While people around the world are celebrating the dawn of a new decade of 2020, bitcoin users around the world are excited to celebrate bitcoins 11th anniversary of the Genesis block. Yes, you read that correctly, bitcoin is officially 11 years old, time flies when you are having fun!
At approximately 18:15:05 UTC on 3 January 2009, the first block of the bitcoin blockchain was mined, and the world would never be the same again.
It was only two months prior, on Halloween 2008, when an anonymous developer going by the name of Satoshi Nakamoto had announced his paper called “Bitcoin: a Peer to peer Electronic Cash System“.
In 11 years, bitcoin has become a force like no other, with millions of transactions being performed on-chain daily and hashrate near all time highs. Bitcoin has gone from what some considered a joke, to being discussed daily around the world on financial news broadcasts.
Bitcoin is permission-less, censorship resistant, decentralized, border-less, immutable and un-confiscatable money, that people around the world can use freely, and it all started with the Genesis block 11 years ago today.
The Genesis Block
The first block of the bitcoin blockchain, also known as the Genesis block, included some text from the UK Times newspaper saying ’03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks’.
This headline in the block was in response to the economic crisis in 2008, and the bank bailouts that followed. A problem to which bitcoin could be a solution. This text also acts as proof that the block was created on that day of newspaper publication, not sooner.
The root problem with conventional currency is all the trust that’s required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust. – S.Nakamoto
- Bitcoin was invented because of the problems Satoshi saw with the legacy financial system. He created bitcoin as a better way for people to transact and store wealth, that is secured by cryptography, and that is outside the realm of governments.
- The Genesis block or block 0 of the bitcoin blockchain was hard coded, and created using a different application software to the first bitcoin software released by Satoshi. We know this as there is no code or options to create a genesis block in the original bitcoin client software ver 0.1, nor any way to create the hidden message left by Satoshi in the genesis block.
- Something that is also interesting about the genesis block, is that the mining reward of 50BTC is un-spendable. Those bitcoins will never be able to be spent, and it is a mystery as to why Nakamoto would have locked those coins up forever, and if it was intentional or simply an over-site.
- Another curious fact about bitcoin and the Genesis block, is that the second block (block 1), was only mined 6 days later on 9 January. This is very different from the subsequent blocks which average 10 minutes each. Some people theorize that it was similar to he story of the creation of the world in the bible book of Genesis, with God resting after 6 days.
- Since it is certain that Satoshi Nakamoto created bitcoin, it is assumed that he would be the one with the private keys of the associated wallet address. Any person claiming to be the creator of bitcoin, would need to sign a message from that wallet address of the Genesis block as evidence to prove that claim.
With e-currency based on cryptographic proof, without the need to trust a third part middleman, money can be secure and transactions effortless. – S. Nakamoto
Proof of Keys
Many users of bitcoin make use of exchanges for trading which is fine for small value amounts of bitcoin, but some actually use exchanges to store their bitcoin, which is a bad idea. You should always use your own wallet that you control the private keys for. There is a famous saying in bitcoin that goes “Not your keys, Not your bitcoin“.
We have a page on recommended wallets that you can try using to store your bitcoin here, and here is also a post on why its a bad idea to store your bitcoin on an exchange.
Every year on the anniversary of the first bitcoin block being mined, many bitcoin users participate in what is called ‘Proof of Keys’. This is where users who have bitcoin on exchanges withdraw their bitcoin to their own wallets that they control the private keys of.
Bitcoin users do this exercise every year to test the exchanges and bitcoin services that they are trusting with their bitcoin, as well as to test themselves their own wallets, systems and passwords.
Exchanges should have all the deposits of users accounted for, but this is hard to prove. It is trivial for a shady exchange or service to take users bitcoins since the users of exchanges do not control the private keys of those wallets.
Those who participate in the proof of keys, are performing a much needed stress test, and forcing the exchanges and other services that hold their bitcoin to prove that they really have possession of the bitcoin that they claim to have, as well as the soundness of their services.
Participating in the Proof of Keys exercise is a great way to test the services that you are using, and to test yourself too. Those who participate, are not blindly trusting, they are verifying, on the blockchain that the bitcoin is there and they are in control. You can learn more about the Proof of Keys event by visiting the website proofofkeys.com
If you need a decent wallet that you control the private keys of, check out our wallets page.
So Happy birthday bitcoin, and Proof of Keys day today!
Please comment below with your thoughts, and share this post with your bitcoin friends.