On this day, October 31, 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto published the Bitcoin White paper. This date is forever marked as Bitcoin’s birthday as it represents the beginning of the crypto-world we live in. Sometimes, you only need one guy to create a revolution. For Bitcoin and all altcoins out there, that guy is the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto.
On this day, Bitcoin Whitepaper named “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” was released via the cryptography mailing list at metzdowd.com. Nakamoto’s piece was uploaded on the previously registered site bitcoin.org, which was registered a few months earlier.
The White paper proposed an innovative idea of decentralized currency. This involved a system that was free from a bank or a third party and that would instead operate via a peer-to-peer system. What sounded like a world-changing idea that would never come to pass, soon became reality. In this piece, Satoshi has presented what is today the essence of Bitcoin:
“A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.”
This initial idea was so ingenious that many thought it would never become a reality. You can’t just ignore banks, right?
Genesis Block, The Real Beginning?
While many regard October 31 as Bitcoin’s birthday, the White paper only explained how the system would work in theory. That’s why more than a few see the first mined block as the true Bitcoin’s birthday. Satoshi Nakamoto was probably the first miner on the Bitcoin network, and the first mined block is known as The Genesis Block. He mined first bitcoins on January 3, 2009, making it one of the most important moments in Bitcoin’s history. The reward for the first mining was 50 BTC, which is pipe dream today. Imagine that you can mine 50 bitcoins now – with today’s worth.
After successful mining, the whole thing began moving much faster with Bitcoin. Just six days after the Genesis Block, an announcement of Bitcoin v0.1 came on the cryptography mailing list. Hal Finney, a developer and bitcoin pioneer, commented on the announcement. His first thoughts on the first cryptocurrency are very interesting:
“As an amusing thought experiment, imagine that Bitcoin is successful and becomes the dominant payment system in use throughout the world. Then the total value of the currency should be equal to the total value of all the wealth in the world. With 20 million coins, that gives each coin a value of about $10 million.”
Hal concludes that maybe it’s worth investing in after all:
“So the possibility of generating coins today with a few cents of computing time may be quite a good bet, with a payoff of something like 100 million to 1! Even if the odds of Bitcoin succeeding to this degree are slim, are they really 100 million to one against? Something to think about…”
And now, just 10 years later, we are looking at this day as one of the most important parts of the Bitcoin birthday celebration. You can’t make this up.
The First Bitcoin Transaction
Soon after the announcement of Bitcoin v0.1, Satoshi completed the first transaction. On January 12, 2009, Hal Finney became the recipient of the first bitcoin transaction, directly from Satoshi Nakamoto. The transaction is stored in block 170 and can be viewed on the Blockchain portal. With contributions of early adopters like Finney, Bitcoin gained monetary value. When things started to rapidly evolve, Finney moved his storage of bitcoin to an offline wallet.
Sadly, Hal Finney died in 2014 thus becoming part of Bitcoin history.
— Bobby Lee (@bobbyclee) January 14, 2017
He had direct contact with the illusive Satoshi Nakamoto, so its not surprising that many cryptocurrency enthusiasts strongly believe he was Satoshi Nakamoto himself. After Finney died on August 28, 2014, that theory gained even more steam.
The Rise of Bitcoin Value
One of the most popular moments in Bitcoin history is the now (in)famous Bitcoin Pizza Day. On that day, May 22, 2010, one (naive) programmer named Laszlo Hanyecz wanted to buy some pizza for 10,000 BTC. After he posted his idea online, Papa John’s pizzeria struck a deal with him. He got his wish and got two pizzas for what now amounts to over $62 million. That’s not taking into account the record value of Bitcoin of almost $20,000. In his defense, at the time the value of bitcoins was just $25. Those are maybe the most expensive pizzas in the history of this food.
Since today is Bitcoin’S birthday, maybe someone would buy 10,000 pizzas for 2 BTC?
One other symbolic date is February 9, 2011, when bitcoin reached $1 parity with the US dollar. That parity was first reached on one of the biggest crypto exchanges in the world – MtGox. We all know how that turned out. From that point forward, bitcoin kept gaining value, taking a few bumps along the way. That peek came at the end of 2017 when the price went as high as $20,000.
Today Is Bitcoin’s Birthday, But What Happens Tomorrow?
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are now part of the global economy. It seems that the daily grind of trading, mining and investing will not change soon. Maybe something needs to happen to change things? That’s what Matthew Newton, Account Manager at eToro, told The Independent:
“The market is showing no real strength on either the upside of the downside, as bitcoin finds itself unable to break the $7,000 barrier. The market is looking for a catalyst to make its decisive move, which may well be imminent.”