Alternative currencies have a long and varied history, in which Bitcoin is the latest chapter. The pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin as an implementation of the concept of a cryptocurrency, or a decentralized currency based on the principles of cryptography. Since its creation in 2008, Bitcoin has had a fairly tumultuous existence that limited its adoption. Wide price fluctuations occurred as the appeal of free money by running a piece of computer software drove people to purchase expensive hardware, and high-profile scandals cast Bitcoin as an unstable currency well-suited primarily for purchasing illicit materials. Consumer confidence in the currency was extremely low, and businesses were extremely hesitant to accept a currency that could easily lose half (or more) of its value overnight. However, recent years have seen the currency begin to stabilize as businesses and mainstream investors have begun to accept and support it. Alternative cryptocurrencies, titled "altcoins," have also been created to fill market niches that Bitcoin was not addressing. Governmental intervention, a concern of many following the currency, has been surprisingly restrained and has actually contributed to its stability. The future of Bitcoin looks very bright as it carries the dream of the alternative currency forward into the 21st century.