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Data gathered by analytics firm Coin Metrics revealed that over 200,000 bitcoin have now been paid in transaction fees since it launched in 2009 – three months after its creator Satoshi Nakamotoa, a pseudonym, published the white paper unveiling it to the world for the first time. Nakamoto laid out the details of a “new electronic cash system that’s fully peer-to-peer” that negated the need for banks and other third parties, on 31 October 2008.

Its popularity has soared in recent years but despite transaction volume increasing considerably, the actual cost of transactions has fallen over the last year. This is thanks to the implementation of solutions like the Lightning Network, which helps speed up and simplify blockchain transactions.“Bitcoin users transacted consistently on the network throughout the year, and solutions like the Lightning Network grew in size,” Galen Danziger, co-founder of blockchain accelerator MouseBelt,” told The Independent

2019 has been relatively positive for bitcoin, especially when compared to the seemingly terminal decline the cryptocurrency market experienced in 2018. After peaking at close to $20,000 in December 2017, bitcoin fell to below $4,000 before finally making a recovery earlier this year. It still faces a number of challenges before it can ever be considered as a legitimate and mainstream form of payment, including regulatory hurdles, price volatility and security issues that make wallets and exchanges vulnerable to hacking.

It is estimated that around $4.2bn worth of cryptocurrency has been stolen by hackers so far this year, surpassing the record total from last year. “As we celebrate the eleventh anniversary of bitcoin, it’s important to reflect on just how far we’ve come as an industry,” Pascal Gauthier, chief executive of blockchain security firm Ledger, told The Independent.

“The market is maturing, institutional investors are continuing to embrace cryptocurrencies, and the long ‘crypto winter’ is behind us. Despite these strides forward, security is still lagging behind.” He added that Bitcoin’s underlying blockchain technology “has the potential to change the world in so many ways beyond finance, but without security this potential cannot be realised.”