Cryptocurrency and the revolutionary blockchain technology have continued to gain popularity in recent years and got many investors and stakeholders excited about what it could become in the future.
While cryptocurrency adoption in the mainstream remains a challenge, stakeholders are exploring opportunities to bridge the gap between traditional financial services and digital currency transactions.
At the heart of cryptocurrencies is blockchain technology—a decentralized system that serves as a digital ledger where cryptocurrency transactions are validated and recorded as blocks on a network. Once a transaction is made, its details cannot be altered.
One can think of the blockchain as an online database containing records of who owns what on the network. Anyone can use it, but no one owns it, and the validation feature ensures that there are no duplicate or dubious transactions.
Making payments on the blockchain is convenient and fast, and is easily one of the most significant benefits of using Bitcoin. Since digital currencies take out the middleman, transactions are less expensive and are completed faster than other money transfers requiring confirmation from banks or other third parties.
Digital currencies hold great potential in the future and could well become an integral facet of everyday life. But who exactly is the creator of bitcoin? And is cryptocurrency unlimited? Here are some of the interesting facts about cryptocurrency that may surprise you.
Bitcoin’s inventor is still unknown
Satoshi Nakamoto is referred to as the creator of bitcoin—but the true identity of Nakamoto, and whether or not Nakamoto is a single person or a group of people behind the pseudonym—is still a mystery.
One thing that’s for sure is that the person who created bitcoin’s original code is wealthy and owns approximately a million bitcoins.
Bitcoin supply is finite
Bitcoins are generated through mining, which involves miners using digital tools and sophisticated hardware to solve complex mathematical problems. When miners are successful, they are rewarded with a block of coins that contains 12.5 bitcoins. This number of bitcoins, however, halves every four years. A new block of coins is deciphered every 10 minutes.
About 16.3 million bitcoins have been mined and are currently traded. There are about 21 million bitcoins that can be mined overall. The last bitcoin will be mined in 2140.
Two pizzas for 10,000 bitcoins
Yes, there is a Bitcoin Pizza Day. The first bitcoin payment ever completed happened on May 22, 2010, when a programmer from Florida named Laszlo Hanyecz spent 10,000 bitcoins on buying two Papa John’s pizzas worth about $25. Back then, 10,000 bitcoins were valued at around $30 to $41.
In April 2021, these two pizzas would have been the most expensive ever. During this period, bitcoin reached an all-time high of over $64,000. Ten thousand bitcoins were equivalent to more than $640,000,000 in April 2021.
More than 5,000 cryptocurrencies exist
There are nearly 6,000 currencies in the world as of August 2021, according to numbers from Statista. In addition, there are different types of cryptocurrencies created each day, and the market is rapidly evolving.
Not all cryptocurrencies or altcoins, however, have significant value or purpose. Besides Bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies gaining traction include Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin, Monero, and Zcash.
Bitcoin network is very powerful, and bitcoin mining requires massive energy
The computing power of the bitcoin network is greater than 500 supercomputers put together. Plus, bitcoin transactions consume more energy than what is required to power nine homes in the US for one day or all tea kettles in the UK for 19 years.
Crypto mining involves the use of high-powered computers and leads to rising hardware and electricity costs.
Cryptocurrency can’t really be banned
The surge in popularity of cryptocurrencies has led to one controversy after another and even resulted in an outright ban on the use and trading of digital currencies in some countries, including Bolivia, Bangladesh, Ecuador, Cambodia, Algeria, and Nepal.
In reality, however, it’s physically impossible to ban cryptocurrencies. This is because anyone with an internet connection can get a bitcoin wallet and make bitcoin transactions. While countries can regulate cryptocurrencies, they cannot ban the market itself.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) got ahold of one of the world’s largest bitcoin wallets
In 2013, the FBI shut down the Silk Road—a black market website powered by blockchain technology and used by scrupulous individuals for money laundering and other illegal activities. The FBI has seized an estimated $1 billion worth of bitcoins from Silk Road. These assets make up about 1.5% of the world’s bitcoins.
You can lose your digital currencies forever
Unique private keys, which can be any integers from 1 to 10 to the power of 77, are what keep bitcoins safe and secure. It is very difficult and even virtually impossible to hack into bitcoin’s private keys because of the structure of blockchain technology.
But if one loses their private key or crypto wallet, there’s no way of getting it back. That’s exactly what happened to James Howells, a resident of Newport, Wales, who threw away a hard drive containing about 7,500 bitcoins in 2013. He lost an estimated £4M worth of bitcoins.
More than 50% of bitcoins mined have never been used
From the nearly 17 million bitcoins that have been mined, 64% have never been used and might never be used. This is because of the instances when owners misplace their wallet keys and lose digital funds forever.
Bitcoin and other types of cryptocurrencies are highly volatile, but their value has reached unprecedented heights. As with other investments, it comes with its unique risks and responsibilities. Anyone who wishes to dive into the cryptocurrency craze must do their part to understand the technology better, including the risks, benefits, and challenges involved.
Wrapping It Up
As blockchain technology expands and the cryptocurrency world continues to grow, these digital currencies will surely surprise users and non-users alike with more fascinating trends, facts, and figures along the way. Eventually, more people are expected to get into digital currencies. Knowing these details about the crypto world can familiarize you with this secure world and how big the industry is anticipated to become.