We’re back with the final article in our Bitcoin History series, where we will cover events that happened between years 2014 and 2016. We’ve focused on events that had significant outcomes or direct effect over Bitcoin. I can only say that I’m very s to have been writing this series, as I have learned a lot about Bitcoin and how it came to be what it is today.
Sources can be accessed either through a link on the bottom of every story or by clicking the picture. Every story that has a picture will have the source hyperlinked to the image.
January 9th, Overstock.com starts to accept Bitcoin
The first major online retailer to accept Bitcoin, providing inspiration to others to start allowing this payment option. Patrick Byrne, the CEO of this company has been speaking for Bitcoin adoption in the six months before this date.
This was done by a partnership with Coinbase to handle the payments through their service, as well as preparing their website www.Overstock.com to efficiently process Bitcoin purchases. Overstock is still accepting Bitcoin payments.
January 14th, Taobao.com bans Bitcoin payments
The Chinese trading market Taobao.com stepped down from Bitcoin implementation in an effort to protect the interests of their members. This change happened due to regulatory changes in Chinese laws. They informed the public through a press release and the Bitcoin price suffered a plunge due to this change.
January 26th, Charlie Shrem, CEO of Bitinstant is arrested
Under the accusation of money laundering, willful failure to report suspicious activity and operation of unlicensed money processing business, BitInstant CEO Charlie Shrem was arrested in New York. Held accountable in court for scheming to sell over $1 million USD worth of Bitcoin to Silk Road users, where an immense amount of illegal goods were being sold and regularly bought at the time.
He conspired with an associate, Robert M. Faiella (also arrested) to knowingly exchange dollars into Bitcoin to be used for facilitating of illegal trade.
February 28th, MtGox is bankrupt!
Japanese media initially reported this story, as MtGox CEO Mark Karpeles, files for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo. The total debt this company reported at the time was valued at $64 million USD. After discovering the trading platform is under attack by hackers earlier the same month, MtGox with a controversial move restricted investors from withdrawing their funds from the platform.
What prompted this move was the fact that the company discovered that 1.75 million Bitcoin had been stolen from them and their clients.
April 17th, Bitcoin-related accounts shut down by Chinese banks
OKCoin and Huobi Bitcoin exchange platforms both reported that they’d had their bank accounts completely shut down, even though China hasn’t banned Bitcoin usage. Regardless Chinese exchanges suffered the closure of their operational tools. Legally, the restrictions towards Bitcoin exchanges defined only the way the owners themselves funded their business, and there was no official statement proclaiming restriction towards Bitcoin-related accounts used for both personal and business purposes.
No money was lost, but rather the companies received instruction to transfer the funds to another account before the closing process begins, or risk losing the money as their accounts are getting frozen regardless of what they do.
Not everyone had their accounts frozen, as Bobby Lee, BTC China’s CEO, informed at the time that all of his accounts remain operational, without any notice from banking partners.
June 3rd, Music for Bitcoin, 50 Cent sells his latest album
Through a collaboration with BitPay, the rap artist 50 Cent allowed the purchase of his latest album at the time “Animal Ambitions” to be processed using Bitcoin. Serving as inspiration for others, implementation of Bitcoin by high-profile celebrities such as 50 Cent has significantly impacted the acceptance and understanding of cryptocurrencies.
July 18th Fintech meets retail, Dell starts to accept Bitcoin payments
Becoming the highest valued retailer is difficult in some markets, but not when it means Bitcoin implementation. Seemingly overnight, the computer giant Dell became the largest business (with a revenue of $57 billion USD) to accept Bitcoin payments. The whole process took about two weeks of preparation, but from this date onwards anybody can buy from Dell using Bitcoins.
October 6th, Blockchain.info raises $30.5 million USD in Silicon Valley
Through a partnership with Lightspeed Venture Partners and Wicklow Capital, Blockchain, the widely known online Bitcoin wallet service has finished the first round of external funding. The fundraiser totaled an astonishing amount, making it the biggest in the history of Bitcoin.
This investment is a huge benefit for everybody in the Bitcoin community, not only because it positively affected the price of Bitcoin at the time, but also because it proved that investors in Silicon Valley were excited to participate in this technology. This provided substantial motivation for others to start taking Bitcoin seriously and it brings it closer to widespread mainstream usage.
November 6th, Silk Road v2.0 owner Blake Benthall is arrested.
