Where did Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency come from? Learn about the history of Bitcoin and its growing popularity here!
What is the history of bitcoin? This is an important question without a truly simple answer. But today in service of our short attention spans, let’s give it a go. (You may have read our earlier post that explained bitcoin and its origins in detail—if you’re into that, click here.)
Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency to be invented. It was invented in 2009 by a person or group operating under the name Satoshi Nakamoto, and we still don’t know who this mysterious person or group is today. Bitcoin was first used in a transaction in 2010, when it was used to purchase pizza. #mood!
Over the last decade, bitcoin’s price has fluctuated wildly, including a crash in 2017, earning people lots of money and losing people lots of money. This year, bitcoin’s price reached an all time high of over $70,000 CAD per bitcoin.
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This might seem like a bubble, but bitcoin has never before seen such a widespread mainstream uptake. Banks and moguls (read: Elon Musk) alike are embracing crypto and what it could mean for the future of our financial systems. So while bitcoin remains a very volatile asset, and not all crypto are created equally, we think the fundamental structures of crypto are here to stay.
What are Cryptocurrencies?
Cryptocurrencies are used in many of the same applications as fiat currencies, like the Canadian dollar. A fiat currency is a unit of value without any intrinsic value, and is modelled after the gold standard. Only instead of gold, the dollar is backed by the federal government.
But how does cryptocurrency work? To start, there’s no federal government or guarantor in sight.
To buy and sell it, you need a crypto wallet—there are lots out there, and we offer one that allows MogoMembers to trade bitcoin right in our app!
In Canada, crypto is used differently than currency. Rather than transferring monetary value as you do when you pay for something, crypto transactions are considered bartering.
Got all that? Yes? But now, what is cryptocurrency, exactly? Crypto is a non-fungible token whose movement and ownership is recorded in the blockchain, which is a public ledger verified by members of the public. This means that every bitcoin is accounted for, and this helps mediate its scarcity and its value.
People like crypto because the blockchain is held publicly accountable, and because it isn’t linked to any government. But this means it can be very volatile.
What is Bitcoin?
Now, what is bitcoin? Bitcoin is one of dozens of cryptocurrencies available on the market, though it has demonstrated the most longevity and accumulated the most value. And we consider it to be a viable way for Canadians to build wealth.
Records* of trading and ownership are recorded against each specific coin. This concept is central to how bitcoin works. If records of bitcoin transactions didn’t exist for public oversight, well, bitcoins would be a lot like national currencies, and using them would be based on trust rather than proof.
How Bitcoin Began
Bitcoin was released in 2009 as an open source software created by Satoshi Nakamoto. It was accompanied by a short paper, entitled Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System. Who better to tell you about this than its creators?
Satoshi Nakamoto began their paper with this abstract:
“A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution. Digital signatures provide part of the solution, but the main benefits are lost if a trusted third party is still required to prevent double-spending. We propose a solution to the double-spending problem using a peer-to-peer network. The network timestamps transactions by hashing them into an ongoing chain of hash-based proof-of-work, forming a record that cannot be changed without redoing the proof-of-work...”
And here’s how the keepers of bitcoin.org put it:
“Bitcoin is a consensus network that enables a new payment system and a completely digital money. It is the first decentralized peer-to-peer payment network that is powered by its users with no central authority or middlemen. From a user perspective, Bitcoin is pretty much like cash for the Internet. Bitcoin can also be seen as the most prominent triple entry bookkeeping system in existence.”
Bitcoin paved the way for other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Dogecoin, both of which are gaining steam in the market right now. This is largely due to this triple entry bookkeeping system, which refers to the blockchain. Without that public ledger, crypto couldn’t exist like it does today.
Bitcoin came from a humble and perhaps utopian idea, and has since come to change how we think of cash, currency, and wealth building in Canada today.
Bitcoin today is a constant player on news hours, stock market watches, and Twitter alike. Whether it’s climbing (as it has been recently) or falling (which it is still likely to do at some point!), everyone’s talking about it.
Why? Because bitcoin is a revolutionary tech that is currently being integrated into the daily lives of millions of Canadians. How widespread is bitcoin? Elon Musk just outfitted Tesla to accept payment in it, for one. Twitter has adopted an emoji-fuelled language for crypto prices, namely, sending them sky-high on a meteoric rise like a rocket 🚀 headed straight for the moon 🌙 (hence, driving prices up is called “mooning.” Thanks for that, weirdos.).
