The goal of this article is to review the growth of Bitcoin as a whole over 2015 compared with 2014. This article will be broken down into months, covering January-December. Bitcoin’s price over the months will be explained simply rather than in-depth for the sake of brevity. I hope you enjoy a review of 2015!
Disclaimer: The author is invested in Bitcoin
Before jumping into 2015, we will establish some key facts that will be revisited at the conclusion of the article. These statistics will be very important for calculating Bitcoin’s growth over 2015 and will allow us to make predictions about how Bitcoin might progress over 2016.
Estimated wallets: 17.4 Million wallets (hosted + desktop + mobile)
Estimated daily transactions: 124,601
Estimated daily volume: $72,475,849
Bitcoin difficulty: 93,448,670,796
Bitcoin Hash rate: 789,710,965.71 Gh/S
Source: Quandl, Bitcoin Wisdom, Blockchain.info
Bitcoin as a whole has become more global with shifts that signal growth internationally rather than just in a few large countries. Bitcoin is becoming more accessible to common people who do not consider themselves to be highly tech savvy. As a whole, Bitcoin has grown significantly this year. While the number of wallets didn’t grow as much as I had predicted in my 2014 year in review article, I was almost spot on with the number of daily transactions. Transaction volume has increased drastically this year over last and Bitcoin is flowing more than ever before as more and more people get involved. Hashrate didn’t increase as much as I had expected, but predicting shifts in mining technology and miner trends is very difficult. When Bitcoin block rewards halve again in July 2016, things will get even more unpredictable.
Without further ado, I will go through the months of 2015 and discuss major news and show price changes without speculating on what caused the changes in Bitcoin’s price.
Peaking at $318, Bitcoin’s price settled at $217 by the end of the month
Storj, a decentralized cloud storage was proposed by Shawn Wilkinson, Tome Boshevski and Josh Brandof. Since the announcement, the Storj project has advanced significantly and is currently working on testing the platform through different test groups. Storj, based on blockchain technology, allows for the distribution of data storage across a network and allows users to rent their excess hard drive space. Farmers will be able to control what type of content they store on their drives with the project.
Partnering with Coinbase, Braintree, a subsidiary of Paypal, launched beta testing for Bitcoin integration on their platform. This development marks the advancement of mainstream Bitcoin adoption and was one of the major pieces of news in January. Since their testing, Braintree has integrated Bitcoin for merchants.
Bitcoin’s price peaked and settled at $262 in February.
Ross Ulbricht was found guilty of all 7 of his charges, including computer hacking, drug trafficking, and running a criminal enterprise. Following the trial, other black market marketplace in the deep web soon replaced the original Silk Road. Since the original Silk Road, online black markets have taken precautions to increase security and anonymity, continuing the on-going war on drugs and online crime.
Chinese Bitcoin exchange BTER had a cold wallet hacked and lost 7,170 bitcoins, worth almost $2 million at the time of the theft. After the theft, BTER froze the entire site to figure out the issue. BTER has since recovered from the theft and continues to remain in business.
Peaking at $296, Bitcoin’s price settled at $246 by the end of the month.
Bitlicense received many revisions, showing that the NYDFS was willing to listen to people in the digital currency community. The revisions made to the proposal increased the requirements to run an exchange and provide personal information of any employees with access to customer funds. Just as the previous version, the proposal included exemptions for companies developing Bitcoin protocol for non-financial means and software developers working on projects.
A report by Goldman Sachs revealed how important China is in Bitcoin’s development. The study found that 8 out of every 10 trades involved the Chinese yuan in both selling and buying. According to the company, the surge was believed to be caused by waning confidence in the Chinese economy and weakening Yuan value. Goldman Sachs also believed that young investors were looking to invest in something other than the stock market. Transaction volume increased significantly during march, hinting at a larger growth for Bitcoin outside of the United States
Peaking at $260, Bitcoin’s price settled at $232 by the end of the month.
Following a criminal complaint in federal court, two former US federal agents that investigated Silk Road were charged with stealing Bitcoin and extorting money from Ross Ulbricht along with other criminal charges. Former agents Shaun Bridges and Carl Force were charged with wire fraud and money laundering, theft of government property and conflict of interest. The information that Agent Force was secretly investigated during the trial but the defense was barred from using the information during the trial.
peaking at $246, Bitcoin’s price settled at $226 by the end of the month.
U.S District Judge Katherine Forrest declared Ross Ulbricht’s actions to be a carefully planned life’s work rather than a mistake of youth. Consequently, Ulbricht was labeled as a “drug kingpin” and person “who attempted to arrange no less than five murders.” In addition to the life sentence Ulbricht received, he had to pay a sum of $184 million, the amount of the alleged gains of sales on the Silk Road. Judge Forrest used Ulbricht to set an example on the war on drugs and online crime.
Bitcoin’s price peaked and settled at at $258 by the end of the month.
Bitcoin was banned in Ecuador following a government e-money initiative to establish a new currency. Resolution 064-2015-M decreed Bitcoin illegal in the country and paved the way for banks to integrate the new e-money established. Citing lack of supervision and volatility, the resolution passed and is currently in progress for full integration within the country.
The final draft of Bitlicense was released to the public receiving very mixed reactions from experts in the digital currency sector. Some embrace the regulation and see at as helpful to the growth of Bitcoin as a whole where others see it as very restrictive for companies seeking to operate or provide services to citizens of New York.
