Bitcoin’s price has hit a new all-time high earlier this year near $42,000 and it’s so widely used that PayPal has started letting its users buy the cryptocurrency on its platform. The Bitcoin network itself is now at capacity, with well over 300,000 transactions being conducted per day.
Block sizes have been steadily improving and scaling solutions such as Segregated Witness (SegWit) have been implemented. The average block size is now of 1.3 MB and there are people transacting off-chain using the Lightning Network (LN).
Newcomers to the space see a popular cryptocurrency, with demand for transactions being so high they have to pay premiums to get their transactions included in the next block. It hasn’t, however, always been like this.
Bitcoin was launched in 2009 and for the first few months, most transactions being made across its network were either tests or of very low value. At the time, it was possible to mine BTC using a laptop and the coins you received, while high in number, were essentially worthless.
The first document purchase using Bitcoins was on May 18, 2010, when ^Laszlo Hanyecz published a post on the Bitcointalk forum telling other users he was willing to pay 10,000 bitcoins for two pizzas. Most did not take the action as they could be losing money on the then nearly worthless coins.
Four days later, someone accepted the offer. Forum member Jeremy Sturdivant paid for two Papa John’s pizzas to be delivered to Laszlo, and received 10,000 BTC in return. Those 10,000 BTC that were barely worth two pizzas are now worth over $300 million.
In 2010, hundreds of transactions were being processed on Bitcoin’s network per day. The figure grew to 1,000 in 2011 but never got past 10,000 per day until the launch of a new application triggered a surge in transactions per day.
That application was SatoshiDice, a simple gambling application that is estimated to have helped transactions on the network surge five-fold. SatoshiDice was launched back in April 2012, and it’s possible to see on BTC transaction charts how much of a difference it made.
In May 2012, over 30,000 transactions were being processed per day, and in late 2013 over 100,000 transactions were processed in a single day. SatoshiDice was launched by Erik Voorhees, the founder of ShapeShift, and was sold in July 2013 for 126,315 BTC, at the time worth around $11.47 million.
Naturally, competition set in and more and more gambling applications and online bitcoin casinos were launched, further helping bitcoin’s popularity grow. The cryptocurrency’s value grew along with its popularity, as more and more use cases appeared.
It’s worth noting that nowadays, it’s unclear what impact cryptocurrency gambling has on the bitcoin blockchain. On the blockchains of other cryptocurrencies, including TRON, ETH, and EOS, gambling applications and games are still very popular.
While the Ethereum blockchain is seemingly dominated by the Decentralized Finance (DeFi) space and other games on it, the TRON blockchain appears to be much more gambling-focused. According to TRONScan it processed over 3 million transactions per day, but it’s unknown how many are gambling-related.
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