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Why It Needs an Emoji: Bitcoin’s Quirky Story (So Far)

Last Updated May 22, 2024 8:12 AM
Last Updated May 22, 2024 8:12 AM
By Eleonor Genova
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Key Takeaways
  • The historical significance of Bitcoin and its societal impacts continue to be a topic of interest and discussion.
  • The statistics indicate a substantial, verified user base and extensive community engagement within the crypto sphere.
  • The proposed emoji would embody the essence of Bitcoin as a cultural and economic phenomenon.

Bitcoin’s (BTC) path to adoption remains as wild a ride as ever—less a narratable story than a sequence of joyously weird, often seemingly random events. One such occurred 14 years ago, when a famous transaction happened.

You know, one where someone paid 10,000 BTC for two pizzas. We’ve come to celebrate it as Bitcoin Pizza Day, one of those weird instances that captures people’s attention and puts Bitcoin in their minds.

From the now-legendary Bitcoin pizza purchase in 2010 to Wall Street stacking the asset in 2024, it’s now time for the BTC emoji to become the latest quirky story in the chronicles of crypto history.

Back in 2010, Laszlo Hanyecz famously spent  10,000 BTC, just shy of $670 million in today’s Bitcoin/U.S. dollar rate, to not only buy pizza but also execute the first documented transaction of a good purchased with BTC. From $25 to $670 million in less than the duration of the average homeowner loan.

Now, the Bitcoin emoji could become the next symbol of Bitcoin’s stable journey towards widespread adoption.

From niches to riches

The startling rebound of the crypto markets at the start of this year has had everyone speculating: will 2024 be the year that BTC finally reaches the monumental $100,000 milestone? When it briefly drifted above $73,000 back in March this year, it certainly seemed within reach, and plenty of commentators still believe that it’s possible.

Even the most hardened crypto skeptics—and yes, there are still plenty—cannot deny that the Bitcoin journey is an intriguing, feel-good, turn-of-fortune story.

Back in 2010, only a small handful of people in the world even knew that Bitcoin existed. Today, it’s a mainstream trillion-dollar asset that’s still every bit as accessible to the average Joe as it is to the global financial institutions that now hold and trade it.

Despite being pronounced dead more times than anyone can remember, it’s survived every crash and crisis, due to the commitment, resilience, and, well, stubbornness of its ever-growing community.

Now, a group of industry leaders are seeking to cement the orange BTC logo in Joe’s consciousness by having it officially adopted by the Unicode Consortium as part of the global library of emojis.

The “Bitcoin Deserves an Emoji” movement has garnered support from 45 of the best-known names in crypto, including BTC Inc, Kraken, Bitget, OKX, Brink, Chainalysis, Hacken, Nansen, and Unstoppable Domains, among others. This community-driven initiative has gained over 13,000 signatures in 50 days on Change.org.

Compare this with the similar Taco Bell campaign  to immortalize the taco as an emoji, which garnered 32,500 signatures in two years—could it be possible that people love Bitcoin even more than they love tacos? In any case, the numbers make a solid argument in favor of the BTC emoji.

A community that spans globally

Without wishing to inflame the Bitcoin vs. tacos debate, the on-chain nature of BTC transactions gives us clear insights as to its popularity. According to Glassnode , there are nearly 1.29 billion total Bitcoin addresses, while 52.6 million of those have a non-zero balance.

BTC addresses
Image source: Glassnode

“But aha!” Here the skeptics will interject, “All those addresses could be just fakes and bots, there’s no way of proving that they’re owned by real people.”

On the contrary, Statista puts  the number of identity-verified crypto users at over 500 million, based on figures from June 2023, long before Bitcoin’s latest, greatest, run at an ATH. That’s more than the entire population  of all EU member states.

Many of Bitcoin’s verified users are likely to be part of the 190,000 people who make a living out of the crypto industry, numbers estimated  by K33 research. Many, many more of them will be among the 7.9 million members of the r/cryptocurrency subreddit —the largest and most active crypto subreddit—and/or the 6.5 million members of r/Bitcoin .

Randomness-turned-reality

Of course, people only join these spaces after they’ve heard about Bitcoin or crypto in the first instance, and their chances of doing so have increased greatly over the time since Laszlo Hanyecz paid 10,000 BTC for his pizzas.

In fact, according to Google News, Bitcoin mentions in the media have exceeded 53 million in the last year alone, and there have been close to 100 million mentions since 2020, the year that the previous Bitcoin emoji was rejected.

This campaign, much like Bitcoin Pizza Day itself, is one of those quirky, seemingly random events that mark Bitcoin’s journey to mainstream adoption. Who could have predicted that 14 years after 10,000 BTC were used to buy two pizzas, Wall Street ETFs and pension funds would be investing hundreds of millions?

It’s this randomness-turned-reality that makes Bitcoin so interesting and genuine. With everyone’s support, who wants to take a guess at what those two pizzas might be worth by 2034?

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