Bitfinex: Celebrating Over a Decade of Supporting and Building on Bitcoin - Bitfinex blog
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Bitfinex: Celebrating Over a Decade of Supporting and Building on Bitcoin

With Bitcoin reaching new All-Time Highs this week, history may judge that this marked the turning point for the world’s first and largest digital asset, as it moved from a niche product with a small group of fiercely loyal supporters in its early days, to a must-have investment for everyone’s portfolio.

For Bitfinex, as one of the earliest Bitcoin platforms, founded just three years after the first Bitcoin transaction, the now global enthusiasm we are seeing for Bitcoin represents a vindication of the vision we shared in those early days of Bitcoin’s promise and potential, that goes beyond just the price.

Our long-held view is that Bitcoin represents a technology that is unique because, due to its decentralised structure it is virtually indestructible, completely immutable and borderless. The concept that a form of money and an interconnected system cannot be controlled is what makes Bitcoin so attractive to investors who want to escape a financial system that can be manipulated. Hence, the daily records being seen in its price as more investors flock to Bitcoin, now made much easier in the form of regulated ETFs. But perhaps equally important is the ability of Bitcoin to be a store of value for individuals who do not have access to financial services – either because they are expensive or unavailable – and can provide a haven for savings or investment that cannot be taken away.

We call this Financial Freedom and it is at the core of our identity as a company to continue spreading the word and proselytising about the importance of Bitcoin; innovating and building open, peer-to-peer systems that are available and uncensorable; supporting the Lightning Network and other similar technologies to further the scalability and utility of Bitcoin; and investing in the Bitcoin community, including developers and white hat hackers to ensure the strength and the resilience of the Bitcoin network.

This identity is at the heart of our vision as a company to be the leading global advocate of freedom by accelerating a transition to a more open and fair world.

As we look forward, we are now weeks away from the fourth Bitcoin halving  in April, a fundamental underpinning of Bitcoin that ensures its scarcity, and is a fundamental economic recalibration that influences everything from mining strategies to global market dynamics. We invite you to join us for a special Bitfinex Talks session on March 15, 2024, at 3.15pm UTC. During this event, Paolo Ardoino, Bitfinex Chief Technology Officer, will provide his view on what the price appreciation will do for Bitcoin and its adoption and its utility, as well as how the halving will help shape a path to a new chapter in the quest for financial liberation.

Eleven Years in Bitcoin Can Seem Like a Lifetime

On November 6th, 2023, Bitfinex celebrated its 11th anniversary, marking over a decade of continuous innovation and leadership in Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and P2P technology. Since our founding in 2012, we’ve been at the forefront of advancing digital currencies, contributing to both the technological underpinnings of the ecosystem and stimulating community development. Leveraging the transformative capabilities of Bitcoin, Bitfinex aims to establish a parallel peer-to-peer financial system that prioritises freedom and accessibility for individuals across the globe, while acting as an alternative to legacy finance.

The name “Bitfinex” is a portmanteau of three pivotal concepts, Bitcoin, Finance, and Exchange, that encapsulates our platform’s primary function as a high-volume trading exchange for Bitcoin and other digital assets, and emphasises our broader role in the ever-evolving landscape of financial services. 

As we celebrate the Bitcoin price, we reflect on our journey so far and look forward to the next 11 years.

A Walk Down Memory Lane: A Look at Some Important Milestones in Our Journey

November 2012 – Our Founding

Bitfinex emerged as one of the pioneering platforms specifically engineered for cryptocurrency trading, born November 6th, 2012. Founded by Raphael Nicolle, an IT technician from France who had previously worked on a project called Bitcoinica, Bitfinex initially launched as a peer-to-peer (P2P) margin lending platform exclusively for Bitcoin. We quickly diversified due to customer demand, adding support for multiple cryptocurrencies and expanding our suite of services. We began offering an array of trading options including high-volume spot trading, margin trading, peer-to-peer lending (margin funding), over-the-counter (OTC) markets, and derivatives trading. From the outset, Bitfinex has positioned itself as an institutional-grade hub for digital asset trading, designed to cater to a wide array of trading needs for users globally.

