When you hear the word “Bitcoin”, you most likely have a picture in mind – the gold coin featuring the letter B with two strokes. This is because the cryptocurrency has successfully created a strong visual brand that some other big names spend decades achieving.
This has not always been their logo. In fact, Bitcoin’s logo has changed several times over the years since its creator’s first effort.
The first version
The very first icon was designed by none other than Bitcoin’s creator, Satoshi Nakamoto. They are the anonymous person (or group of people) who first introduced the cryptocurrency in August of 2008.
The first version of the logo represented a gold coin engraved with the letters “BC”. Some say that Satoshi’s original depiction of Bitcoin indicates his intent to present the cryptocurrency as digital gold.
To avoid any connection to the classical meaning of “BC” (Before Christ), the currency code was changed to BTC.
The second version
In February of 2010, Satoshi updated the logo using the letter “B” with two vertical strokes. This is believed to be based on the Thai baht, whose symbol is ฿. By this time, discussion forums were buzzing with suggestions and the mysterious creator was eager to please.
The third version
The third version of the logo, which is used to this day, was not created by Satoshi. In November 2010, a Bitcoin Forum user going by the username “Bitboy” took it upon himself to improve the logo. He based his design on criticisms and opinions floating around the forum. He posted his design for free to the public domain, and his identity remains unknown to this day.
This new logo was a more minimalist approach and resembled currency logos better. The gold coin design was replaced with a simple orange circle (hex code #F6911D), the iconic “B” was tilted to the right, and the two lines were modified.
Did you know that the anonymous designer admitted that its inspiration had been the Mastercard logo?
This new version replaced Satoshi’s when bitcoin.org was rewritten to Bitcoin-Qt (known as Bitcoin Core) by Wladimir van der Laan. It has been used ever since.
In terms of symbolism, a 2017 Medium article presented a deep dive explaining how every little choice from the designing process was carefully motivated. The author of the article claims to have worked on all versions of the logo, going into detail about colors, angles, and meanings.
The main points can be boiled down to the usage of the number 8. Not only does it resemble the letter B, but the symbol is also rotated at a 13.88-degree angle, and the rectangles’ lengths are 12.5 (one-eighth of 100).
If you are interested in all of the details, reading the original explanation in its entirety might be a good idea. It is an insightful piece; however, since Wilson has not provided proof to back up his claims, we recommend taking this article with a grain of salt.
Fun fact: at the time of the first logo, the price of one Bitcoin was around $0.0008. In May 2010, a man paid for two pizzas with about 10000 Bitcoins.
The cryptocurrency is now trading at $50000 per coin. Just imagine all the pizzas he could have now!