Through a joint operation between the FBI and Europol, aimed at tracking and shutting down illegal DarkWeb marketplaces. This event was unofficially tied to the arrest of a major online drug dealer in Ireland, with additional claims that the whole marketplace was a “honeypot” or a trap, with the intent of catching the criminals red-handed. Blake Benthall practiced minimal protective actions with his marketplace, which led to an outcome where law enforcement had direct evidence that he was the main operator behind Silk Road v2.0.
December 11th, Xbox games available for purchase with Bitcoin
The third major company to enable Bitcoin payments in this year, Microsoft joined the party by allowing users to use Bitcoin in order to buy digital content across all of its online platforms.
Besides Xbox games, users are able to buy apps and videos through both Windows Phone and Xbox Store platforms. This was allowed through a collaboration with BitPay, which is taking care of payment processing.
January 6th, Bitstamp confesses the loss of 18.866 BTC
Nejc Kodrič, CEO of Bitstamp, confesses in a public statement that less than 19.000 BTC have been stolen from their hot wallets, which were compromised. The address to which the money was sent to has been tracked down and it clearly showed that 18.866 BTC were located on it. This portion represented 12% of the total Bitcoin in possession by this exchange.
Bitstamp recuperated successfully from the damage of this theft.
January 20th, Coinbase breaks fundraising record with $75 million USD
New York Stock Exchange, USAA Financial Services, Spanish Megabank BBVA and Japanese telecom DoCoMo have invested for the first time into Bitcoin.
The funding round was led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson Growth Fund, claiming the number one spot for Bitcoin-related investments ever.
March 11th, Ex-JPMorgan Chase executive leaves banking for Bitcoin
Blythe “Casey” Masters used to be the leader of the commodities department at JPMorgan, but she decided to leave her position at the bank in order to start her own company. She partners up with a Bitcoin start-up “Digital Asset Holdings” and she is the CEO of this company today. The goal is to improve the transaction process and make it safer, cheaper and more reliable than what we have today.
March 25th, Bitwage releases an international payroll debit card
From this date onwards, using the Bitwage system allowed the withdrawal and spending of USD, Euros and GBP directly from the blockchain. This was made possible through a partnership with Xapo. Even now Bitwage operates with efficiency and is trusted by many employers looking to overcome the limits of traditional banking systems.
April 22nd, BitcoinCore Developers partner with MIT
In an effort to assume a grander position in the development of Bitcoin, MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative announced that BitcoinCore developers Gavin Andersen, Cory Fields and Wladimir Van Der Laan have started full-time operations within the initiative. The developers financial support from the Bitcoin Foundation was dwindling as the group has been experiencing financial trouble in the period. MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative came to the rescue and offered to provide the developers with a stable and supportive environment.
May 29th, Ross Ulbricht sentenced to Life Imprisonment
The former main operator of the illegal marketplace “Silk Road” Ross Ulbrich was convicted for life on this date. He was on trial in New York going through a lengthy legal process which took about a year and a half.
In addition to the life sentence, Ulbricht is also fined with $200 million USD, which have been tied to the profits of the marketplace during its time of operations.
April 9th, Presidential Candidate Rand Paul accepts Bitcoin donations
For the first time in the history of political fund-raisers, a presidential candidate publicly stated that he accepts Bitcoin as a donation. It was negatively portrayed by some of the media outlets, but this was due to lack of understanding of the transparency that Bitcoin.
August 1st, Ex-CEO of MtGox is arrested in Japan.
Mark Karpeles, was detained by Japanese police because of suspected connection to the loss of MtGox’s Bitcoin. He was facing fraud and embezzlement charges by the police. What was first credited to a bug in the system, turned out to be a manual change in the internal exchange system in order to falsify data.
Mr. Karpeles denied the accusations, but he was imprisoned anyways. The journey of this man in the Japanese Penal System involved two arrests and two releases, with the latest release dating to July 14th, 2016.
September 9th, $30 Million USD raised for Blockchain Startup “Chain”
Financial service companies such as Capital One, Visa and Fiserv, as well as French telecom Orange, have heavily invested into a Blockchain Startup named “Chain”. The CEO of the startup, Adam Ludwin expressed his vision of incorporating blockchain technology to improve processes relating to the transfer of assets between parties. It’s safe to say that this funding round was a successful one.
December 9th, Craig Wright identified as Satoshi Nakamoto
The 44-year-old Australian citizen, Craig S. Wright, has been identified as Satoshi Nakamoto. The reason for the supposed identification was WIRED, with their publication of emails, transcripts, and documents that point in Craig’s direction. According to them, the source is anonymous and someone who is close to Mr. Craig.
