January has been an exciting month for Bitcoin. We have seen a number of news articles about Bitcoin from various mainstream media sources, nearly all of which have been positive, as well as reports of record-breaking revenues from Bitcoin businesses, increasing adoption and, last but not least, a rapid growth in the Bitcoin price. Over the past three months since WordPress started accepting Bitcoin for its premium services, the mood within the Bitcoin community has turned much more optimistic, and with good reason; many of the scams and scandals that had been holding Bitcoin back in 2012 are now well past us, and the currency’s positive fundamentals are showing through ever more clearly. Many have predicted that 2013 would be a landmark year for Bitcoin, and so far, reports from all sides of the Bitcoin community show that these predictions have been spot on.
Bitcoin And Gambling
- The popular Bitcoin dice game SatoshiDice announced record-breaking profits in the months of December and January, earning 17000 BTC and 20000 BTC ($340,000 and $400,000) in the past two months, respectively. S.DICE share prices on MPEX are now more than double the original IPO price.
- BitZino reported that in 2012, users cashed out a total of 28,986 BTC, bet a total of 664,192 BTC and earned the company 10,137 BTC in profits.
- An established name in the rapidly growing Bitcoin poker industry, Seals with Clubs, has reported total withdrawals of 110,587 BTC over the past sixteen months, and over 1,000 unique players in the months of December.
- Infiniti Poker announced that it is set to go live in February, offering Bitcoin as a deposit and withdrawal option.
Rise Of The ASICs
- After months of setbacks and delays on the part of all three of their major competitors, the Bitcoin ASIC manufacturing company Avalon became the first to ship the long-awaited hyper-efficient mining rigs on January 19.
- On January 31, Bitcoin developer Jeff Garzik was the first to receive his shipment, and reported statistics that were every bit as impressive as Avalon promised: the desktop computer-sized, $1300, 400-watt machine achieved a hashrate of 67 GH/s, earning its owner over $200 per day until the remaining Avalon devices and later, those of their competitors, are turned on and the Bitcoin network difficulty adjusts to compensate.
- Butterfly Labs has announced what appears to be a final shipping schedule, with the last update showing a plan to ship them around February 18.
- BTCFPGA’s bASIC project ran into further delays, exacerbated by the upcoming Chinese New Year celebrations, and internal organizational issues nearly collapsed the company, leading to a 90% refund rate and the project being sold to an obscure Canadian company known as “CAN-ELECTRIC”, under which the bASIC has now been rebranded as the “Ehasher”
Merchants And Business
- BitPay announced that it has reached a mileseone of 10,000 transactions since the company’s inception, with over 2,400 merchants as of mid-January.
- BitPay also announced that it raised a sum of $510,000 from a number of Silicon Valley and Bitcoin investors, and will use the funds to hire more developers and move its operations to Atlanta, a city known for its burgeoning financial industry.
- Multiple major merchant service providers and Bitcoin exchanges announced incremental improvements to fees and availability. BitPay lowered its fee for international bank deposits to 2.99%, WalletBit expanded its bank deposit option to 42 countries, and Coinbase increased its buy and sell limits to 100 BTC and 1,000 BTC ($2,000 and $20,000) per day, respectively.
Welcome To Bitcoin!
- Blink, a German magazine dedicated to libertarian politics, released a special issue dedicated to Bitcoin, and began accepting Bitcoin for both the special issue and its previous releases (releases 1-3 German only).
- The Gold Anti-Trust Action committee (GATA), a group dedicated to providing support for gold and silver investors and exposing market manipulation in the precious metals industry, announced that it began accepting donations in Bitcoin.
- The Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, an organization dedicated to digital democracy and freedoms of speech and information in Iceland, began accepting donations in Bitcoin.
- WrapBootstrap, a marketplace for premium themes based around the Twitter Bootstrap web development framework, began allowing customers to make purchases with Bitcoin, becoming the tenth most popular website in the world to accept Bitcoin.
- Open Source Ecology, a group dedicated to developing the Global Village Construction Set described as “an open source, low-cost, high performance technological platform that allows for the easy, DIY fabrication of the 50 different Industrial Machines that it takes to build a sustainable civilization with modern comforts.”, also began accepting Bitcoin.
Off The Charts
- Bitcoin’s price broke through the $15.4 high that the currency set in August 2012 and then surged past $20, leaving only about a single week in June 2011 during which the currency’s price was ever higher than it is now.
- Bitcoin’s market capitalization reached a new all-time high of about $235 million, surpassing the peak of the currency’s June 2011 spike by about four percent.
- The Google Trends volume spiked up suddenly to roughly the same level as its brief January and August 2012 peaks.
- The Blockchain.info wallet surpassed 100,000 users, and its daily transaction volume hit a massive new all-time high of 978,000 BTC.
- If expressed in USD, January 30 saw the highest MtGox USD trading volume in all of Bitcoin history.
- The number of transactions per day hit a new all-time high, as did the number of transactions excluding popular addresses, reaching 58834 and 23619, respectively.
- Exactly one year after MegaUpload was shut down with the cooperation of US and New Zealand authorities, Kim Dotcom released his new file hosting platform Mega to the public. However, pro-copyright group StopFileLockers quickly began a campaign working with PayPal to shut down Mega resellers’ ability to receive payments through PayPal, successfully doing so to four out of ten resellers. Soon, one of the affected resellers, hosting.co.uk, began reselling Mega services through Bitcoin.
- Online Bitcoin information site Blockchain.info released a version of its popular online wallet service in the form of Firefox and Chrome extensions, making the wallet’s security close to that provided by desktop applications.
- Emirates Airlines‘ Open Skies magazine published an article about Bitcoin in their January print edition.
- Bloomberg.com ran an article about Bitcoin on their website, entitled “Bitcoin’s Gains May Fuel Central Bank Concerns“
Following two straight months of significant breakthroughs in November and December, the events that happened in January could hardly have been better. Now, more and more people are reporting that Bitcoin is entering the mainstream consciousness once again, and the conception that Bitcoin is a fad well past its time, so popular at the end of 2011 following the currency’s steep 93% drop in price, is being beaten further and further back with every passing week. Now that what may well have been turn out to be the toughest period in Bitcoin’s history is past, there is more and more reason to be optimistic and look to an ever brighter path onward.
Vitalik Buterin is a co-founder of Bitcoin Magazine who has been involved in the Bitcoin community since 2011, and has contributed to Bitcoin both as a writer and the developer of a fork of bitcoinjs-lib, pybitcointools and multisig.info, as well as one of the developers behind Egora. Now, Vitalik's primary job is as the main developer of Ethereum, a project which intends to create a next-generation smart contract and decentralized application platform that allows people to create any kind of decentralized application on top of a blockchain that can be imagined.