Seattle entrepreneur Will O'Brien started learning about the Bitcoin digital currency technology in late 2012. He said it didn't take him long to realize that what was really at stake was the transformation of the financial services system.
"This was the beginning of the Internet all over again," said O'Brien, a former executive in charge of corporate business development at Big Fish Games who is now CEO of www.BitGo.com. "This was something magical, where companies could be built and an entrepreneur wanting to take a big risk could go after an opportunity here."
Those are strong words about a form of virtual cash that many people outside of the technology world still haven't heard of or can't understand. They're also what you would expect from a startup CEO invested in a new technology.
But some key 2013 events regarding Bitcoin may add value to O'Brien's statements:
* The infamous Silk Road marketplace, which allowed bitcoins for buying drugs and other illegal activities, was shut down by the FBI. The Bitcoin technology itself, however, didn't fade away.
* A U.S. Senate committee heard testimony about Bitcoin's risks - but also heard about the potential benefits for global commerce from no less an expert than then-Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.
* Large and small companies started accepting bitcoins as payment alternatives for goods and services. "We're seeing tens of thousands of merchants accepting bitcoins today - from Wordpress to Overstock to Zynga," O'Brien said. "You can buy a grilled cheese sandwich at a food truck in Seattle. You can buy a ticket on Virgin Galactic."
January 6, 2014
SPACEX SUCCESSFULLY LAUNCHES THAICOM 6 SATELLITE TO GEOSTATIONARY TRANSFER ORBIT
THAICOM 6 mission marks second successful GTO flight for the upgraded Falcon 9 launch vehicle
Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida – Today, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) successfully launched the THAICOM 6 satellite for leading Asian satellite operator THAICOM. Falcon 9 delivered THAICOM 6 to its targeted 295 x 90,000 km geosynchronous transfer orbit at 22.5 degrees inclination. The Falcon 9 launch vehicle performed as expected, meeting 100% of mission objectives.
Falcon 9 lifted off from Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40) at 5:06 PM Eastern Time. Approximately 184 seconds into flight, Falcon 9’s second-stage Merlin vacuum engine ignited to begin a five minute, 35 second burn that delivered the THAICOM 6 satellite into its parking orbit. Eighteen minutes after injection into the parking orbit, the second stage engine relit for just over one minute to carry the THAICOM 6 satellite to its final geostationary transfer orbit. The restart of the Falcon 9 second stage is a requirement for all geostationary transfer missions.
“Today’s successful launch of the THAICOM 6 satellite marks the eighth successful flight in a row for Falcon 9,” said Gwynne Shotwell, President of SpaceX. “SpaceX greatly appreciates THAICOM’s support throughout this campaign and we look forward to a busy launch schedule in 2014.”
The THAICOM 6 mission marks Falcon 9’s second flight to a geosynchronous transfer orbit and begins a regular cadence of launches planned for SpaceX in 2014. SpaceX has nearly 50 launches on manifest, of which over 60% are for commercial customers.
This launch also marks the third of three qualification flights needed to certify the Falcon 9 to fly missions under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. Once Falcon 9 is certified, SpaceX will be eligible to compete to launch national security satellites for the U.S. Air Force.
SpaceX designs, manufactures, and launches the world's most advanced rockets and spacecraft. The company was founded in 2002 by Elon Musk to revolutionize space transportation, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets. Today, SpaceX is advancing the boundaries of space technology through its Falcon launch vehicles and Dragon spacecraft. SpaceX is a private company owned by management and employees, with minority investments from Founders Fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Valor Equity Partners. The company has more than 3,000 employees in California, Texas, Washington, D.C., and Florida. For more information, visit www.spacex.com.
The world's first fully decentralized cryptographic financial network, Bitcoin, launched five years ago today. The years since then have been a wild ride. The currency's value has risen from nothing to billions of dollars, and millions have been invested in Bitcoin-related startups. Here's a brief synopsis of Bitcoin's most important milestones.
Jan. 3, 2009: Satoshi Nakamoto launches the Bitcoin network by creating the"genesis block," the first entry in Bitcoin's global transaction register. It includes the following text: "The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks."
Jan. 11: Some people immediately recognize that if Bitcoin catches on, its early users will get rich. Hal Finney estimates that if Bitcoin became the world's reserve currency, each Bitcoin could be worth as much as $10 million. "The possibility of generating coins today with a few cents of compute time may be quite a good bet," he says. Nakamoto agrees: "It might make sense just to get some in case it catches on." Finneymines bitcoins for a few days, but then he turns the program off because it makes his computer run too hot.
Jan. 12: The first Bitcoin transaction occurs, as Nakamoto sends some Bitcoins to Finney.
Aug. 15: Bitcoin is slowly attracting users. Tyler Gillies sends a note to the bitcoin-list e-mail list. "i just downloaded bitcoin, epic piece of software. the digital cash age has arrived." It was the only post to the mailing list that month.
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