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When we hear the word cryptocurrency, the first thing that comes to our mind is Bitcoin. However, it was not the first-ever digital currency to be introduced.

The history of cryptocurrency traces back to 1983 when an American cryptographer, David Chaum explained the anonymous cryptographic electronic money in a conference paper. The concept emphasized untraceable money without the need for any centralized entities (such as banks).

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If not bitcoin, then what was the first cryptocurrency? In 1995, Chaum worked on his ideas and made the first proto-currency. He named it Digicash. Digicash required a user software to withdraw currency from a bank. It further needed certain encrypted keys before the funds were finally sent to the recipient.

In 1998, Nick Szabo created Bit Gold. A participant using computer power solved different cryptographic puzzles to win a reward. It resulted in something very close to what Bitcoin is today, and hence considered a direct precursor to it.

Szabo was facing a problem with double-spending without any central authority. A decade later, Satoshi Nakamoto, set the history of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies by releasing a paper named “Bitcoin – A peer-to-peer electronic cash system”. In that paper, he worked on the double spending issue without losing the essence of decentralization.

Given below is a brief history of cryptocurrency 1983 to 2022:

The Beginning (2008-2010)

To find out the history and origin of cryptocurrency, we must go back to 2008.

A Bitcoin whitepaper was published on 31st October 2008, by Satoshi Nakamoto. It explained the functionality of the Bitcoin blockchain. The project formally began on 18th August 2008. Needless to say that all the cryptocurrencies would not have been in their current form without blockchain technology.

On 3rd January 2009, the first block of the Bitcoin network was mined. The first block that resulted in 50 bitcoins, is now called Genesis Block. At that time, Bitcoin had no value. Right after 6 months, it became tradeable in 2010. The value was as low as 14 cents in August. In November, it hiked to 36 cents.

Formation of Market (2010-2014)

Slowly, Bitcoin started becoming famous as it rose to $1.06 in February 2011. On June 1st, Gawker wrote a story on how the currency was being used in online drug dealing, its price went up to $27 in about a week. The market value reached $130 million.

In the same year, Litecoin was introduced in the market and quickly became the second-largest cryptocurrency. By 2012, the prices were growing steadily. Afterward, in September, a Bitcoin foundation was made in order to promote Bitcoin’s development. This was followed by the launch of OpenCoin and Ripple.

In 2013, some federal, regulatory, and criminal issues rose related to the bitcoin’s price. This was a long-term price crash that dropped Bitcoin back to $152 by January 2015.

Bitcoin becomes a worldwide phenomenon (2016-2018)

The prices of Bitcoin rose year by year. By 2016, it was up to $434 and $998 by 2017. July 2017 was important for Bitcoin as a software upgrade was approved, with an aim to support development and security. A week passed by and the update was activated. At that time, Bitcoin was being traded at $2700. In December 2017, the currency reached an all-time high of $20,000.

Meanwhile, Ethereum, a new blockchain project was established. It was now being called the number two cryptocurrency, according to market cap. As compared to Bitcoin, Ethereum was allowing additional platforms to launch its own chain. It was then copied by different cryptocurrencies such as Neo, Tezos, and Cardano.

Ups and downs (2018 onwards)

In 2018, Bitcoin reached $19,783 while Ethereum was at around $1400. Financial and security concerns started growing and they became the reason for the market-wide decline. Bitcoin was dropped as low as $3700 by the end of 2018.

However, an uprise was seen in the prices from 2020. A MicroStrategy announcement kicked the market and the prices boosted. In early 2021, Tesla’s purchase of $1.5 billion worked heavily in favor of Bitcoin.

The market once again crashed due to some macroeconomic concerns. It resulted in high inflation. The market became more stable with time and new fields such as DeFis and stablecoins were introduced.

With that, here is a quick history of cryptocurrency timeline:

Year Achievement
1995 Early form of Cryptocurrency by David Chaum
1998 Bit Gold was introduced by Nick Szabo
2009 Bitcoin was mined for the first time
2011 First store accepted bitcoin
2011 Litecoin was introduced
2013 Bitcoin’s total worth exceeded $1 Billion
2016 Ehtereum arrived
2020 Crypto became popular as a response to Pandemic
2021 Total market value of cryptocurrency passed $3 trillion


Market Today

Cryptocurrency market today is hosting almost 6000 digital currencies and is still set to expand. The digital currency is becoming global, although at a slow pace. Many big companies have shown an interest in accepting and investing in blockchain technology. Some brands have also started to acknowledge the importance of cryptocurrency as they have started accepting it as a mode of payment. Cryptocurrency has also been used for fundraising. What’s more exciting is that you can travel today with just crypto in your wallet.

The list of cryptocurrencies has been expanding day by day, just like the prices. If we draw a comparison, just four years ago Bitcoin was below $1000. Therefore, in the ever-evolving world of technology, it is super-important to embrace digital currency and invest in it before it is too late.

The top ten cryptocurrencies that have gained popularity include: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether, Binance, Cardano, Ripple, Dogecoin, Solana, Monero, and the Sandbox.

Before you go deep into cryptocurrency, it is important for you to learn the history and origin of cryptocurrency. Once you understand the context of its beginning, you will better be able to grasp the market today. Moreover, you will also be able to understand how the crypto market works. In the article above, we have rounded up all the necessary information regarding the full history of cryptocurrency.

Photo by Shubham Dhage on Unsplash

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