The cryptocurrency bitcoin – a form of electronic cash – became one of the biggest talking points of 2017 when it suddenly gained the tag of being the most rewarding investment opportunity.
It is thought to have been created in 2008 by a man named Satoshi Nakamoto after the bankruptcy of the investment bank Lehman Brothers, which started a chain reaction that led the world into the most serious financial crises since the Great Depression of 1929. But the true identity of Nakamoto is still a mystery.
The world’s first, most renowned decentralised digital currency celebrated its 10th birthday in October, and in the decade since its creation, has grown in value from being worth a few pennies to reaching a record high last year of US$19,783.21.
Since then, the value of bitcoin has greatly depreciated, but it’s still considered by many as the future of currency markets.
To mark its 10th anniversary, here are 10 interesting facts about bitcoin.
1. A few thousand lines of code make up bitcoin
A paper was published on October 31, 2008 by someone using the name Satoshi Nakamoto, who said: “I’ve been working on a new electronic cash system that’s fully peer-to-peer, with no trusted third party ... Participants can be anonymous.”
Then, on the evening of January 3, 2009, Nakamoto launched the software for the new digital currency, giving birth to bitcoin.
The computer coder, then aged 36, claimed he had spent more than a year writing the software, which has 31,000 lines of code.
Just to put that into context, the entire Windows 2000 operating system is made up of 19 million lines of code.
The software basically distributes coins every 10 minutes or so through a process that resembles the lottery system.
2. Bitcoin mining uses lots of power
The process of obtaining bitcoin is called mining, in which the seekers have to play the lottery over and over again.
The more powerful the computer, the better the chances of mining bitcoin.
Collectively, the process of mining bitcoin uses enormous quantities of electricity.
It is estimated that the power consumed by the entire bitcoin network on a monthly basis is higher than that of the Republic of Ireland, and results in the generation of as much carbon dioxide per year as one million transatlantic flights.
3. The world’s most expensive hard drive
What makes bitcoin more valuable is the fact that only 21 million units can be mined in total, and over the years many of them have been lost forever.
In 2013, a British man accidentally threw away a hard drive containing more than 7,500 bitcoin, which had been mined over a period of four years.
The cryptocurrency is currently trading around the US$4,000 mark, making the missing hard drive worth around US$30 million.
4. The ‘fattest’ bitcoin wallet was owned by the FBI
While no one really knows who has the biggest bitcoin wallet in the world, at one time the FBI was one of the largest renowned holders of the cryptocurrency.
In September 2013, the FBI shut down the Silk Road online drug marketplace, seizing more than 144,000 bitcoin belonging to the operator of the illicit online marketplace.
At current market value, FBI’s bitcoin wallet would have been worth more than US$500 million. However, it is believed that the American federal agency sold a large amount of its bitcoin holdings or possibly even all of it.
5. It has been a bumpy ride
Ever since bitcoin has gained popularity, it has faced severe criticism and scepticism from many different quarters.
At least eight Nobel laureates in economic sciences have identified the bitcoin as an economic bubble – trade in an asset at a price or price range that strongly exceeds the asset’s intrinsic value.
Various major media outlets have deemed the cryptocurrency to be a Ponzi scheme – a form of fraud that lures investors and pays profits to earlier investors by using funds obtained from more recent investors.
Renowned newspapers have pronounced bitcoin dead more than 30 times, and the cryptocurrency has even witnessed nine historical crashes, yet it has weathered all the storms and refused to die.
6. The largest bitcoin transaction ever
In 2013, the cryptocurrency world witnessed the single biggest bitcoin transaction in which a total of 194,993 bitcoin changed hands.
The transaction represented 1.6 per cent of all the bitcoin that were in circulation at that time, amounting to a total of US$147 million according to the value on that day
No one had any information on the identity of the mystery seller; some speculated that it could be Nakamoto himself.
7. Bitcoin leaves for outer space
A major bitcoin cloud mining company called Genesis Mining pulled off a unique stunt in 2016 to spread awareness about the cryptocurrency and to tell the world its benefits as the standard bearer for digital currencies.
The company became the first to send bitcoin into space.
A weather balloon was sent 20km (12.5 miles) into the atmosphere to reach close to space, after which a team at Genesis Mining conducted a peer-to-peer transaction to send one bitcoin to the wallet in space.
8. Bitcoin inspires countless clones
While bitcoin is the world’s first and still the most widely used decentralised ledger currency, thousands of bitcoin clones have come into existence, which include the likes of litecoin and ethereum.
It is estimated that more than 1,600 bitcoin clones have been made over the last 10 years.
While many of them have managed to gain popularity in the cryptocurrency world, most of them either have no value or have gone inactive.
In 2013, a bitcoin clone by the name of Dogecoin was created as a joke, which has a Shiba Inu dog in its logo.
9. Winklevoss twins – the bitcoin billionaires
The American Winklevoss twins, Tyler and Cameron, 37, who are best known for suing Mark Zuckerberg in 2008 after claiming he stole the idea of Facebook from them, became the world’s first-known bitcoin billionaires in 2017 when the price of cryptocurrency was touching new highs every day.
The twins invested US$11 million in bitcoin from the US$65 million they are believed to have received in the out-of-court Facebook lawsuit settlement.
They are considered to be among the most dominant figures in the world of cryptocurrencies.
The brothers have been trying to list their cryptocurrency exchange-traded fund on the stock exchange.
10. Identity of bitcoin creator still a mystery
Nakamoto, who claimed to be a 36-year-old computer coder of Japanese descent, created the bitcoin software in 2008, then made it open-source in January 2009, before going missing in 2010.
Some estimates suggest Nakamoto still owns more than 1 million bitcoin, taking his net worth to more than US$4 billion, according to the current price of bitcoin.
However, some people believe the name Satoshi Nakamoto is a pseudonym and bitcoin was developed by a group of people of non-Japanese descent, living in the US and various European countries.
This article originally appeared on Luxurylaunches .