May 2013 – Litecoin is Added to the Platform

In the early days of Bitcoin, we began to see the emergence of the very first generation of altcoins. Bitfinex made a discerning choice by adding Litecoin to our trading platform, as one of the first non-Bitcoin digital assets. Recognizing Litecoin’s enduring potential and stability in contrast to other volatile altcoins of the time, Bitfinex offered its customers an opportunity to trade a cryptocurrency with proven staying power. This addition not only broadened the portfolio options for Bitfinex’s customer base, but also underscored our commitment to facilitating trade in assets with long-term viability and credibility.

January 2015 – Tether is Added to the Platform, Paving the Way for Stablecoins

In January 2015, Bitfinex took a strategic step by adding USD Tether (USDt) to our platform, recognizing the growing demand for stablecoins in the cryptocurrency ecosystem. This history-making move provided traders with a much-needed safe haven during market volatility, allowing them to easily transition from volatile assets like Bitcoin to a stable currency pegged to the US dollar. It also allowed exchanges to settle trades denominated in USD at a time when banks were not offering financial services to the industry as a whole. The integration of Tether not only underscored Bitfinex’s forward-thinking approach but also served as a catalyst for the broader adoption of stablecoins as a new type of asset class in the crypto trading community. Tether was the first stablecoin, which paved the way for countless others, launched in the ensuing years.

March 2016 – Ether is added to the Platform, and bringing with it ERC-20 Tokens

In March 2016, Bitfinex decided to add Ether, a move that had far-reaching implications for its customer base and the broader cryptocurrency ecosystem. Ether is the main token of Ethereum, which offers innovative capabilities for smart contracts and decentralised applications (DApps), presenting a brand-new frontier for blockchain technology. By incorporating Ether into our diverse set of offerings, Bitfinex not only catered to rising customer demand but also demonstrated our dedication to staying at the forefront of blockchain innovation.

The integration of Ether was particularly noteworthy because it opened the doors for the trading and investment of countless ERC-20 tokens. The ERC-20 standard has been the foundation for many tokens that went on to significantly impact the world of Decentralised Finance (DeFi). These tokens have become pivotal in everything from decentralised exchanges (DEXs) to lending platforms and stablecoins. By offering Ether, Bitfinex effectively gave its customers a gateway to this burgeoning world of possibilities, reinforcing its role as a leader in digital asset trading. The move further solidified Bitfinex’s reputation for embracing promising technologies and offering diverse, robust trading opportunities to its global community.

August 2016 – The Infamous Bitfinex Hack: How we Survived One of Our Toughest Challenges

In August 2016, Bitfinex suffered a significant cybersecurity breach that led to the theft of almost 120,000 bitcoins, an event that could have easily spelt doom for many digital asset trading platforms. While the crypto-community watched with bated breath, Bitfinex took rapid action. In an unprecedented and innovative manoeuvre, we issued BFX tokens to all affected customers at a ratio of 1 BFX token for every dollar stolen. We offered customers a choice: they could redeem each BFX token for $1 per token or exchange each BFX token, valued at $1 per token, for common shares of iFinex capital stock. Remarkably, by April 3, 2017—just eight months following the security incident—Bitfinex successfully redeemed these tokens, fully compensating customers and thereby restoring confidence in the exchange. 

This resilience stood in sharp contrast to the fate of many contemporary exchanges that were obliterated by hacks, fraud, or mismanagement. Authorities eventually captured the hackers responsible for the Bitfinex breach and recovered a part of the stolen assets, an important chapter in our company’s history. By not just surviving, but thriving, after such a major setback, Bitfinex showcased its dedication to customer security and operational integrity, setting itself apart as a company with an ethical management team that truly cares about its customers. It also served as a case study in effective crisis management within the volatile landscape of cryptocurrency trading.

October 2017 – Trading the Fork Wars with the B2X “Chain Split” Token

During the turbulent period of Bitcoin’s block size debates and subsequent forks, Bitfinex adopted a neutral stance, ensuring that our platform would not become a battleground for competing ideologies. While not taking sides, Bitfinex did introduce the B2X token to give our traders the freedom to trade the event of the Bitcoin SegWit2x fork. 

By offering the “chain split” tokens, we provided a mechanism for customers to hedge against the potential risks and also speculate on the outcome of the fork. The B2X token allowed customers to separate their Bitcoin holdings into distinct assets that could be traded individually, thus capturing the market’s assessment of the relative value of the forked chains. This approach enabled Bitfinex to maintain our commitment to customer choice and market integrity while steering clear of the contentious politics that enveloped the Bitcoin community at the time.

