Bitcoin was created by Satoshi Nakamoto, who published the invention on 31 October 2008 to a cryptography mailing list in a research paper called “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”. The idea was to produce a currency independent of any central authority, transferable electronically, more or less instantly, with very low transaction fees.
Bitcoin’s growth was extremely rapid. In February 2013 the bitcoin-based exchange Coinbase reported selling US$1 million worth of bitcoins in a single month at a price of approximately $22 per bitcoin. By of August 2015 it was estimated that 160,000 merchants accept bitcoin payments. In March 2016, Japan formerly recognized Bitcoin as having a function similar to real money.
In 2017, the number of businesses accepting bitcoin continues to increase. In January 2017, NHK reported the number of online stores accepting bitcoin in Japan had increased 4.6 times over the past year. Bitcoin continues to gain more legitimacy among lawmakers and legacy financial companies. For example, Russia has announced that it will legalize the use of Bitcoin and Norway’s largest online bank, Skandiabanken, integrated bitcoin accounts.
As more and more people want to hold their money in Bitcoin and the number of merchants accepting payments increases rapidly, the price of Bitcoin has continued to climb exponentially with the price of one Bitcoin passing US$3,400 for the first time on August 7th 2017, with a total valuation of over $56 Billion.