Today January 3rd, is the ten year anniversary of the Bitcoin Genesis block. You may be wondering, what is the Genesis block. According to the Bitcoin wiki, a genesis block is the first block of a blockchain. Modern versions of Bitcoin number it as block 0, though very early versions counted it as block 1. The genesis block is almost always hardcoded into the software of the applications that utilize its blockchain. The Genesis block is a special case in that it does not reference a previous block, and for Bitcoin, it produces an unspendable subsidy.
Visualizing the Genesis Block
When block 0 was mined on January 3rd 2009, there was a special messaged embedded into the coinbase by Bitcoin’s creator Satoshi Nakamoto. The message read:
“The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks”
You can see the coinbase message in the Genesis block in the original software code here on line 1630. This was probably intended as proof that the block was created on or after January 3, 2009, as well as a comment on the instability caused by fractional-reserve banking.
As part of block 0, there was a 50 BTC block reward sent to address 1A1zP1eP5QGefi2DMPTfTL5SLmv7DivfNa which was the first Bitcoin address.
10 Years Later
A lot has transpired in the past ten years of Bitcoin. After Satoshi announced the Bitcoin whitepaper and launched Bitcoin with the Genesis block, it’s almost as if Bitcoin has taken on a life of it’s own, growing and branching out in many directions; as it should, since it’s a decentralized protocol which is not owned or governed by any one entity. One of the first major events of Bitcoin’s life was the pizza transaction, which took place just over a year later on May 22, 2010. On that day, Bitcoin user Laszlo Hanyecz paid 10,0000 BTC for two pizzas to be delivered to him. Today, people celebrate this as Bitcoin Pizza Day. This transaction helped to display the power of Bitcoin in commerce and usage as global money.
In 2013, Bitcoin really caught mainstream media attention when the price skyrocketed to over $1000 USD. The price changed a lot since then, up and down it has gone as many more events have occurred further driving adoption and price movements.
Bitcoin as cash is reborn
In 2017, another major event took place in the life of Bitcoin. It was a controversial event but can be argued as the biggest event in Bitcoin’s history to date. To briefly summarize the event, up to mid-2017 Bitcoin struggled significantly with scaling globally and the issues surrounding it. These scaling issues led up to the event of a Bitcoin split where a permanent fork divergence happened in August 2017, which led to the creation of Bitcoin Cash.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is the same Bitcoin that started with the Genesis Block in January 2009, but is the upgraded and improved version of Bitcoin that no longer lives with Bitcoin Core (BTC). There are several reasons why Bitcoin Cash is better and has more attributes of the original Bitcoin, such as it being a peer-to-peer electronic cash system, having low, fast, and reliable payments, onchain scaling, and more. Bitcoin Cash is the best form of money in the entire history of money to date, and so far has shown strong signs of growth and adoption.
What’s next for Bitcoin?
After the ten years it’s clear that Bitcoin is still evolving. This is the evolution of money. Nobody knows for sure what will happen next or where Bitcoin will take us, however, the Bitcoin of today may look nothing like the Bitcoin of tomorrow. In another ten years we hope that we will have global peer-to-peer money that is accessible to everyone in the world for an uncensorable voluntary and permissionless network of participants that can exchange value with each other with little effort. This will help to empower people to not be marginalized by governments and financial institutions, which will in turn help to free the world.