May 2019 – UNUS SED LEO (LEO) Token Launched

Bitfinex launched UNUS SED LEO, our own utility token, in 2019. The token was met with considerable interest and swiftly sold out during its initial private sale, demonstrating both the confidence customers have in Bitfinex and the perceived utility of the token itself. UNUS SED LEO serves multiple functions within the Bitfinex ecosystem, including offering trading fee discounts and serving as a key component in a range of applications and services. In addition to this, the token acts as a pivotal element in a variety of Bitfinex applications and services, which range from enhancing liquidity to participating in token sales hosted on the platform.

July 2019 – Algorithmic Trading Platform Honey Framework Launches

The launch of Bitfinex’s Honey Framework was a significant leap forward in providing advanced trading tools to the cryptocurrency community. This algorithmic trading framework allows traders to build customised trading strategies with a high degree of sophistication, thereby enabling them to maximise their trading efficiency. The Honey Framework seamlessly integrates with Bitfinex’s existing platform, providing a robust set of features for market analysis, order execution, and risk management. By offering such an intricate toolset, Bitfinex is actively levelling the playing field between retail and institutional traders.

April 2020 – Bitfinex Soft Staking Service Launches

Bitfinex entered the staking arena with its soft staking service, allowing Bitfinex customers to earn rewards by simply holding and staking certain types of cryptocurrencies directly through their Bitfinex accounts. This service brings another layer of financial incentive for the platform’s customers, enhancing the utility and yield-generating capabilities of supported digital assets. 

By taking the complexity out of staking procedures, Bitfinex makes it accessible even for customers who may not be technologically savvy. The service aligns with Bitfinex’s broader mission to offer a comprehensive and customer-friendly ecosystem for digital assets, ranging from trading to facilitating peripheral use-cases. This adds another facet to the platform’s already robust suite of financial tools and services, reinforcing its standing as one of the most versatile platforms in the industry

April 2020 – Bitfinex Pulse Launches to Provide a Social Media Network for Traders

In an effort to foster community interaction and real-time information sharing among our users, Bitfinex introduced Bitfinex Pulse, an in-house social media network designed specifically for traders. Pulse provides a space where traders can discuss market trends, share insights, and keep an ear to the ground for emerging opportunities or risks. 

Bitfinex Pulse comes as a natural extension of our overarching strategy to provide an all-in-one ecosystem for crypto enthusiasts and professionals alike. By adding a social layer to our existing array of trading and financial services, Bitfinex not only deepens our level of customer engagement but we also enhance the quality of decision-making through collective intelligence. This innovative feature helps solidify Bitfinex’s position as a comprehensive and cutting-edge solution in the digital asset market.

July 2020 – Lending Pro Revolutionises P2P Margin Lending via Automation

In July 2020, Bitfinex launched Lending Pro, a highly automated, customizable, and advanced lending tool aimed at elevating the experience of its customers in the margin funding market. Designed to cater to both individual and institutional lenders, Lending Pro offers a set of features that automate lending based on predefined criteria, thereby optimising the returns on lent assets. Lending Pro not only streamlines the lending process but also brings a level of sophistication typically associated with traditional financial markets, further bridging the gap between the crypto economy and mainstream finance.

September 2020 – Bitfinex Borrow Offers Liquidity Solutions for HODLRs and Investors

Bitfinex introduced “Bitfinex Borrow,” a peer-to-peer digital token loan portal designed to meet the rising demand for cryptocurrency-backed lending. This P2P digital token loan portal is more than just a lending service; it’s an innovative solution tailored to the specific demands of the modern crypto investor. 

Through allowing users to leverage their existing cryptocurrency holdings as collateral, Bitfinex Borrow makes it possible to secure loans in various digital and fiat currencies without liquidating valuable assets. One of the standout features of Bitfinex Borrow is its flexibility. Users have the option to choose from different loan terms and interest rates, providing an added layer of customisation that many traditional financial institutions fail to offer. This adaptability is especially crucial in the fast-paced, volatile world of cryptocurrency markets, where user needs can change rapidly.

