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Welcome to the golden age of board games. Dropbox pips rivals for multimillion dollar uni deal. One of the first supporters, adopters, contributor to bitcoin and receiver of the first bitcoin transaction was programmer Hal Finney. Finney downloaded the bitcoin software the day it was released, and received 10 bitcoins from Nakamoto in the world's first bitcoin transaction.
In the early days, Nakamoto is estimated to have mined 1 million bitcoins. The value of the first bitcoin transactions were negotiated by individuals on the bitcoin forum with one notable transaction of 10, BTC used to indirectly purchase two pizzas delivered by Papa John's. On 6 August , a major vulnerability in the bitcoin protocol was spotted.
Transactions weren't properly verified before they were included in the transaction log or blockchain , which let users bypass bitcoin's economic restrictions and create an indefinite number of bitcoins.
Within hours, the transaction was spotted and erased from the transaction log after the bug was fixed and the network forked to an updated version of the bitcoin protocol. Based on bitcoin's open source code, other cryptocurrencies started to emerge. The Electronic Frontier Foundation , a non-profit group, started accepting bitcoins in January ,  then stopped accepting them in June , citing concerns about a lack of legal precedent about new currency systems.
In June Wikileaks  and other organizations began to accept bitcoins for donations. On 22 March WeUseCoins published the first viral video  which has had over 6. In January , bitcoin was featured as the main subject within a fictionalized trial on the CBS legal drama The Good Wife in the third-season episode " Bitcoin for Dummies ".
The host of CNBC 's Mad Money , Jim Cramer , played himself in a courtroom scene where he testifies that he doesn't consider bitcoin a true currency, saying "There's no central bank to regulate it; it's digital and functions completely peer to peer".
In September , the Bitcoin Foundation was launched to "accelerate the global growth of bitcoin through standardization, protection, and promotion of the open source protocol".
In October , BitPay reported having over 1, merchants accepting bitcoin under its payment processing service. In March the bitcoin transaction log called the blockchain temporarily split into two independent chains with differing rules on how transactions were accepted.
For six hours two bitcoin networks operated at the same time, each with its own version of the transaction history. The core developers called for a temporary halt to transactions, sparking a sharp sell-off. In April, payment processors BitInstant and Mt. On 15 May , the US authorities seized accounts associated with Mt. On 17 May , it was reported that BitInstant processed approximately 30 percent of the money going into and out of bitcoin, and in April alone facilitated 30, transactions, .
In July a project began in Kenya linking bitcoin with M-Pesa , a popular mobile payments system, in an experiment designed to spur innovative payments in Africa. On 6 August , Federal Judge Amos Mazzant of the Eastern District of Texas of the Fifth Circuit ruled that bitcoins are "a currency or a form of money" specifically securities as defined by Federal Securities Laws , and as such were subject to the court's jurisdiction,   and Germany's Finance Ministry subsumed bitcoins under the term "unit of account"—a financial instrument—though not as e-money or a functional currency, a classification nonetheless having legal and tax implications.
In November , the University of Nicosia announced that it would be accepting bitcoin as payment for tuition fees, with the university's chief financial officer calling it the "gold of tomorrow". Gox and the Europe-based Bitstamp to become the largest bitcoin trading exchange by trade volume. In December , Overstock. On 5 December , the People's Bank of China prohibited Chinese financial institutions from using bitcoins.
In January , Zynga  announced it was testing bitcoin for purchasing in-game assets in seven of its games. The article also stated the currency would be accepted in five locations, including the front desk and certain restaurants.
In early February , one of the largest bitcoin exchanges, Mt. Gox ,  suspended withdrawals citing technical issues. Gox had filed for bankruptcy protection in Japan amid reports that , bitcoins had been stolen.
Gox had waned as users experienced difficulties withdrawing funds. Petersburg Bowl under a two-year deal, renamed the Bitcoin St. Bitcoin was to be accepted for ticket and concession sales at the game as part of the sponsorship, and the sponsorship itself was also paid for using bitcoin. In July Newegg and Dell  started accepting bitcoin. In December Microsoft began to accept bitcoin to buy Xbox games and Windows software.
In , several lighthearted songs celebrating bitcoin such as the Ode to Satoshi  have been released. A documentary film, The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin , was released in , featuring interviews with bitcoin users, such as a computer programmer and a drug dealer. In January Coinbase raised 75 million USD as part of a Series C funding round, smashing the previous record for a bitcoin company.
