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Bitcoin isn't just a digital currency; it's an international sensation that has helped bring about a massive technological revolution. Programmers are more invested in understanding blockchain than ever before thanks to this cryptocurrency, and the benefits of it keep paying off.
The world Bitcoin created is incredible. People are now talking about Bitcoin mining alternatives, talking about how to invest in Bitcoin, and even discussing how blockchain can end world poverty.
Great as it is, we're willing to bet that there are things you didn't know about Bitcoin. Here are some of the more obscure facts even diehard investors don't know.
There's actually kind of a battle going on about Bitcoin's future.
You might be aware that governments don't really like crypto. That's obvious. One of the things you didn't know about Bitcoin is that there's currently a bit of a fight when it comes to Bitcoin's future standing.
The original Bitcoin users, who were mostly hackers, engineers, and criminals, want to keep anonymity, and mostly want to avoid institutionalization. Banks and corporations, upon seeing its profitability, have started to take over.
Who will win this battle? No one knows.
The first financial transaction using Bitcoin was for two pizzas.
Ever wonder what the first Bitcoin transaction was? Believe it or not, the answer might surprise you. Many people assume that it was a drug deal or gun money. As some of the things you didn't know about Bitcoin are though, this answer is surprisingly wholesome.
The world's first ever real-life payment using Bitcoin happened on May 22, 2010. A programmer who had invested in 10,000 Bitcoins decided to spend them all on two pizzas from Papa John's.
The pizzas were allegedly delicious, but somehow, we're willing to bet that the programmer might be kicking himself. Had those 10,000 Bitcoins been saved, they would be worth a whopping $82 million or more today.
Today, people in the crypto world call May 22 Bitcoin Pizza Day.
The NSA knows who Satoshi Nakamoto is.
The NSA was very curious to find out who the founder of Bitcoin really was—and so they discovered it on their own. Using hardcore analysis of Satoshi's writing, they were able to find the person behind cryptocurrency. However, they never made his name public.
It's also assumed that the IRS has knowledge of the man or woman behind Bitcoin, but it's not confirmed.
Losing your private key to Bitcoin means you lose your Bitcoins—all of them.
If you don't already trade Bitcoins and just like to read any of the best-rated books on Bitcoin or about how blockchain can build a smarter electrical grid, this might be one of the things you didn't know about Bitcoin.
Bitcoin transactions are done using a public key and a private key. Your private key is the link that allows you to keep your Bitcoin wallet private and secure. No private key means you can't access the Bitcoins stored using that address. Scary, huh? On top of that, one of the things that no one tells you about investing in cryptocurrency is that it's pretty easy to get hacked out of your Bitcoin.
Bitcoin sparked a massive large-scale mining industry.
You might be aware that Bitcoin mining can be profitable—and at one point, you might have even considered getting some Bitcoin mining hardware too. Before you whip out your credit card, take pause.
Though you can make some profit, the window of small-scale Bitcoin profitability is shrinking. To make a sizable profit, you would need to buy mining hardware in bulk, and have enough storage space to ensure that your mining operation will stay cool.
One of the things you didn't know about Bitcoin is that the price of mining is increasing, and is rapidly approaching the point where large-scale mining companies are the only ones who can be profitable enough to be financially stable.
Many mining operations are now based in Asia, with more opening up every day. If you want to make more money, you might be better off looking at Bitcoin mining alternatives.
The Bitcoin network is currently more powerful than the best supercomputers in the world.
Decentralization means that we get to enjoy the computing power of a whole slew of different systems, all banded together to create something even more powerful. Currently, the Bitcoin system has power that scales over 64 exaFLOPS.
For reference, the 500 most powerful computers in the world have a combined computing power of a quarter of a single exaFLOP. All that combined Bitcoin mining power really makes a difference, doesn't it?
Terrorists have used Bitcoin as a way to fundraise.
It's no secret that one of Bitcoin's core strengths is being able to transmit large quantities of money across the globe—oftentimes untraceably, if coins are shuffled enough. This is what makes Bitcoin such a powerful piece of technology.
However, like other forms of upscale tech, this can be used for both good and evil. Among things you don't know about Bitcoin is who started asking for donations in Bitcoin.
In 2014, a person known only as Amreeki sent out a post online that explained that ISIS was having difficulties getting fiat currency donations due to international restrictions that were being enforced by the Iranian government. As a result, Amreeki advised donors to send Bitcoin.
After the Paris attacks in 2016, the EU began to crack down on transactions involving Bitcoin as a way to prevent further attacks. Even so, there is still reason to believe Bitcoin occasionally ends up in the hands of terrorists. No more wondering why governments hate Bitcoin, huh?
Due to the lengthy criminal activity associated with Bitcoin, the FBI has the second-largest Bitcoin wallet—with Satoshi Nakamoto being the one with the most coins.
It's scary, but true. The FBI has been using Bitcoin as a way to snare criminals for quite some time. When the FBI worked to shut down Silk Road (and the sites like it afterwards), it confiscated all the earnings that the illegal trade network had.
All the Bitcoin confiscated led to the FBI owning one of the largest sums of Bitcoin found.
Bitcoin was sent to space.
A physical representation was already shot into space thanks to the Bitcoin mining company known as Genesis Mining. The Bitcoin, along with a paper wallet, was tied to a weather balloon and sent off into the sky. After it reached over 20 kilometers into the sky, they added Bitcoin onto the paper wallet.
The Bitcoin wallet soared to a maximum height of 34 kilometers, which exceeded the stratosphere. (And they said the price of Bitcoin was sky high!)
Bitcoin uses way more electricity than you think.
It's no secret that Bitcoin mining takes a lot of energy. In fact, that's why people are worried that Bitcoin mining is killing the environment. What you might not realize is how much each little Bitcoin transaction can require in terms of energy.
A single Bitcoin transaction is so complex, a single transaction takes enough energy to power three homes. Even if you are a miner, this is one of those things you didn't know about Bitcoin.