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Bitcoin transactions pass half a billion

By Lawrence Gash

11 years since first transaction

The Bitcoin (BTC) network has now processed 500 million transactions since it first went live just over 11 years ago.

Jameson Lopp, co-founder & CTO of the crypto firm Casa and the Bitcoin analytics site Statoshi celebrated the milestone stating:

“Today, as of block 00000000000000000001145bf2e7cb7f04df55feaf3b55d9f6511522bbbf333f at height 616064, Bitcoin surpassed 500 million transactions confirmed on the blockchain.”

The speed and scale of Bitcoin’s rise is historically unprecedented. The first block of the Bitcoin blockchain was mined on January 3, 2009 in the midst of the global financial crisis. Embedded in the coinbase of the so-called "Genesis Block" was the text: “The Times 03/Han/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks”. This provided not only a timestamp for its creation but also indicated Bitcoin’s ambition to create a decentralised currency without a single administrator or central bank.

The first commercial Bitcoin transaction took place in 2010 when programmer Laszlo Hanyecz bought two Papa John’s pizzas for ₿10,000, now worth £72m or $94m. It took Bitcoin seven years to reach 250 million transactions but less than three to reach half a billion. Should adoption continue to grow at such an accelerated rate then the world’s largest cryptocurrency could well surpass 1 billion transactions by the end of 2023.

A January report by Deutsche Bank would lend credence to the view that Bitcoin use will continue to accelerate. It predicted that 200 million users will have adopted cryptocurrency technology by the start of the next decade.

The adoption of other cryptocurrencies also points to Bitcoin’s importance with many other developers seeking to improve on it and compete with it. One of Bitcoin’s closest competitors Ethereum (ETH) is up 2.4 per cent against it by mid-afternoon (GMT) trading at ₿0.020936. Bitcoin itself stands at $9,495.00.

The underlying blockchain technology pioneered by Bitcoin has also achieved global fame and interest in the years between the first and 500 millionth transaction. At the end of 2019 Chinese President Xi Jinping urged his countrymen to “seize the opportunities" provided by blockchain, although cryptocurrencies are still banned in China due to their decentralised nature.

FURTHER READING: Bitcoin hits new January highs

FURTHER READING: Bitcoin futures surge past $20bn

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