The saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words, and pictures are not lacking in Bitcoin history (BTC). Some of them are common, while others are loaded with symbolism.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a guy holding a makeshift sign on a sheet, or a woman carrying a “string bouquet.” But all portray some phase of this almost 13-year history of cryptocurrency.
Therefore, today’s list will bring five images that are part of this story, from random photos in the street to images recorded at the highest levels of power. Check each of them together with their respective stories.
The Mt. Gox case
In the early days of BTC history, the Mt. Gox exchange reigned supreme in the world. The platform created by Mark Karpeles accounted for 80% of the market’s trading volume by 2013. However, Mt. Gox had already suffered two major attacks, a prelude that the worst was yet to come.
The last (and biggest) attack on the exchange occurred in February 2014, when approximately 850,000 BTC was stolen from Mt. Gox. Of these, 100,000 were from the exchange itself and 750,000 from its customers. In all, the theft totaled around US$473 million at the price at the time. The attack decimated the savings of thousands of people and simultaneously decimated the price of BTC.
Since then, Karpeles and Mt. Gox have found themselves in a tangle of processes that continue to this day. Some of the money has been returned, while most customers are still struggling to get a refund. The image above was marked as a representation of what was, to this day, one of the biggest hacker attacks on an exchange.
The Deutsche Bank coincidence
Deutsche Bank announced, in August 2019, a global restructuring plan for its operations. As a result, the bank decided to cut 18,000 jobs worldwide. At the time, it was suspected that the German bank was about to fail, so it decided to cut costs.
This photo was taken in 2019 and reverberated because of its symbolism. After all, there were two people, supposedly fired by the bank, carrying a bag with the word “Bitcoins” in front of a branch of the biggest bank in Europe. The image known as Bitcoin Bag Man won the world in an article written by the newspaper Financial Times.
However, the symbolism soon turned out to be a coincidence. After gaining worldwide repercussion, a tailoring shop called Fielding & Nicholson, based in London, denied the story. The men in the photo were not fired bankers but tailors working for the company.
Tailoring gained prominence at the time for accepting BTC as a means of payment. In this way, the name “Bitcoins” on the bag was a kind of advertising – the bag was manufactured by the company itself. Despite having destroyed the symbology of the photo, the company profited from the sale of the bags, which quickly sold out and became a collector’s item for many people.
Andreas Antonopoulos is one of the greatest educators and experts on BTC. Professor, author and speaker, he was one of the first to talk about cryptocurrency. His pioneering spirit was such that, in fact, Antonopoulos even gave lectures to practically empty auditoriums.
This image, taken in 2013, shows one of these lectures. At the time, the researcher was talking about the neutrality of the BTC, that is, the fact that anyone could use the cryptocurrency. “The BTC is a libertarian currency. Anyone from any culture, religion, country or language can adopt the BTC”, said Antonopoulos at the time.
When this photo was taken, the BTC was relatively unknown, but its value was already over $100. However, few people were pioneers enough to check out this almost intimate talk in an empty auditorium.
Flowers or cables?
This photo marked what is perhaps the most important phenomenon for the BTC in 2021: China’s ban on mining activity. However, the photo also generated a big surprise for those who didn’t grasp its meaning right away.
Taken in China in 2021, the photo is the latest on the list. At first, many people simply saw a woman holding what looked like a withered bouquet of flowers. However, a closer look – and with the entire photo exposed – shows that they are not flowers. Those are sources used in BTC mining, which were being removed from China in search of other places.
Consequently, this image became the symbol of two important facts. The first, of course, was the exodus of miners, who, expelled from the Chinese regions, had to migrate their machines in a hurry. Part of this migration had to be done by rudimentary means, such as carts or even on foot.
Finally, the image represents decentralization and the end of Chinese concentration in the BTC hash rate. Since then, countries like the United States and Kazakhstan became the home of these miners. In short, the “bouquets of flowers” came out of the clutches of a dictatorship and went in search of freer lands.
Bitcoin vs Fed Presidency
You may not know the name Christian Langalis, but you certainly know the picture above. Langalis, which became the Bitcoin Sign Guy, was responsible for creating one of the most famous and emblematic memes in the cryptosphere.
It all started just over four years ago, on July 13, 2017. During a meeting of the US central bank (Fed), the camera focused on then Fed Chair Janet Yellen. As she spoke, Langalis waited for the right moment and brought up a sign that said “Buy Bitcoin.” The moment was recorded in history, in videos and in the photo above.
With a pen and paper, Langalis took the BTC name to its peak in terms of publicity. From then on, the price of cryptocurrency soared and knowledge about BTC only grew. This image is used whenever someone wants to recommend buying BTC or even as a meme.
Now US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has been a staunch opponent of decentralized cryptocurrencies. This opposition may have a first and last name: Christian Langalis, along with its now legendary plaque.
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