Bitstamp resumed trading on 9 January after increasing security measures and assuring customers that their account balances would not be impacted. In March 21 Inc announced it had raised million USD in venture funding, the largest amount for any digital currency-related companies.
As of August it was estimated that , merchants accept bitcoin payments. In October , a proposal was submitted to the Unicode Consortium to add a codepoint for the bitcoin symbol. In March , the Cabinet of Japan recognized virtual currencies like bitcoin as having a function similar to real money.
In April , Steam started accepting bitcoin as payment for video games and other online media. In July , researchers published a paper showing that by November bitcoin commerce was no longer driven by "sin" activities but instead by legitimate enterprises. In November , the Swiss Railway operator SBB CFF upgraded all their automated ticket machines so that bitcoin could be bought from them using the scanner on the ticket machine to scan the bitcoin address on a phone app.
Bitcoin generates more academic interest year after year; the number of Google Scholar articles published mentioning bitcoin grew from 83 in , to in , and in Also, the academic Ledger journal published its first issue. It is edited by Peter Rizun. The number of businesses accepting bitcoin continues to increase. In January , NHK reported the number of online stores accepting bitcoin in Japan had increased 4.
Bitcoin gains more legitimacy among lawmakers and legacy financial companies. For example, Japan passed a law to accept bitcoin as a legal payment method,  and Russia has announced that it will legalize the use of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. In March , the number of GitHub projects related to bitcoin passed 10, Exchange trading volumes continue to increase.
In June , the bitcoin symbol was encoded in Unicode version The split has been called the Bitcoin Cash hard fork. On 6 December the software marketplace Steam announced that it would no longer accept bitcoin as payment for its products, citing slow transactions speeds, price volatility, and high fees for transactions. On 24 January , the online payment firm Stripe announced that it would phase out its support for bitcoin payments by late April , citing declining demand, rising fees and longer transaction times as the reasons.
Among the factors which may have contributed to this rise were the European sovereign-debt crisis —particularly the — Cypriot financial crisis —statements by FinCEN improving the currency's legal standing and rising media and Internet interest.
Nakamoto was responsible for creating the majority of the official bitcoin software and was active in making modifications and posting technical information on the bitcoin forum. The New Yorker's investigation brought up at least two possible candidates: Michael Clear and Vili Lehdonvirta. Fast Company' s investigation brought up circumstantial evidence linking an encryption patent application filed by Neal King, Vladimir Oksman and Charles Bry on 15 August , and the bitcoin.
The patent application contained networking and encryption technologies similar to bitcoin's, and textual analysis revealed that the phrase " The two researchers based their suspicion on an analysis of the network of bitcoin transactions. Nakamoto's involvement with bitcoin does not appear to extend past mid Other clues suggested that Nakamoto was British: A newspaper headline he had encoded in the genesis block came from the UK-published newspaper The Times , and both his forum posts and his comments in the bitcoin source code used British English spellings, such as "optimise" and "colour".
An Internet search by an anonymous blogger of texts similar in writing to the bitcoin whitepaper suggests Nick Szabo 's "bit gold" articles as having a similar author. Her methods and conclusion drew widespread criticism. The real identity of Satoshi Nakamoto still remains a matter of dispute. A fork referring to a blockchain is what happens when a blockchain splits into two paths forward.
Forks on the bitcoin network regularly occur as part of the mining process. They happen when two miners find a block at a similar point in time. As a result, the network briefly forks. This fork is subsequently resolved by the software which automatically chooses the longest chain, thereby orphaning the extra blocks added to the shorter chain that were dropped by the longer chain.
A blockchain can also fork when developers change rules in the software used to determine which transactions are valid. On 12 March , a bitcoin miner running version 0. This created a split or "fork" in the blockchain since computers with the recent version of the software accepted the invalid block and continued to build on the diverging chain, whereas older versions of the software rejected it and continued extending the blockchain without the offending block.
This split resulted in two separate transaction logs being formed without clear consensus, which allowed for the same funds to be spent differently on each chain. In response, the Mt. Gox exchange temporarily halted bitcoin deposits. Miners resolved the split by downgrading to version 0. User funds largely remained unaffected and were available when network consensus was restored.
Additionally, FinCEN claimed regulation over American entities that manage bitcoins in a payment processor setting or as an exchanger: