When Satoshi Nakamoto launched Bitcoin in January 2009 it was the beginning of a revolution. The original block in the blockchain was encoded with a bleak snapshot of the failing financial system, a small quote from the UK Times newspaper: "Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks."
It was banks, central control and corrupt government policy, that the fledgling cryptocurrency was hoping to replace. While it has not yet overthrown the financial institutions of old, nearly 7 years on it's still closer to doing so than many people had imagined.
Like all groundbreaking technologies there were technical teething problems, naysayers and outright battles. Some governments tried to outlaw its use (and some have succeeded). The negative PR stemming from the currency's ties to the illegal dark net markets may have scared some people off. And the early adopters were well and truly screwed over when they stored their digital funds in the Mt. Gox exchange, because hundreds of millions of dollars worth went missing.
Yet here were are, closing in on 2016 and bitcoin is alive and well. In fact it's doing better than ever and our new infographic demonstrates that the only way is up, in terms of value and usage.
Indeed the dollar price of BTC has been steadily rising since the start of the year, regaining ground after its first major crash. In just the past 3 months it has doubled its value by a $200 increase and there's no sign of that slowing down as 2016 emerges.
As for the actual trading volume at the exchanges and the overall growth of the exchanges themselves - well both are skyrocketing. From October 2014 to October 2015, OK Coin from Singapore has grown 847%, and even the more western-centric BitStamp has doubled within the year. The market is managing to move $289 million worth of BTC on a daily basis, more than Western Union ($216m) and closing in on PayPal ($397m).
Meanwhile online and offline merchants are increasingly adding bitcoin as a payment method, supported by bitcoin payment service providers such as Coinify, Europe's leader in processing wide range of digital currency payments. Not just to keep customers happy but because it actually costs them less to process. A negligible 1% is charged for BitPay premium members compared to the major credit card networks, which range between 2% and 6%. This has contributed to the jump from 65,000 merchants accepting BTC to 100,000 plus. While we can imagine some scenarios where it isn't beneficial to the customer, retailers like TigerDirect are proud to reveal that bitcoin prevents fraudulent chargebacks which are very common with customers using credit cards.
In short all you really need to know is that giants like Microsoft, Expedia and Time Inc. have embraced BTC and many others are following suit. August 2015 saw BitPay's most successful month, recording 70,000 transactions. Bargainfox has started accepting bitcoins for stores such as TK Maxx and Myprotein.
In turn, as this demand has increased so has the venture capital funding the user-friendly apps, bitcoin ATMs, exchanges, and other technology. In 2012 only $2 million was pumped in to the industry. So far in 2015 this has reached $469 million!
Perhaps the last remaining concern for the bitcoin revolution is overcoming volatility, the freak fluctuations in value. Thankfully the facts don't lie. As the market has grown the impact of panic and large volume trading has lessened. From 2011 to 2015 the line is quite simply going down. For regular traders who exploit volatility this might not be good, but for those who want a simple electronic currency that is out of the reach of the old monetary guard, then we're on the revolutionary track that Satoshi Nakamoto laid down.
For 33 indicators that prove the only way is up for Bitcoin, check out our new infographic.
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