Since the beginning of time, innovation has been synonymous with success and prosperity, leaving its footprint behind as it has helped empires rise and others disappear forever. If an innovation meets a need or demand in the marketplace, it will be highly successful. Some of the greatest ideas, or innovations, in our recent times have been the internet, radio, electricity, automobile transportation and telephone. These have made people’s lives easier, fulfilled needs in the marketplace and have made early investors very wealthy. A similar technology has graced our generation with its presence. It was foretold to come before it even arrived, and though many have doubted its survival, it is now a dominating force in the world marketplace. Ten years ago, no one knew its name, but today, everyone knows what I’m talking about: Bitcoin. In this article, I’m going to list 20 interesting facts about Bitcoin that the average cryptocurrency enthusiast may not know:
1) Bitcoin was not the first digital currency to be created. In 1989, Digicash was created by David Chaum. However, due to its lack of technology and its centralized control, it was never accepted by the masses. Hashcash, Bit Gold and Wei Dai’s B-Money were also forerunners to the creation of Bitcoin but as we know today, Bitcoin became the first successful digital currency in existence.
2) The very first recorded Bitcoin transaction was in the amount of 10,000 bitcoin for two whole pizzas. What occurred on May 22, 2010 may be the most well-known and interesting fact in the history of the coin. A man in Florida ordered two pizzas with a purchase price of 10,000 bitcoin to be delivered to him. At the time the value of those 10,000 tokens was $40 but if you were to make that same transaction today, those two pizzas would cost you around $420 million dollars.
3) There is a limited supply of total bitcoin. There will only ever be 21 million bitcoins to ever exist. Currently, we have a circulating supply of around 19 million. Since new bitcoins are mined and the amount awarded to miners gets cut in half after every 210,000 blocks, research suggests that by 2140 we will hit the full supply of 21 million coins.
4) The creator of Bitcoin chose to be anonymous as he did not want to seek fame or glory. One of the greatest mysteries behind Bitcoin is its origin. The person behind it in the early days went by Satoshi Nakamoto, which appeared to be an alias. However, much of the research points to a man named Hal Finney, whose neighbor happened to be an elderly Japanese guy by the name of…well, you guessed it: Satoshi Nakamoto. Interestingly enough, Hal Finney also seemed to have passed away around the same time that the online presence of Satoshi Nakamoto disappeared. Of course, this is purely speculation but the conspiracy behind it is quite the interesting subject to research and form one’s own opinion on.
5) One man wants to empty a landfill to find his lost bitcoin. James Howells, an engineer from Newport, Wales, said he mistakenly threw away his old hard drive back in 2013 with over 7,500 bitcoin on it. In today’s value that would be around $320 million dollars. He is doing everything in his power to gain authorization from the city for him and his group of friends to access the site in search for this lost treasure.
6) The satoshi is the smallest unit of measurement in Bitcoin. There are precisely 100,000,000 satoshis for every 1 bitcoin in use. Most people don’t realize that you can divide bitcoins into such small amounts. However, just as we have the penny for the U.S. dollar, bitcoin has the satoshi.
7) Approximately 20% of the entire Bitcoin supply is thought to be lost forever. Since bitcoins are stored in digital wallets, if a person loses their wallet (or loses the private key to their wallet) the coins stored in it are lost forever. Computers and laptops being thrown away, misplaced or stolen are thought to have been the reason for the lost supply of bitcoin. It stands to reason that if everyone had known in the past of Bitcoin’s future success, there would hardly be any missing computers with access to this valuable currency.
8) The first Bitcoin ATM machine was installed in a coffee shop in Canada in 2013 and was called Robocoin. Since then, over 50,544 Bitcoin ATMs have now been placed in gas stations, malls and other locations throughout the United States. The first Bitcoin ATM in the U.S. was installed in Albuquerque, New Mexico on February 18, 2014. No catchy name was used for it.
9) Brock Pierce took out the first bitcoin mortgage in 2019. This first mortgage-backed Bitcoin transaction was used to renovate a chapel in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
10) Not many people may be aware of this: Bitcoin with a capital “B” and bitcoin with a lowercase “b” mean different things. When referring to Bitcoin as the whole payment system of the network, a capital “B” is used. On the other hand, when referring to bitcoin as currency, the lower case “b” is used.
