Bitcoin’s global popularity is on the rise. At the end of 2018, more than 93% of the British population had heard about BTC, while the percentage falls to 80% in the US. Bitcoin’s wave of adoption, its presence in new financial markets, Facebook’s Libra project and the recent massive scam in Twitter have further increased the collective awareness of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. The first decentralized digital currency has dozens of interesting curiosities. In this article we cover 13 facts that may surprise you about Bitcoin.
No one knows who Satoshi Nakamoto is: The mythical creator of Bitcoin
Despite multiple speculations, it is not known for sure who Satoshi Nakamoto is, who signed Bitcoin’s technical report in 2008. This is the pseudonym used by the creator (or group of creators) of the leading cryptocurrency, and true identity of this person or persons remains a mystery to this day.
Candidates credited with Satoshi’s identity include Dorian Nakamoto, Hal Finney, Nick Szabo and Craig Wright. The latter continues to self-attribute the identity of Nakamoto without success, which has generated great controversies in the crypto community.
Does the NSA do know Satoshi’s identity?
A suspected source from blogger Alexander Muse says the United States National Security Agency (NSA) did a complex study of stylometry, comparing Nakamoto’s writing to billions of writings worldwide.
Thus, it is speculated that the NSA clearly knows who Satoshi Nakamoto is, but has never revealed this information to the public.
If you lose your private keys, you lose your Bitcoin
One of the great advantages of Bitcoin is the security provided by the blockchain network. The fact that it does it in a decentralized way and with hundreds of nodes around the world is the disruptive element of this cryptocurrency.
However, the asymmetric crypto scheme has a downside. There are two keys associated with each cryptocurrency wallet. It is clear that the private key is unique and should not be shared under any circumstances.
However, let’s say that your computer’s hard drive breaks completely and you lose access to your wallet. If you do not have any backup of your private keys, you will not be able to access your funds again and these bitcoins will remain forever in crypto limbo.
Thus, many choose to use wallets online or directly on exchanges, while more advanced wallets use recovery mechanisms such as seeds.
Bitcoins in limbo
Although it is an almost impossible number to determine, a study by Chainanalysis suggests that 20% of the bitcoins in circulation are lost forever in digital limbo.
The research, cited by the Wall Street Journal, states that it is highly unlikely that these BTC will return to circulation. At the time of writing, we would be talking about 3.6 million lost bitcoins, which is equivalent to about 33.6 billion dollars.
Bitcoin boosted an industry that was close to being valued at $1 trillion in 2017
Nakamoto’s was the pioneer of an industry made up of more than 5700 cryptocurrencies and tokens to date. In January 2018, the industry capitalization peaked at $831 billion (according to CoinMarketCap), a milestone held only by the most powerful publicly traded companies.
The first purchase with bitcoins: World’s most valuable pizzas
The small community of enthusiasts who started testing Bitcoin in 2009 did not expect this digital currency to revolutionize the world. Thus, the first two records of a transaction in BTC are puzzling today.
The Bitcointalk forum still retains evidence of the transaction that occurred in May 2010, where one user paid 10,000 BTC for two pizzas. Today, these pizzas would be valued at $91 million.
Bitcoin can’t just be bought – it can be mined and traded on professional financial markets
The cryptocurrency has obtained the approval of different financial authorities to be traded on hundreds of brokerage platforms around the world.
Thus, price changes in Bitcoin can not only be exploited in an upward direction. Through futures contracts, CFDs or options, traders can develop strategies to take advantage of the volatility of the BTC market. Also, Bitcoin mining can be very profitable depending on where you live and if you have the right equipment.
2017 was the most profitable year for Bitcoin
According to CoinMarketCap – which started collecting data from exchanges seven years ago, 2017 has been the most profitable year for BTC, which increased more than 1,300%.
In previous years these percentages were higher, but there is less reference to the data. For example, in 2013 BTC the rise was approximately 5700%.
And 2018 was the least profitable…
The painful fall of 2018 closed around 73%, if we compare the annual opening price with the closing price.
The most valuable Bitcoin wallet contains more than 255,000 BTC
According to Bitinfocharts, the largest Bitcoin wallet in the world belongs to the cold wallet of the Huobi exchange and boasts a fortune of 255,502 BTC worth over $2.32 billion at the time of writing.
It is followed by an unknown property wallet with more than 96,000 bitcoins, worth close to a billion dollars.
The Bitcoin network is 194,000 times more powerful than the world’s largest supercomputer
As of the date of publication, the combined power of the Bitcoin network is 80 704 290 petaflops per second, according to bitcoincharts.
To date, the world’s most powerful supercomputer is the Japanese Fugaku, with more than 7 million cores, and a power of 415.53 petaflops. Thus, the BTC network is 194 thousand times more powerful than Fugaku.
John McAfee’s twisted promise
During the 2017 bullish euphoria, the controversial businessman made a promise that he can hardly keep. The British computer scientist promised to eat his own virile member on national television if the price of Bitcoin did not reach $1 million in 2020. Even if he planned on making good on his promise, I doubt there would be many who’d wish to see it.
if not, I will eat my dick on national television.
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) July 17, 2017
There is a finite supply of bitcoins, just like there is with gold
Here the terminological similarities between the gold and Bitcoin industry begin. Nakamoto created this digital financial instrument to have more similarities with gold than with other fiat currencies. Thus, the Bitcoin network limits the amount of cryptocurrencies that can be issued, establishing a limited offer at 21 million BTC, which are issued by decentralized nodes that control the network in a systematic and deflationary way approximately every 4 years.
The basic tasks of the network, including the maintenance, synchronization and the own emission of bitcoins are also included in an analogy with gold: Mining. The aforementioned nodes are called “miners” and get rewards for solving cryptographic problems that allow adding blocks to the network, as well as small commissions for confirming transactions.