Oct. 31 marks the 11th anniversary of the release of the famous bitcoin whitepaper. It is worthwhile to take stock of the first crypto-currency’s impressive achievements to date, while also warning of the future perils it faces.

Bitcoin has defied the critics repeatedly, being declared “dead” many times over. (In this respect it’s appropriate that it was born on Halloween.) Although its price has been volatile, it’s currently trading at a market cap of $170 billion—more than McDonald’s, and comparable to CitiGroup.

Along the way, internecine battles led to a “hard fork” and the creation of “Bitcoin cash” (in August 2017), but the cryptocurrency community emerged wiser. As for the future, ironically a piece of otherwise good news—faster computing power—may pose serious problems if the promise of “quantum supremacy” should be fulfilled.

An estimated 5 percent of Americans hold bitcoin, and the global number of users is probably around 25 million. More impressive (and precise) details concern the financials: as of this writing, some 18 million bitcoins have been “mined”—the metaphorical term describing the procedure by which a new bitcoin becomes recognized as belonging to someone’s address on the blockchain—and a single bitcoin currently fetches a market price of about $9,450. For something that critics derided as a tech fad that would soon evaporate, that’s a rather impressive accomplishment.

The disputes between bitcoin and bitcoin cash concerns the trade off between speed of transactions and the diffusion of transaction approval among a greater number of players in the network. These debates are of intense interest to crypto-enthusiasts and merchants, but for me they underscore some of the confusion in the original “marketing” of bitcoin to the public.