With 12.17 million bitcoins mined into existence, Bitcoin turns 5 years old.
2013 started with Bitcoin's value
sitting at $13 each and the year ended with Bitcoin rising to parity with gold
($1242) before closing out the year at $811, representing a 6000%+ increase.
2013 was the year Bitcoin became legally recognized as a currency
and form of money.
Western governments cautiously examined Bitcoin
, while some Eastern countries directly warned their citizens against using Bitcoin as a speculative vehicle. China outright banned
it's banks and payment processors from engaging with Bitcoin, while Chinese citizens can continue to trade without interference.
Intense media interest surrounding Bitcoin stories, such as the Silk Road bust
, Bitcoin Savings & Trust alleged ponzi scheme and the roller coaster that is Bitcoin's value, fueled mainstream awareness.
As a result, "bitcoin" was the 96th most searched term on Google for 2013.
2013 was also the year of the ASIC Bitcoin mining machines
taking the network speed
from 25TH/s to an earth shattering 11,000 TH/s by years end. The corresponding rise in difficulty meant CPU and most GPU mining
was a fruitless exercise. The huge increase also made a "51% attack" on the network far less possible.
, the most popular Bitcoin web wallet, claims to have reached almost 1 million wallets by the end of 2013, where Coinbase
has 18,000 merchants and 732,000 wallets and BitPay
has over 12,000 merchants signed up for the service.