Trust Machines Logo

Notable Moments for Bitcoin in 2024

Key moments for the Bitcoin blockchain in the first half of 2024.
Read Time 8 min
Featured Image
Table of Contents
Share This Article

By Tasmiha Khan for Trust Machines

The year 2024 has unfolded as another significant chapter in the journey of Bitcoin, building upon the momentum of the previous year's advancements. Innovations such as Ordinals, BRC-20s, and Stamps in 2023 set the stage for further developments within the Bitcoin ecosystem.

As we transition into the next half of 2024, let's revisit the notable milestones that have shaped Bitcoin's trajectory.

January 10, 2024: Spot Bitcoin ETFs Approved

On January 10, 2024, eleven spot Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) were approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Spearheaded by issuers like Innovator ETFs and PGIM Investments, these ETFs provided regulated access to the digital asset market for investors.

The debut of these ETFs, along with two conversions, marked a record-breaking start to the year for ETF launches in the U.S., with a total of 35 new ETFs introduced in the first two weeks. There was a total of $1.9 billion in asset inflows into spot Bitcoin ETFs within their initial three days of trading.

This milestone emphasized the acceptance of Bitcoin as a legitimate asset class within traditional finance and provided an additional avenue for institutional and retail investors to engage with the cryptocurrency market.

March 13, 2024: Bitcoin Hits All-Time High of $73,000

March 13, 2024, witnessed Bitcoin soaring to unprecedented heights, reaching an all-time high price of $73,000. The approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs by the SEC in January catalyzed a surge in investor interest, with a record $1.1 billion flowing into spot Bitcoin ETFs in a single day. BlackRock's iShares Bitcoin Trust ETF attracted a staggering $849 million in inflows, highlighting the institutional appetite for exposure to the digital asset market.

With approximately $31.1 billion held in various spot Bitcoin ETFs, excluding Grayscale, and nearly $59 billion when including Grayscale's bitcoin ETF, competition among ETF issuers intensified. BlackRock's dominance became evident, with its bitcoin ETF now holding 215,625 bitcoins, surpassing MicroStrategy's holdings. This surge in demand has outpaced the rate of new Bitcoin supply, with just 6,300 new bitcoins being mined weekly. Anticipation surrounding the upcoming Bitcoin halving event, which further reduced new supply, also contributed to the price surge.

April 19, 2024: Fourth Bitcoin Halving

April 19, 2024, marked the completion of the fourth Bitcoin halving, reducing miner rewards from 6.25 bitcoins to 3.125 bitcoins.

This event occurred amidst record-high transaction fees on the Bitcoin network, driven by the popularity of protocols like Ordinals and BRC-20s over the past year. Transaction fees serve as a crucial source of income for miners, alongside block rewards, making the halving event particularly significant.

While the halving itself doesn't directly impact Bitcoin's price in the short term, investors anticipate potential gains in the months ahead, drawing comparisons to previous halving cycles. The event also poses a test for mining companies, with expectations of industry consolidation and rationalization of network hash rates and expenditures.

April 19, 2024: Runes Protocol Launches

The launch of the Runes protocol on April 19, 2024, marked a significant milestone in the evolution of Bitcoin-backed tokens. Conceived by Casey Rodarmor, the creator of the Ordinals protocol, Runes represent a more efficient and streamlined approach to tokenization on the Bitcoin blockchain. Unlike previous protocols like BRC-20, which contributed to blockchain bloat due to their usage of the witness data of transactions, Runes operate within Bitcoin's Unspent Transaction Output (UTXO) model.

This innovation minimizes unnecessary data storage, thereby optimizing the network's efficiency. The launch of Runes was preceded by the exponential growth of the BRC-20 ecosystem, which facilitated nearly 52 million transactions and generated over 4,780 BTC in fees.

Recognizing the need for a simpler and more user-friendly tokenization protocol, Rodarmor conceptualized Runes to address these limitations and enhance the functionality of Bitcoin tokens. Runes utilize protocol messages called "runestones," stored in transaction outputs, to facilitate token creation, transfer, and management. This approach enables greater flexibility and efficiency in handling token balances, while also reducing transaction processing times and fees.

April 30, 2024: Launch of OP_CAT on Signet

On April 30, 2024, Udi Wertheimer, the founder of Taproot Wizards, made a groundbreaking announcement on the X platform, revealing the launch of OP_CAT, also known as Bitcoin Improvement Proposal BIP-420, on the Bitcoin Signet test network. Signet serves as a dedicated testing ground for Bitcoin developers, offering a controlled environment free from miners and proof of work requirements, with blocks generated approximately every 10 minutes.

The reintroduction of the OP_CAT opcode, proposed under BIP-420, signifies a significant development in Bitcoin's evolution, aimed at enabling Bitcoin covenants and facilitating the development of smart contracts, security bridges, and on-chain transactions. Originally, OP_CAT was a highly debated opcode that Satoshi envisioned, but it faced resistance from the Bitcoin community due to concerns about potential security vulnerabilities.

However, with the resurgence of interest in OP_CAT, fueled by initiatives like Quantum Cats, an Ordinals collection advocating for its reintroduction, the proposal gained traction. Authored by Ethan Heilman and Armin Sabouri, the BIP-420 proposal outlines a backward-compatible soft fork approach to reintroduce OP_CAT into Bitcoin, redefining the opcode OP_SUCCESS126.

May 5, 2024: Bitcoin Hits 1 Billion Transactions

The Bitcoin network processed its one billionth transaction in block 842,241 at 9:34 pm UTC on May 5, 15 years after the blockchain's inception.

While Ethereum was the first blockchain to reach 1 billion transactions, Bitcoin's billionth transaction was a testament to a surging user base brought about by innovations like Ordinals, BRC-20 tokens, SRC-20 tokens, and more. The network actually peaked at a record 926,000 transactions on April 23 as users clamored to mint and etch Rune tokens following the Runes protocol's launch.

This milestone of 1 billion transactions underscored Bitcoin's resilience and represented its journey towards mainstream adoption and continued growth.


2024 has been a year marked by significant milestones in the journey of Bitcoin. From the approval of spot Bitcoin ETFs to the launch of innovative protocols like Runes and the reintroduction of OP_CAT, each event has contributed to the ongoing evolution of the cryptocurrency landscape.

These developments not only showcase Bitcoin's resilience and adaptability but also pave the way for greater adoption and innovation within the ecosystem. As we look ahead, the continued exploration of new technologies and protocols promises to shape the future of Bitcoin and redefine its role in the global financial landscape.