March 2021 – Bitfinex Pay Launches Providing Infrastructure for Merchants That Want to Accept Crypto Payments

Bitfinex introduced “Bitfinex Pay” as a merchant payment solution designed to streamline and simplify cryptocurrency transactions for businesses. This offering allows merchants to accept digital assets as payment for goods and services, further bridging the gap between traditional finance and the Bitcoin and crypto economy. By providing a seamless and secure payment gateway that supports various cryptocurrencies, Bitfinex Pay not only offers businesses a chance to tap into a growing customer base of crypto enthusiasts but also underscores Bitfinex’s broader aim to facilitate the mass adoption of digital assets. With this move, Bitfinex extends its reach beyond exchange services to play a pivotal role in how transactions are actually conducted in the modern digital economy.

September 2021 – Bitfinex Securities Launches to Disrupt the Securities Issuance Industry

The launch of Bitfinex Securities signifies a groundbreaking moment in the realm of financial services, with the potential to disrupt the conventional securities industry fundamentally. Operating at the intersection of blockchain technology and traditional finance, this new platform aims to democratise investment by providing a more accessible, efficient, and transparent avenue for trading a wide range of financial instruments. In doing so, Bitfinex Securities challenges the longstanding norms and inefficiencies of legacy systems by leveraging the inherent benefits of decentralised technologies, such as real-time settlement and lower transaction costs. 

This pioneering initiative reflects Bitfinex’s commitment to innovation and its quest to continually offer transformative financial solutions to underserved entities and markets. By tapping into the vast, yet underexploited, potential of tokenisation for securities trading, Bitfinex Securities could serve as a catalyst for a seismic shift in how investments are made and managed, thereby redefining the contours of the global financial landscape.

November 2022 – Bitfinex Launches Freedom Manifesto at Adopting Bitcoin Conference in El Salvador

The unveiling of the Bitfinex Freedom Manifesto at the Adopting Bitcoin 2022 conference in El Salvador marks a pivotal moment in the crypto industry’s history. Launched in a country that has already made significant strides in adopting digital currencies, the manifesto serves as a philosophical and practical guide that outlines Bitfinex’s commitment to financial freedom, decentralisation, and empowerment through technology. 

The document provides a comprehensive framework via several key pledges to support the Bitcoin ecosystem, prioritising education and a commitment to freedom, elucidating our vision for a more open and equitable financial ecosystem. Its release in El Salvador, a nation that has boldly integrated Bitcoin into its economy as legal tender, amplifies the manifesto’s significance. By launching it at such a prominent event, Bitfinex not only spoke directly to a like-minded audience but also made a strong statement about the vital role of cryptocurrencies in shaping a future geared towards financial inclusivity and freedom.

February 2023 – Bitfinex Securities Opens Office in Astana, Kazakhstan

The establishment of a regional office for Bitfinex Securities in Astana, Kazakhstan serves as a strategic milestone for the company, opening the gateway to a rapidly emerging market hungry for financial innovation. Kazakhstan has shown a forward-leaning stance towards blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies, making it an ideal hub for Bitfinex Securities to expand its services and influence. 

The Astana office will not only facilitate localised services but also lay the groundwork for partnerships with local financial institutions and regulatory bodies. This strategic move underscores Bitfinex Securities’ vision of democratising finance on a global scale by making inroads into markets that are ripe for disruption and innovation. Moreover, setting up a regional office in Astana can act as a springboard for entering other Central Asian and Eurasian markets, thereby significantly broadening our reach and impact.

April 2023 – Bitfinex Securities is Granted the First Digital Asset License in El Salvador

The issuance of the first-ever Digital Asset licence in El Salvador to Bitfinex Securities represents a historic milestone for both the company and the broader cryptocurrency industry. This licensure not only adds legitimacy to Bitfinex Securities but also underlines El Salvador’s commitment to being a pioneer in the adoption of digital assets. By receiving this licence, Bitfinex Securities gains a significant competitive edge, enabling it to operate within a regulated environment in a country that has openly embraced digital currency. It also allows the company to offer an expanded range of financial products and services tailored to this emerging market. The licensure sets the stage for further advancements in the adoption and regulatory recognition of digital assets.

