

[14] Toshendra Kumar Sharma, How Does Blockchain Use Public Key Cryptography?, Blockchain Counsel (Jan. 27, 2018),

[15] Id.

[16] Id.

[17] Double Spend, Bitcoin, (accessed Jan. 24, 2019).

[18] Id.

[19] Sudhir Khatwani, What Is Double Spending & How Does Bitcoin Handle It?, Coinsutra (Nov. 10, 2018),

[20] Jon Martindale, Go Ahead, Pass Laws. They Can’t Kill Bitcoin, Even If They Try, Digital Trends (Dec. 19, 2017),

[21] Id.

[22] Julie Bort, May 22 Is Bitcoin Pizza Day Thanks To These Two Pizzas Worth $5 Million Today, Bus. Insider (May 21, 2014),

[23] Id.

[24] Ahiza Garcia, Bitcoin Is 10 Years Old, CNN (Nov. 2, 2018),

[25] Michael Hiltzik, The Bitcoin Crash Of 2013: Don’t You Feel Silly Now?, Los Angeles Times (Dec. 7, 2013),

[26] Joe Weisenthal, Bitcoin Has No Intrinsic Value, And Will Never Be A Threat To Fiat Currency, Bus. Insider (Apr. 11, 2013),

[27] James McKay, Can Bitcoin’s Crash Of 2014 Tell Us About Its 2018 Bear Market?, Cryptocurrency Hub (Jun. 5, 2018),

[28] Id.

[29] Annie Nova, Bitcoin Investors Beware: If You Invested $1,000 In 2011, You’d Be A Millionaire. A Few Months Ago? You’re In The Red, CNBC (Nov. 30, 2018),

[30] Sophie Bearman, Bitcoin’s Creator May Be Worth $6 Billion – But People Still Don’t Know Who It Is, CNBC (Oct. 27, 2017),

[31] Alex Lielacher, Why Has Satoshi Nakamoto Remained Anonymous?,Brave Newcoin (Apr. 15, 2018),

[32] Curtis Miles, Blockchain Security: What Keeps Your Transaction Data Safe?, IBM (Dec. 12, 2017),

[33] Aaron Hankin, Bitcoin Is 10 Years Old: Here’s What To Expect In The Cryptocurrency’s Second Decade, Market Watch (Oct. 31, 2018),

[34] Jose Pagliery, Mt. Gox Site Disappears, Bitcoin Future In Doubt, CNN (Feb. 25, 2014),;see also

[35] Kate Rooney, Bitcoin Turns 10 – How It Went From An Abstract Idea To A $100 Billion Market In A Decade, CNBC (Nov. 3, 2018),

[36] Jeff Francis, US Government Nets $48 Million From Sale Of Silk Road Bitcoins, Bitcoinist (Oct. 2, 2017),;see alsoDonna Leinwand Leger, How FBI Brough Down Cyber-underworld Site Silk Road, USA Today (May 15, 2014),

[37] Tobor Fischer, Happy 10th Birthday, Bitcoin. It’s Amazing You Still Exist, The Guardian (Jan. 3, 2019),

[38] Order Disapproving a Proposed Rule Change, Exchange Act Release No. 34-83913 (Aug. 22, 2019),

[39] Paul R. La Monica, Bitcoin is 10 Years Old. But It Won’t Go Mainstream Until It’s Regulated, CNN (Jan. 14, 2019),

[40] Billy Bambrough, Bitcoin Is ‘Here To Stay’ Says Wall Street Boss Amid Crypto Rout, Forbes (Nov. 29, 2018,

[41] Id.

[42] Panos Mourdoukoutas, Bitcoin, Ethereum And Litcoin Are The Most Popular Crypocurrency Investments Among Millennials, Forbes (Mar. 25, 2018),

[43] Camila Russo, This Bitcoin Pizza Day, Remember Not To Spend Bitcoins On Pizza, Bloomberg (May 22, 2018),

[44] Industry insiders attribute this rise to Bitcoin Cash. SeeSelena Larson, Bitcoin Split In Two, Here’s What That Means, CNN (Aug. 1, 2017),

[45] Joseph Young, Bitcoin Price Breaks $1228 All-Time High Again With ETF Nearing, Cointelegraph (Mar. 2, 2017),

[46] Michael Kaplan, Bitcoin Crash: This Man Lost His Savings When Cryptocurrencies Plunged, CNN (Sep. 11, 2018),

[47] Osata Avan-Nomayo, More Than 1,000 Cryptocurrency Projects Have Failed In 2018, Ethereum World News (June 20, 2018),

[48] Alyssa Newcomb, Despite Price Crash, Bitcoin Believers Still Says The Best Is Yet To Come, NBC (Aug. 17, 2018),

[49] Id.

[50] Oliver Dale, Why Bitcoin Is Still The Wave of The Future, Blockonomi (Apr. 4, 2018),


About Author

Comments are closed.

Fordham Journal of Corporate & Financial Law