Like all complex things, crypto can seem somewhat mysterious from the outside. To many of the uninitiated, cryptocurrency and its financial services can even seem almost cultish, but definitely nerdy. How did something so ‘nerdy’ become so powerful and so mainstream? Bit by bit, that’s how.
The Timeline: From Nerd Cult to the Mainstream
It’s been a short, fast sprint for crypto. In just a little over a decade, the crypto world has taken over finance, redefining how we think about assets. How did it all begin? With Bitcoin, of course.
2009 – Just before the close of the first decade of the millennium, the first bitcoin transaction took place. This involved the transfer of 10 bitcoin from
2009 to 2010
The first bitcoin transactions occur when the pseudonymous individual or group known as Satoshi Nakamoto sent themselves some bitcoin and then sent 10 bitcoin to programmer Hal Finney. Early adopters were quickly onboard. Just a year later, however, a first major hack took place, exposing vulnerabilities in the nascent technology. The momentum continued despite this, and later that year, the first bitcoin user used the cryptocurrency to purchase… some pizzas.
2011 to 2013
In 2011, the first alternative cryptocurrencies to Bitcoin appeared. Bitcoin experienced its first major volatility, defining a tone for the market that would dominate for years to come. By the next year, crypto had begun to creep into the mainstream dialogue. Governments around the world give their first moments of consideration to crypto, with some governments banning it outright while others begin to explore regulation. The ever-trepid Canadians launch the world’s first bitcoin ATM.
2014 to 2016
2014 was a big year in which major crypto exchange, Mt. Gox, was hacked and filed for bankruptcy. The repercussions from that act would continue to impact the ‘rules’ of crypto for years to come.
2015 saw the advent of new currencies Ethereum and Coinbase, continuing crypto’s transition into the mainstream. By 2016, there would be almost 1000 bitcoin ATMs around the world. Major corporations, including Uber, begin accepting bitcoin as payment.
2017 to Today
In 2017, Bitcoin splits again, this time into derivative cryptocurrencies. By this point, major governments are on board, with Japan accepting bitcoin as legal payment and Norway acknowledging bitcoin as an IRL investment asset.
In the years that follow, governments across the world continue to explore healthy and not so healthy ways to regulate the space, while mainstream, centralized financial institutions begin to explore more and more ways to integrate crypto products into their offerings.
The State of the Crypto World Today
Crypto has come a very long way in that short time period. Bitcoin that was once worth cents is now worth tens of thousands. Full-featured exchanges such as the KuCoin exchange offer a range of financial products, from spot trading to long-term futures contracts and games. Those two pizzas purchased so long ago would now be ‘worth’ tens of millions of dollars. Bitcoin and Ethereum alone have a combined market cap of around 1 Trillion dollars. What may have once been considered for the nerds is now a big, big business.
Like many ‘nerd’ cults, crypto may seem that it’s rife with its own language and esoteric rules. As the space evolves, however, more and more investors may well find themselves feeling comfortable in this financial space.