Ahem, for example: on April 13, 2021, bitcoin peaked at almost $80,000CAD.
Do we think you should go out and invest your life savings? No no no no, please don’t do that. We can’t tell you what to do, but we’d never recommend that. Why? Bitcoin is volatile, and despite its months-long rally, you should be careful and never invest more than you can afford to lose.
Luckily, we’ve got two simple, low cost ways to start trading in bitcoin and building your wealth at Mogo.
Start Buying Bitcoin with Mogo Bitcoin & Rewards
You probably already know about our in-app bitcoin platform. It’s part of a wider program at Mogo called Bitcoin & Rewards, which includes bitcoin cashback.1
When you spend on your Mogo Visa* Platinum Prepaid Card, we’re able to give you cashback in the form of bitcoin.2 So without spending a cent of your own money on bitcoin, you’re able to take part in the market, too.
But cashback isn’t going to buy you an entire bitcoin. Nope. We use incremental purchases and smaller cashback amounts to “stack sats”. “Sats” is short for “Satoshi,” named after bitcoin’s creator, which represents the smallest unit of bitcoin available. You’ve probably got a dollar to spare for some satoshi, maybe? Perhaps?
The main thing to remember is bitcoin is volatile. Using these low-impact, low-cost ways to buy into bitcoin could theoretically lessen the blow if the crypto giant tanked. But picking up even a few satoshis could hitch you a ride to the moon. 🚀
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*Correction: An earlier version of this post stated that bitcoins were non-fungible tokens, and that isn’t true! Read up the difference between fungible and non-fungible tokens here, and please accept our apologies for the mixup.
This blog is provided for informational purposes only, is not intended as investment advice, and is not meant to suggest that a particular investment or strategy is suitable for any particular investor. If you’re unsure about an investment, you may wish to obtain advice from a qualified professional. Nothing herein should be considered an offer, solicitation of an offer, or advice to buy or sell securities. Buying and selling bitcoin is risky and you may suffer losses. The price of bitcoin is highly volatile and speculative and so you should never invest more in bitcoin than you can afford to lose. It’s also important to remember that past performance is no guarantee of future results.
*Trademark of Visa International Service Association and used under licence by Peoples Trust Company. Mogo Visa Platinum Prepaid Card is issued by Peoples Trust Company pursuant to licence by Visa Int. and is subject to Terms and Conditions, visit mogo.ca for full details. Your MogoCard balance is not insured by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC). MogoCard means the Mogo Visa Platinum Prepaid Card.
1 - Bitcoin Cashback is a component of Mogo’s Bitcoin Rewards Program (“BRP”). To participate in the BRP you must be an eligible MogoMember in good standing who has activated a Bitcoin & Rewards or MogoCrypto Account and has the Mogo app on an iOS or Android device. All Rewards will be subject to a 2-week withdraw hold period and are subject to further eligibility requirements and other terms set out in the MogoAccount Terms and Conditions (“Terms”), which may be changed or terminated at any time without notice. Mogo reserves the right to determine whether to issue rewards in satoshis or Cash, as further set out in the Terms. Where a Reward is determined by converting an amount of Canadian fiat to satoshis, Mogo will use the Satoshi Conversion described in the Terms. All decisions by Mogo regarding program or reward eligibility, the Satoshi Conversion, or any other matters respecting the BRP are final and binding. For full details, visit: https://www.mogo.ca/terms-and-conditions.
2 - Bitcoin Cashback is a component of Mogo’s Rewards program. To be eligible, you must have: (i) a Bitcoin & Rewards account; and (ii) the MogoCard. Eligible MogoMembers will earn 1% Bitcoin Cashback on Canadian dollar purchases and 2% Bitcoin Cashback on foreign currency purchases. Bitcoin Cashback will be earned on a monthly basis based on all eligible purchases made in the preceding month. Mogo will determine the eligible 1% or 2% in fiat and will convert that fiat to satoshis according to the Satoshi Conversion set out in detail in the MogoAccount. All decisions regarding the conversion to satoshis by Mogo are final and binding. Additional eligibility requirements, transaction exclusions, and other terms are set out in full in the MogoAccount Terms and Conditions, which may be changed or terminated at any time without notice, see: https://www.mogo.ca/terms-and-conditions. Mogo cannot guarantee that the value of your Bitcoin Cashback will increase. If the price of bitcoin decreases then you may lose some or all of the value of your Bitcoin Rewards.