Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous individual behind the world’s most famous cryptocurrency, released Bitcoin’s original whitepaper on October 31, 2008. However, the blockchain network officially came to life eleven years ago on January 3, 2009, when Satoshi mined Bitcoin’s first block, the genesis block.
Also known as block 0, the genesis block represents the first block in the blockchain network and is hardcoded into Bitcoin’s software, given the fact that it is not connected to a previous block. Furthermore, the block itself is special as the astounding block reward of 50 BTC remains forever unspendable due to a decision made by Satoshi himself.
The exact reason why Bitcoin’s creator decided to do so remains unknown. Despite this, a number of cryptocurrency enthusiasts decided to donate some of their assets to the block’s address. At the time of writing, the final balance of the address amounts to 68 BTC. Strangely enough, blockchain explorers show that some crypto enthusiasts decided to celebrate the day by sending small sums of BTC to the genesis block address.
A call for action to fight the establishment?
Filled with easter eggs easily detected by the cypherpunk movement, the genesis block’s hexadecimal code refers to the text of a Times headline published on the same date as the block’s creation. When deciphered, the code reads: “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks”
Whether it is a coincidence or not, Satoshi Nakamoto introduced Bitcoin and the technology behind it to the world around the time of the 2008 financial crisis. Perhaps a way to strike while the iron is hot, Satoshi showed the world that people cannot rely on governments and banks and that they should instead adopt a decentralized and cryptographically-secured system for transferring money.
While Bitcoin has not been adopted at the rate that many hoped, it has still progressed far from the point of only being used by hackers and the cypherpunk group. Today, Bitcoin stands as the foundation of a disruptive and widely adopted cryptocurrency ecosystem, with a market capitalization of $133 billion.
Slowly recovering from the post-2017 bear market, Bitcoin managed to reach almost $14,000 in June 2019. However, bullish sentiment quickly turned sour as an unsustainable market value led to a drop in value for the following months. While many wait for the halving event for a real bull run, the crypto community received a birthday gift as yesterday’s dump resulted in an unexpected 5% price surge on Friday morning.