June 2023 – Bitfinex P2P Launches in Argentina, Colombia, and Venezuela

The introduction of Bitfinex’s Peer-to-Peer (P2P) platform represents a significant milestone in our ongoing mission to democratise finance, deliver financial inclusion, increase financial freedom and enhance user experience. Our P2P platform allows users to directly trade assets with one another, bypassing traditional financial intermediaries, thus promoting financial inclusivity and reducing transaction costs. By leveraging the principles of decentralisation and community interaction, Bitfinex P2P seeks to provide a more equitable and transparent trading environment. 

P2P trading offers a lifeline in emerging economies grappling with weak national currencies and stringent capital controls. Traditional financial systems in such countries often fail to provide a stable medium for saving or transacting, eroding the purchasing power of citizens and limiting their ability to engage in global commerce. P2P trading platforms offer a way out by facilitating direct asset exchanges between users, giving access to a more stable and potentially appreciating asset class, cryptocurrencies. Unlike conventional financial systems, P2P platforms are largely immune to local economic policies, providing an alternative channel for capital flows both within and beyond national borders. In doing so, they empower individuals to regain control over their financial futures, bypassing restrictive controls and volatile national currencies. 

October 2023 – Bitfinex Securities Launches First Tokenised Bond Offering

Bitfinex Securities unveiled its inaugural tokenised bond offering, ALT2611, a significant milestone that promises to revolutionise capital markets. Issued by Mikro Kapital, a well-known player in the microfinance sector, this 36-month bond carries a 10% coupon and is denominated in Tether (USDT). With a minimum investment amount set at 125,000 USDT, ALT2611 is designed to democratise financial access, giving investors the opportunity to acquire risks linked to the debt and equity of microfinance organisations and small financial institutions. 

Bitfinex Securities aims to reshape the way capital is raised by providing a deep, liquid market for a variety of financial instruments, including blockchain-based bonds, stocks, and investment funds. The ALT2611 bond will begin trading at the price of 100 USDT and is expected to commence distribution within one week following the completion of the capital raise. 

The bond has a three-year maturity period, and its legal framework is governed by the laws of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.  Mikro Kapital intends to issue a total of 100,000 securitized tokens for ALT2611, aiming to raise 10 million USDT. Bitfinex CTO Paolo Ardoino hailed the launch as “the beginning of a new era for capital raises through deep liquid markets and stock/bond markets.”

March 2024 – Bitfinex Solidifies its Position as the Original Bitcoin Exchange

Since its inception in November 2012, Bitfinex has steadfastly adhered to its founding thesis: a Bitcoin-first crypto exchange dedicated to providing financial freedom to its customers. This commitment has recently been vindicated by Bitcoin’s achievement of an all-time high price, underscoring the foresight and visionary leadership of Bitfinex, as a long-standing supporter of the Bitcoin revolution. 

This milestone not only cements Bitfinex’s reputation as a pioneer, but also heralds its ongoing journey towards innovation and the expansion of financial autonomy in the digital age. Bitfinex’s unwavering dedication to its core principles and its customers’ financial empowerment stands as a testament to its path forward, promising a future where its foundational vision continues to shape and drive the crypto ecosystem.

March 2024 – Bitcoin Reaches a New All Time High

Bitcoin’s ascent to a new all-time high of $72,606 on Monday, March 11th, 2024, has effectively silenced its sceptics, marking a pivotal moment in the cryptocurrency’s journey towards mainstream acceptance. This remarkable achievement, exemplified by an unprecedented wave of institutional adoption facilitated by the launch of US Bitcoin ETFs, signifies a significant shift in perception towards Bitcoin. 

For years, critics doubted Bitcoin’s viability as a legitimate asset class, but its growing integration into the mainstream financial landscape has proven these doubts unfounded. The surge in Bitcoin’s value not only validates the foresight of early adopters but also underscores the transformative potential of digital currencies in reshaping the future of global finance. 

Bitcoin’s upcoming halving will transform the cryptocurrency ecosystem, creating a dichotomy where some participants find their positions weakened, while others emerge strengthened. These pivotal moments serve as a test, distinguishing the resilient from the vulnerable, and reshaping the landscape in favour of those who adapt and thrive amidst change.

To learn more please join us on Mar 15, 2024 at 3.15pm UTC for a  Bitfinex Talks Special 

With Paolo Ardoino, CTO of Bitfinex who will share his vision about Bitcoin rally, the upcoming halving and how this is opening the way to financial freedom. Link here