Although left to speculation, Mr. Craig has been avoiding public confrontation on this topic which further fuels the speculation that he is Satoshi Nakamoto. The truth is uncertain.
January 19th, Kraken takes the US and Canadian Markets
Through a purchase of competing companies, Coinsetter and Carvirtex, the San Francisco-based exchange company Kraken has staked its claim in the US and Canadian Markets.
This is a bold move that moves Kraken in a position where they can potentially serve global crypto-currency related needs.
May 26th, Major update to MtGox Investigation
From a surprising source, The Kraken exchange company announced that it will provide a significant update to the investigation related to MtGox. They revealed details pertaining to the case, but most importantly they announced that creditors can finally see the status of their claims to withdraw the funds back from MtGox, by visiting a special website created for this purpose.
June 28th, Kraken buys out Bitcoin Exchange “CleverCoin”
Kraken is on the road to global domination, or at least that’s what their actions suggest. With a complete buyout over Dutch Exchange CleverCoin, Kraken’s position in Europe is strengthened further. With the acquisition of CleverCoin, Kraken gained access to the assets and client data-base.
It’s certain that Kraken is becoming a major player in the Bitcoin economy and potentially will be the first company to be able to serve Bitcoin users globally.
July 14th, Mark Karpeles released with bail
Ex-CEO of MtGox Mark Karpeles, was released from a Japanese prison after ten months of penal detainment, on the charge of embezzlement.
The bail was valued at about $100 thousand USD, and after it was paid Karpeles was promptly released from custody. The freedom he enjoys now confines him to the borders of Japan since he isn’t allowed to leave the country as long as the investigation is still open.
July 20th, U.S. releases BitInstant CEO Charlie Shrem from prison
Two and a half years after he was arrested for money laundering, willfully withholding suspicious activity and running an illegitimate financial service, Charlie Shrem was released from the high-security prison.
Charlie published a blog post soon after he was released expressing his gratitude towards everybody that had supported him in during his prison term with letters, magazines, and books that made his stay in prison at least a little bit comfortable.
July 27th, Coinbase expands to Australia
Coinbase revealed in an announcement that Australian Market entry has been confirmed, allowing citizens to purchase Bitcoin or Ethereum through debit cards. They further revealed their plans to enable the sale of Bitcoin and Ethereum for Australians.
October 14th, Hackers gain access to Blockchain.info accounts
Blockchain.info experienced downtime of about seven hours as they faced a so-called “Sophistical attack” on their DNS servers. The effort was made in order to lay down a phishing trap in order to capture credentials of wallet users. As soon as the team at Blockchain.info recognized that something was wrong, they shut down the whole platform.
October 16th, Darkweb marketplace “Oasis” shuts down
Reported as an exit scam, Oasis stops its operations leaving the users in fear of losing their funds. Sources claim that they’ve made off with about 150 BTC (which is minimal compared to other thefts in Bitcoin History) and an unidentifiable amount of Monero. One thing is certain is that this will negatively affect Monero, just as it was slowly being accepted by these communities.
One thing is certain is that this will negatively affect Monero, just as it was slowly being accepted by these communities.
One thing is certain is that this will negatively affect Monero, just as it was slowly being accepted by these communities.
November 9th, Donald Trump, Bitcoin boosted by victory
Following the U.S. Presidential Elections and Donald Trump’s victory Bitcoin is enjoying increasingly rapid growth. This isn’t necessarily connected to the results of the elections since Bitcoin has been rising steadily in value for the entirety of the past year.
Nonetheless, Trump’s victory came as a surprise to many and will impact world markets, maybe even causing turmoil. Many believe that if this happens, Bitcoin will essentially thrive.
November 15th, India restricts Rupee, demand for Bitcoin is boosted
India declared that their 500 and 1000 Rupee banknotes are no longer considered national currency. They are to be completely removed from circulation.
Inadvertently this caused Bitcoin demand in the country to rise sharply, causing the price of Bitcoin against Rupee to rise to the value of $810, strongly overcoming the price of Bitcoin against USD.
The future is uncertain.
This much I know for certain. Unexpected events occur on a regular basis, and we almost never truly know the impact an event has until a substantial amount of time has passed. There are two very different legacies that we can leave behind for the people in the future. Will they look back on this day and age and cherish the moments when block-chain technology was implemented to bring about peace in the world or was it used to spy, control and manipulate the destiny of nations? The history is being made today, but not everyone is remembered.