Crypto Currencies

Bitcoin Explained – Chapter 3: The history and future of Bitcoin

26/07/2019 | 2 min read

How did Bitcoin become the most well-known crypto currency? This chapter of the Bitcoin Explained series explains how influential the first years of Bitcoin development was for the whole economy.

Satoshi Nakamoto

In 2008, the Internet domain was registered by an anonymous owner. The only content was the so-called «Bitcoin Whitepaper» - a nine-paged document explaining the complete structure and the idea behind Bitcoin. The author was the pseudonym «Satoshi Nakamoto». Linguistic experts who examined the Bitcoin whitepaper looked at Satoshi Nakamoto as an experienced theorist with a rather mediocre knowledge of programming.

To this day, nobody knows who or what is behind the pseudonym «Satoshi Nakamoto». Even the closest confidants and first collaborators of the Bitcoin project had only email contact with Nakamoto without ever having seen him or her. There may also be an entire organization or a group of people behind the pseudonym - no one knows. The way the Bitcoin whitepaper was written and published and the contact during the collaboration with the first Bitcoin programmers not only shows how well-grounded the whole project was, but also signals the high relevance of the anonymity of the inventor.

History of Bitcoin - The first years

Since the beginning, the development of the Bitcoin protocol has been extremely rapid. The first version «Bitcoin 0.1» was launched just three months after the white paper was published. On 6 January 2009 by the first transaction between founder Nakamoto and the developer and crypto activist Hal Finney took place. At the end of 2009, the exchange rate was set for the first time. It was set at 1,309 Bitcoin per 1 USD - the cost of electricity and storage required to maintain a Bitcoin computer. Below are some of the most defining moments of Bitcoin's early years:


Source: Vontobel Investment Banking

Further events and outlook

In the following years, the cryptoscene was mainly shaped by the expansion of the network and the establishment of various «Altcoins» (other crypto currencies). More and more merchants accepted Bitcoin as a means of payment. The Bitcoin project is constantly being expanded and improved (current version 0.18) and the price reached its all-time high of USD 20,089 in December 2017. 

The future will show whether Bitcoin will actually assert itself as a digital means of payment or whether it will be used as «digital gold». Nevertheless, the Bitcoin community is working hard on the further development of the Bitcoin protocol to make the system safer, faster and more scalable. Each day, Bitcoin users transfer Bitcoins worth between USD 400 million and USD 800 million - way more than back in 2017, just before the all-time high was reached.

Next in Bitcoin Explained

The first two parts of the Bitcoin 1x1 discussed how Bitcoin differs from traditional currencies and how it has grown its popularity. The next step is to understand where the technical brilliance and innovation of Bitcoin lies. Expressions such as Blockchain, fork and wallet are frequently mentioned, but what exactly do these terms mean?
The next chapter therefore examines the basic characteristics of the Bitcoin protocol.



This information is neither an investment advice nor an investment or investment strategy recommendation, but advertisement. The complete information on the securities, in particular the structure and risks associated with an investment, are described in the base prospectus, together with any supplements, as well as the final terms. The base prospectus and final terms constitute the sole binding sales documents for the securities. It is recommended that potential investors read these documents before making any investment decision in order to fully understand the potential risks and rewards of deciding to invest in the securities. The documents and the key information document are published on the website of the issuer on and are available from the issuer free of charge. The approval of the prospectus should not be understood as an endorsement of the securities. The securities are products that are not simple and may be difficult to understand. This information contains an indication of past performance. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

This document and the information contained in it may only be distributed or published in countries where such distribution or publication is permitted by applicable law. As stated in the relevant base prospectus, the distribution of the securities mentioned in this information is subject to restrictions in certain jurisdictions. This advertisement may not be reproduced or redistributed without Vontobel’s permission.