Happy Birthday Bitcoin! Here’s a Look at Bitcoin’s 11th Year by the Numbers

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On January 3, 2009, the pseudonymous developer(s) Satoshi Nakamoto bootstrapped the Bitcoin network by mining its first ever block, block 0. The Genesis Block, as it has become known, came etched with a message that would invariably position Bitcoin as an alternative monetary system to rival the realm of central banking: “Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks,” the memo read, in reference to a headline about the U.K. government’s actions during the global recession of 2008 and 2009.

The rest, as you no doubt know, is history. Eleven years on and Bitcoin has harnessed the fervor of a community that was inspired by the philosophical tenets embedded in the Genesis Block message. Bitcoin’s meteoric success in the past decade defied the expectations of believers and skeptics alike, and with a thriving market that has captured $130 billion in value, it has graduated from fringe interest to a global economic phenomenon. 

To commemorate Bitcoin’s 11th birthday and usher in a new decade, we compiled some stats to plot Bitcoin’s growth from 2019 to 2020 and provide a hard picture of the state of the network today.

2019 to 2020 in Bitcoin: Ushering in the New Decade 

From 2019 to 2020, we saw the following year-over-year changes to Bitcoin’s market, network and technical infrastructure:

At the beginning of 2019, 601 contributors had provided 19,104 commits to the Bitcoin Core Github; these figures would grow to 22,536 commits from 678 unique contributors by 2020.

Bitcoin’s price increased from $3,860 to $7,180, an 85 percent increase from the onset of 2019 to the onset of 2020. This accompanied a doubling of bitcoin’s market capitalization from $65.5 billion to $131 billion.

Amidst the wider crypto market, bitcoin’s dominance (i.e., its share of market value compared to that of altcoins) climbed from 51.8 to 68.3 percent.

Bitcoin’s supply grew from 17,457,634 to 18,135,846 over the course of the year, an annualized inflation of roughly 3.8 percent.

Bitcoin’s daily transaction volume grew fivefold over 2019, from $4.3 billion to $20.2 billion by the first day of 2020.

On the first day of 2019, Bitcoin’s network logged 235,813 transactions; this would increase a modest 6 percent by the first day of the new decade to 251,867. Notably, over this timeframe, the percentage of SegWit transactions out of the total transactions surged from 33.4 percent to 62.2 percent.

The value of daily transactions on the network shot up from $1.4 billion on January 1, 2019, to $4.1 billion to ring in the new year in 2020. As the value of transactions on the network trends with the price, the network’s all-time high transaction volume in 2019 was $21.3 billion on June 18, 2019.

The highest median bitcoin transaction fee in 2019 was $3.55, while the lowest median fee last year was $0.03. The latest data available for January 2020 shows a median fee of $0.07.

The total number of unspent transactions (aka UTXOs, or bitcoin that haven’t been spent and included as an input for a new transaction) rose from 49,591,771 to 64,530,177 over the course of 2019, a 30 percent increase.

Bitcoin’s blockchain size grew 29 percent, from 198 GB to 256 GB from the beginning of 2019 to the beginning of 2020.

Bitcoin’s hash rate experienced an explosive increase over 2019, jumping from 42 exahashes per second (EH/s) (or, 42,000,000,000,000,000,000 hashes per second) to 112 EH/s.

Mining difficulty more than doubled from the beginning to the end of 2019, rising from 6 T to 13 T.

Bitcoin node count across the board unfortunately dropped from 2019 to 2020. The total number of listening nodes (i.e., nodes that are publically open to connect to other nodes) fell from 6,344 to 5,859, a 7 percent decrease. The total number of active nodes fell a drastic 25 percent from 64,746 to 48,141.

The number of total active addresses rose from 433,715 to 524,360, a nudge of 20 percent.

The total number of (known) Lightning Network channels jumped from 21,130 to 36,130 by the end of 2019 for a 41 percent increase. The average capacity per channel decreased from 3,115,316 sats to 2,721,418 sats, a fall of 12 percent on the year.

2,297 Lightning Network nodes were operational at the beginning of 2019. This increased 114 percent to 4,923 by the start of 2020. The average capacity per node, however, fell similarly to the average capacity per channel — from 45,781,712 sats to 34,693,516 sats, a 24 percent decrease.

525 bitcoin were locked in Lightning channels for a cumulative value of $1.9 million at the onset of 2019. At the time of writing, 853 bitcoin worth $6.2 million are locked in Lightning channels, representing a 62 percent increase in total capacity and a 226 percent increase in the value of this capacity.

The number of cut channels on the Lightning Network (i.e., channels between two nodes that serve as a bridge to otherwise disparate nodes by providing a routing path) increased from 518 to 1,567 from 2019 to 2020. These channels comprise 31.8 percent of the network at the time of writing.