On January 3, the cryptocurrency completed a milestone in its first decade. There have some facts about how it originated and who invented it first. In this article, learn some curiosities about its beginnings, the currency itself, and its anonymous creator.
Block 0 was registered at 18:15:05 on January 1, 2009. It has a single recorded transaction, generated a reward of 50 bitcoins, and had a difficulty of 1. You can see it by clicking here. Also, this first block contains a message written in hexadecimal code. The message is related to a headline in the British newspaper The Times and says:
Chancellor on the verge of a second rescue for the banks
(Chancellor on the brink of the second bailout for banks). There are diverse interpretations of this content: for some, it is a message about the economic crisis of 2008, but for others, there is something more secret and revealing.
2. White Paper
The white paper that gave rise to Bitcoin was published months before, on October 30, 2018. It is called “Bitcoin: A User-to-User Electronic Cash System”, and was signed by Satoshi Nakamoto. Part of the paper says this:
A purely electronic version of cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one entity to another without having to go through a financial institution. Digital signatures provide part of the solution, but the main benefits are lost if there is a reliable third party to prevent double-spending.
We propose a solution to the problem of double spending using a user-to-user network. The network places time stamps on the transactions by creating a hash of them in a continuous chain of work tests based on hashes, forming a record that can not be changed without recreating the work test. The longest chain not only serves as the test of the sequence of witnessed events, but as proof that it came from the largest CPU processing power guild . Provided that the majority of the CPU processing power is under the control of nodes that do not cooperate to attack the network, these will generate the longest chain and will bring the advantage to the attackers.
The network itself requires a minimal structure. The messages are sent on the basis of best effort, and the nodes can leave and rejoin the network as they see fit, accepting the work test chain of what happened during their absence.
3. Real transaction
The first transaction between Bitcoin pairs occurred on January 9, 2009, between Nakamoto and software developer Hal Finney. But the first interaction with the real world, using cryptocurrency to buy things, was in May 2010, when programmer Laszlo Hanyec paid 10,000 bitcoins for two pizzas. At that time, Bitcoin was valued at just USD $ 0.003; the pizzas were worth USD $30. Today those same pizzas would be worth almost USD $40 million, but in December of 2017, they would have been worth USD $200 million.
Its highest price occurred on December 17, 2017, when it reached USD $20,000 per unit. After this and throughout the year 2018, it had a falling process. Currently, it is hovering at USD $3,800 with small ups and downs. It is still a lot of money, compared to the tenths of a dollar, which, as we saw in the previous point, was worth at first.
5. Limited emission
Unlike traditional money, Bitcoin has been programmed so that there are only 21,000,000 units of digital currency. Of these, more than 17.4 million have already been mined.
The programming language used to create Bitcoin was C++. This language was designed in 1979 by Bjarne Stroustrup with the intention of extending the programming language C to mechanisms that allow the manipulation of objects.
7. It’s inventor
The inventor of Bitcoin is named Satoshi Nakamoto, which is actually a pseudonym of a person who does not know if he is male or female or is a group of programmers. For several years, this name has been attributed to different characters (including Dorian Nakamoto, Hall Finey, and Craig Wright), but it has been confirmed to be true in none of the cases. It still remains a mystery.
8. Capitalization market
Currently, Bitcoin has a market capitalization of USD $67 billion but managed to reach a market capitalization of USD $313 billion in December 2017. With this, it reached a capitalization similar to that of well-known companies such as Facebook.
9. Mining with greater difficulty
The difficulty of Bitcoin mining has been increasing. Before, you could easily mine and get rewards with a normal CPU, but not now. The difficulty of mining has increased greatly; more and more powerful processors are required to extract a block. Also, the rewards have been reduced. Currently, every time the miners find the hash and close a new block, they receive a reward of 12.5 bitcoins, but at the beginning, it was 50 BTC. Every 210,000 blocks created – every 4 years or so – decreases 50% the reward. This was decided by Nakamoto to control the supply (it is inspired by the extraction of gold).
One of the criticisms that are made to Bitcoin is the environmental damage that means mining. The total amount of energy required to process each Bitcoin transaction is at 163 kWh (kilowatt-hour) and is equivalent to the amount of electricity used by a common household in the United States for about 5 and a half days. In fact, it has been said that the consumption of the entire Bitcoin network is equivalent to the annual energy used by a small country.