Bitcoin has now been used by countless individuals to transact for over 7 years. At the time of this writing there have been over 140,000,000 transactions sent and stored forever in the blockchain.
January 2009 was when the very first block was added to the blockchain, which is affectionately dubbed the Genesis Block, and the rest as they say, is now history.
The history of bitcoin includes some amazing stories, some so interesting they are worth retelling to keep the story alive. This post serves to preserve a few memorable pieces of that history.
It happened at block height 170, the very first bitcoin transaction ever. This transaction was between the late Hal Finney and Satoshi Nakamoto. Finney was a computer scientist, inventor of reusable-proof-of-work (RPOW), a bitcoin pioneer, and also the first recipient of bitcoin via this transaction.
In retrospect, this was quite a monumental transaction, and it also resulted in the most expensive pizzas ever. A user of the BitcoinTalk forum wanted to order two pizzas and was asking if anyone could order it to be delivered to him in exchange for 10,000 bitcoins. The value at the time of the transaction was around $25 USD. Today, that amount in bitcoin is worth over $6.3 million. Every year since that transaction, the bitcoin community remembers this event by celebrating Bitcoin Pizza Day on May 22nd.
When bitcoin exchange Mt.Gox was struggling to stay afloat prior to their infamous collapse, then CEO Mark Karpeles wanted to prove that Mt.Gox was financially sound. To do so, he performed one of the biggest and most risky bitcoin transactions ever. The transaction was from Mt.Gox to Mt.Gox, but regardless it was sent over the bitcoin network to the tune of 442,000 bitcoins. The value now is in the neighborhood of $282.2 million USD.
In the fall of 2013, a 194,993 bitcoin transaction hit the network, which caused many to wonder who was behind this very large transaction. The value at the time of the transaction in USD was over $149 million. CoinDesk wrote “unsurprisingly, a transaction of that size has prompted the bitcoin community to do some analysis and detective work. The transaction involved a large number of sending addresses, with some of them from blocks mined in February 2010 or even earlier, prompting excited speculation they might be from Satoshi Nakamoto, bitcoin’s absent (and likely pseudonymous) founder.”
According to a news report about Lamborghini Newport Beach car dealership in California, they sold a Tesla Model S electric car for 91.4 bitcoins, or $103,000 at the time of purchase. The transaction was handled by payment processor BitPay, said Cedric Davy, marketing director for the Costa Mesa, California based dealership. The dealership has never accepted bitcoin directly, but BitPay’s merchant processing service allowed the buyer to use bitcoin as a form of payment, which was converted into USD once the transaction was complete.
December 20, 2013: Bloomberg reporter gets bitcoin nabbed on live TV
Bloomberg TV anchor Matt Miller was doing a segment on his “12 Days of Bitcoin” when he flashed his bitcoin paper wallet on TV. Little did he realize that he just showed the corresponding QR code on the paper wallet for his private bitcoin address (not the public address!). Someone viewing the show quickly scanned the code and instantly was $20 richer. Fortunately, Miller let the viewer keep the funds, and he and everyone else learned a valuable lesson that day.
In January 2014, private jet booking service privatefly.com began to accept bitcoin as a payment method. A month later the booking service announced that it had its first celebrity bitcoin passenger when it completed a flight from Brussels to Nice. The flight was charted by tech entrepreneur, Bitcoin Foundation lifetime member, and bitcoin millionaire Olivier Janssens. While neither Janssens nor PrivateFly commented on the size of the transaction, CoinDesk said similar flights offered on the company’s website suggest that the total cost could have ranged from 9.5 bitcoin to 54.95 bitcoin, depending on the size of the plane Janssens flew in.
When the online black market Silk Road was shut down, the U.S. government seized roughly 144,000 bitcoins. In what was a three-part auction, the first auction of coins was sold to venture capitalist and entrepreneur Tim Draper which was for 30,000 bitcoins, worth $19 million USD at the time.
Have your own bitcoin transaction story to tell that you think is worthy of bitcoin history? Let us know in the comments below!