Has The Bitcoin Network Ever Gone Down?

Our Bitcoin Uptime tracker shows that Bitcoin’s total uptime is close to 99.99%.

In fact:

Bitcoin has only been down twice.

Once in 2010, and another time in 2013.

So, what caused Bitcoin to go down in the past? We’ll explain everything here.

Key Takeaways

  • Bitcoin went down in 2010 for 8 hours and 27 minutes.
  • The Bitcoin network was down in 2013 for 6 hours and 20 minutes.
  • Since the 2013 downtime, the Bitcoin network has not gone down.

2010 Downtime Event

Bitcoin went down in 2010 due to something called The Value Overflow Incident (also known as CVE-2010-5139).

On August 15, 2010 block 74638 was created and it contained a transaction that created 184,467,440,737.09551616 bitcoins for three different addresses.

Bitcoin developer Jeff Garzik noticed this and posted on the old bitcointalk forums:

jeff garzik 2010 bitcoin downtime


Since one of Bitcoin’s main features is its 21 million limit, this was an obvious bug.

The reason the bug was able to happen was because there was, at the time, no check to make sure that values so large could not be sent.

Bitcoin’s founder, Satoshi Nakamoto, posted a code update for this big around 5 hours after the bug was discovered.

satoshi 2010 bitcoin downtime


The extra bitcoins sent in that transaction no longer exist.

2013 Downtime Event

The 2013 Bitcoin downtime (also called CVE-2013-3220) event was very different than 2010’s bug.

In 2010, someone temporarily “created” new bitcoins. In 2013, there was a network split where Bitcoin’s network temporarily split into two separate networks.

Versions 0.7 and 0.8 of the Bitcoin software diverged from each other, causing the block chain to “fork” into two.

Unlike 2010, by 2013 there were already a good number of people using Bitcoin. The 2013 bug being discovered caused the Bitcoin price to fall by 23%.

satoshi 2010 bitcoin downtime


Downtime By Year

Bitcoin has only been down twice, and you can see that the network has had 100% uptime since the last bug in 2013.


Year Uptime
2010 99.90%
2011 100%
2012 100%
2013 99.93%
2014 100%
2015 100%
2016 100%
2017 100%
2018 100%
2019 100%
2020 100%
2021 100%
2022 100%

Conclusion

Bitcoin is one of the most reliable networks, with nearly 99.99% uptime.

Both of Bitcoin’s downtime events were early on, and since then, Bitcoin has maintained very stable uptime.

We’ll monitor any other bugs that come up.

About the Author: Jordan Tuwiner

jordan tuwiner

Jordan Tuwiner is the founder of BuyBitcoinWorldwide.com. His work has been featured in The Guardian, International Business Times, Forbes, VentureBeat, CoinDesk and many other top Bitcoin media outlets. His articles are read by millions of people each year looking for the best way to buy Bitcoin and crypto in their country.

He has also written extensively about the history, technology, and business of the crypto world. Jordan is also the creator of some of the internet's most famous Bitcoin pages, including The Quotable Satoshi and Bitcoin Obituaries.

To learn more about Jordan, see his full bio.