Throwback Stories #1: Bitcointalk, Cryptocurrency Cradle

Dominik Olech
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What is 10 years? It depends on perspective. For a statistical person, it is a ⅛ of their life. For the cryptocurrency industry, it is an entire history. 

Bitcoin is a fascinating phenomenon for many reasons. One of them is how well documented the process of its creation is. Most of Satoshi Nakamoto emails are publicly available. Moreover, we can track the roots of the first cryptocurrency in its cradle: the Bitcointalk forum

Community project

What distinguishes Bitcoin from other world-changing projects? From the very beginning, it was highly community-oriented. Satoshi stayed in touch with first crypto followers and actively consulted his project with them. Thanks to that, he created Bitcointalk in November 2009. Since then, the forum has grown up to be the most significant active community of the whole cryptocurrency world. 

In its entire history, it witnessed many vital events in Bitcoin history. Bitcointalk is like a book, a chronicle of the cryptocurrency world. On its pages, you may find both the moments of glory, but also the record of not so bright days.

In this article, we want to bring you closer to some of the most exciting stories, which began on this forum. 

First steps

It all began on November 22, 2009, when Nakamoto posted the first message on the forum under the nickname “satoshi”. It was a standard greeting with some links to FAQ and the mention of old forum – which are now offline. This modest welcome was the first of his many posts in his active years in the industry.

Probably the most significant moment in forum history was the first Bitcoin transaction, which took place on Bitcointalk. Well, actually, it wasn’t the first technically – cause this title belongs to the one which happened when Satoshi sent 50 Bitcoins to Hal Finney in January 2009. But the transaction which went down in history was made on May 22, 2010. 

That day, Laszlo Hanyecz made a deal with one of the other members of the forum, to order a pizza for Bitcoins. It cost him 10,000 BTC. Why was this moment so important?

First sent Bitcoins between Satoshi and Hal Finney were just a test of the network. Laszlo’s pizza was the first financial transaction, understood as an agreement between a buyer and a seller to exchange an asset for payment. For the first time, Bitcoin was used as a real currency.

Things have changed since that day. Bitcoin is now available as a means of payment in many places, and the whole process is now easier than ever. But in 2010 there was no infrastructure to process crypto transactions – and that’s why buying pizza needed Bitcointalk forum to actually take place. It laid the foundations for future cryptocurrency trade. What leads us to the next step of our nostalgic journey. But not so bright one.

“Silky” business 

Decentralized nature of Bitcoin and its potential anonymity encourage people to dream about its possible usage. Although most of them apply to liberalize the global market, some of those ideas took the freedom concept too far. It resulted in the creation of the most infamous online market in history – a Silk Road.

The idea of using Bitcoin to allow the trade in prohibited goods has appeared on Bitcointalk very early – only half a year after the forum was set up. In June 2010,a forum member, “teppy”, posted a thread called “A Heroin Store“, where he proposed the idea of using Bitcoin to bypass government jurisdiction. What is interesting, the first answer was posted by Laszlo – our famous pizza orderer. 

It was just a theoretical discussion, but the idea came to life at the beginning of 2011. In March, a user simply called “silkroad” advertised a marketplace, operating in deep web and using Bitcoins as currency. Of course, it was kept in a tone of freedom, but the platform was, in reality, mostly focused on the drug traffick. 

Although Silk Road was well organized and protected, its end came with a very simple mistake. Its creator – Ross Ulbricht, known under the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts” – posted his private email address in one of his old messages. It was enough for investigators to link him to the case. Silk Road was closed in October 2013, and Ulbricht, accused of money laundering, computer hacking and, of course, contributing to drug dealing. In the end, he was sentenced to double life imprisonment plus forty years, without the possibility of parole. 

Despite being a part of history, the Silk Road still influences the Bitcoin’s opinion. For the public opinion, it chained cryptocurrencies with darknet – and by this, with every illegal activity available there. And as you might see in the last Donald Trump tweets, such opinion is still valid.

Historical misspelling 

Silk Road case didn’t stop the cryptocurrency industry from developing and gaining global attention. The Bitcoin’s price kept growing, as same as the number of its believers. The cryptocurrency community was slowly moving to the next step of its journey.

At the end of 2013, Bitcoin reached a historical price of $1,000, increasing its value ten times. But such a situation didn’t last long. The price dropped and stayed under $1,000 until 2017. It was a big blow for people who missed the opportunity to sell their coins with a high profit. However, it was also a valuable lesson.

On December 18, 2013, a member of Bitcointalk named GameKyuubi posted his thoughts about his perspective of the current market situation. In the thread called “I AM HODLING” he described a different approach to the market than classical trading. He didn’t find himself a good trader, so instead of trying to catch an opportunity, he decided to hold his coins. According to GameKyuubi, selling coins in a bear market is pointless, and the only reasonable strategy is to keep assets for better times.

When he shared his thoughts on forum, he probably didn’t know that it will go down in history as one of the most popular memes in the cryptocurrency industry. The misspelled word “hodl” became a rolling joke in the growing community and struck even stronger in 2017 when the price started to rise again.

This post showed something that distinguishes cryptocurrencies from other potential investment targets. For many people, Bitcoin is not only a way of earning money. “Hodling” is more than meme, even more than a strategy. It is the approach of people who actually believe in the idea of cryptocurrency, and they won’t quit because of the market situation. 

Since the first Satoshi’s post on Bitcointalk, cryptocurrency world has changed a lot. A small community, created back in those days, has grown up to a worldwide trend. Other forums have been created, a significant part of the industry have also moved on separated groups on Reddit. Nonetheless, Bitcointalk is still one of the biggest hubs of crypto followers. A fantastic place where they can talk about news, find help or share their opinions.

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