Peaking at $311, Bitcoin’s price settled at $280 by the end of the month.
Ben Lawsky, one of the leading contributors towards Bitlicense received criticism from the Bitcoin community for resigning from the NYDFS and forming his own cryptocurrency consulting firm in the private sector. Accused of conflict of interest and having direct political connections, Lawsky’s firm coming to light shortly after Bitlicense upset many in the Bitcoin community. Lawsky openly acknowledged the accusations but dismissed them, stating that he no longer has power in the NYDFS.
Peaking at $283, Bitcoin’s price settled at $229 by the end of the month.
After being arrested in Japan for allegations of system manipulation on Mt.GOX, Mark Karpeles admitted to tampering with user balances for personal gain. Having unmatched power within the company, Karpeles gave into temptation and tampered with user balances for personal gains in the millions of dollars. This was another piece of drama in the ongoing Mt.GOX catastrophe which resulted in a major hit for Bitcoin’s health on a whole.
Peaking at $245, Bitcoin’s price settled at $237 by the end of the month.
Following his arrest in August, Mark Karpeles was charged with Embezzlement in Japan. Depending on the results of his trial, Karpeles could face up to ten years in prison for stealing over $2 million USD worth of customer money to fund his own personal projects. Creditors of Mt.GOX are still waiting to recover their funds.
Peaking at $331, Bitcoin’s price settled to $325 by the end of the month.
Advancements were made in quantum computing as a team from the University of New South Wales developed a device that allows two Qubits to communicate with one another. Many are concerned about the impact quantum computing will have on Bitcoin, but research shows that the impact of quantum computing could be addressed and that quantum computing would not be available in bulk at first, giving Bitcoin to adapt to the new age of computing and implement measures to increase the security of the network.
Peaking at $484, Bitcoin’s price settled at $362 by the end of the month.
The final Silk Road auction took place with around 44,000 bitcoins being sold to various buyers of separate blocks. This was the third and final SIlk Road auction to take place in which seized bitcoins were sold to the highest bidders.
November was by far the most exciting month in terms of Bitcoin’s price. Market shifts caused huge growth for Bitcoin’s value over this month. Many people believed the Chinese Bitcoin market to be responsible for the shifts and upward pressure.
Bitcoin Black Friday was once again a major success as Bitcoin users scrambled to find great deals with their BTC. Transactions and transaction volume spiked on Black friday and remained very high through the end of the year, signaling global growth.
Finally, the first Blockchain backed index came online, signalling a major innovation and an important development in bringing blockchain technology to the financial market.
Peaking at $466, Bitcoin’s price settled at $430 by the end of the month.
The blocksize debates continued to heat up in December as proponents from both sides attempted to advance their cases for blocksize. The majority of miners do want to increase blocksize in order to generate higher transaction fees which will eventually be required to sustain the network. Others argue that the fees associated with transactions with an increased block size will stifle global adoption and make Bitcoin less attractive to new users. Decisions on the block size debate will need to be made in 2016 which will either result in the continuation of the protocol or a hard fork to implement larger block size.
2015 is deemed by many to be the year of the blockchain. With so many new startups using blockchain technology and the global growth of Bitcoin as a whole last year, 2016 is likely to continue the growth and allow for further Bitcoin adoption and the integration of the blockchain into financial institutions around the globe. As a whole, Bitcoin’s market seemed very unimpressive up until November, where massive gains and recoveries were made. While the market is still very young, 2015 was very important in advancing the currency and the underlying technology behind it.
Bitcoin data strongly suggests that Bitcoin is growing on a global scale now rather than just in a few main countries. As people continue to build on the blockchain and develop new products and services, Bitcoin adoption should continue to increase as consumers are given more buying power and discounts for using Bitcoin. As utility increases for both merchants and consumers, payment processing companies will expand to offer Bitcoin-based services globally.
Many Bitcoin 2.0 projects were realized in 2015 and as a result, the utility of Bitcoin was greatly increased for the average Bitcoin user. Bitcoin is becoming more than just a digital currency, it’s becoming a globally recognized technology with the capability of empowering people to take control of their finances and gain the benefits of savings and other technology-based improvements which are improving their quality of life.
Unlike last year, I will not predict the statistics for 2016 as there are too many factors at play. With the block size debates, predicting statistics for the end of 2016 would be very hard if not impossible without knowing whether or not block size will be increased in a hard fork. With the block reward halving in July, things are even more unpredictable. So instead of quantitative predictions for 2016 I’ll close with my prediction for 2016.
I believe 2016 will be very important for Bitcoin both in maturing its market and in expanding blockchain technology throughout global business. The blockchain is being explored by more and more financial institutes and has the power to revolutionize money in general. I believe we will see big changes for Bitcoin in 2016 and huge advances in the blockchain. Should the block size be increased, sidechains could become more viable and lead to the development of even more applications of Bitcoin.
What do you think will happen with Bitcoin in 2016? Let us know in the comments below!
Images via Pixabay, Storj, and Shutterstock
Drew is an undergraduate student at the University of Texas at Dallas, majoring in Business. He is an active member of the Cryptocurrency community, and enjoys collecting, trading, and writing about various coins. Outside of the digital currency world, Drew tends to spend his time with friends, playing video games, or studying. Feel free to email him with news tips or questions at [email protected]
1 Hova Villas Brighton & Hove
BN3 3DH United Kingdom
All rights reserved by Bitcoinist Ltd. | 2016.