11) The first cryptocurrency to go to space was Bitcoin. In 2016 Genesis Mining let a balloon go up with a paper wallet tied to it, letting it rise into space. At approximately 21 miles into the atmosphere, they had completed a successful Bitcoin transaction and made history.
12) All transactions made in the Bitcoin blockchain hide the sender’s as well as the receiver’s information. The only thing seen in the blockchain when a Bitcoin transaction takes place is the wallet address. This means that the identity of the people sending and receiving the money is completely undisclosed.
13) Believe it or not, the Bitcoin network is faster than the world’s greatest supercomputer, eight times faster than the world’s most powerful supercomputers and is more powerful than all of the world’s 500 supercomputers combined!
14) Tesla has made more money from Bitcoin than from car sales. This doesn’t always happen. However, in 2021, Tesla made more money from the digital currency bitcoin than what it made from selling cars. This is because its portfolio contained bitcoin that was sold for $1.5 billion, which had been bought earlier in February, adding $101 million to its net income. No wonder Elon likes his cryptocurrencies!
15) Bitcoin can be used to gamble legally online. Many new websites are allowing Bitcoin to be used in gambling online, with more and more being added to the world wide web by the day.
16) Bitcoin miners may draw more power than you can imagine. They have to solve highly complex mathematical equations with powerful processors. These require huge amounts of energy. For example, the entire Bitcoin network consumes more power than the Republic of Ireland.
17) Over 200,000 people have become millionaires with Bitcoin over the years. These 200,000 people have made a million dollars or more by mining, trading or buying low and selling high over the past decade.
18) Lamborghini was the very first car company to allow purchases to be made in Bitcoin. Perhaps this was done in order to take advantage of all the newly minted Bitcoin millionaires previously mentioned. Moreover, Lamborghini led the way, with BMW, Tesla and several other dealerships following them in accepting Bitcoin payments as well.
19) The largest holder of Bitcoin is…. the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)? This was probably true back in 2013 when the FBI seized 144,000 bitcoins belonging to Ross Ulbriht, founder of Silk Road. It is unclear whether or not these bitcoins are still in their possession but we know that at some point, the FBI had them.
20) A teenage boy turned a $1000 birthday gift into millions of bitcoin. Erik Finman was 12 years old when his grandmother gave him a one thousand-dollar check. Erik decided that instead of buying a new gaming console, he would put the entire thing into Bitcoin. Now–mind you–the year was 2012 and the price of a single bitcoin was only $12. This was probably the smartest decision of Erik’s life as his investment came to be worth over $100,000 just a few years later. Now it is worth over $4 million dollars.
I hope you found some of these facts just as interesting as I have! Because there are so many articles that have been written about Bitcoin, having to write about it myself seemed to be a sisyphean task. However, I tried to include a few unique and interesting historical points which hopefully created a more riveting article, allowing both the layman as well as the blockchain enthusiast a pleasurable read. Since Bitcoin has been around for over a decade, not only does the younger generation know all about Bitcoin, but nearly the entire globe knows about it now as well…both young and old alike. No one knows what the future holds for this digital currency, yet I look forward with anticipated excitement for the saga of Bitcoin to continue. It is one of the most interesting stories in the history of cryptocurrency and literally the father of all blockchain technology.
Newberry, Emma. “7 Facts About Bitcoin That Will Surprise You”. The Ascent, A Motley Fool Service, 25thSeptember 2021, https://www.fool.com/the-ascent/cryptocurrency/articles/7-facts-about-bitcoin-that-will-surprise-you/
Katje, Chris. “13 Fun Facts You May Not Know About Bitcoin On The Cryptocurrency’s 13th Birthday”. Benzinga, Benzinga API, 3 January 2022, https://www.benzinga.com/markets/cryptocurrency/22/01/24866091/13-fun-facts-you-may-not-know-about-bitcoin-on-the-cryptocurrencys-13th-birthday
Ndesanjo. “21 Bitcoin Fun Facts You Should Know”. Fififinance, FiFi. 21 February 2022, https://fififinance.com/bitcoin/bitcoin-fun-facts