The very first bitcoin block was created on 3rd January 2009. This is known as the “Genesis block”, referring to the first book of the Old Testament one presumes.
The most significant thing about this genesis block is the fact that the first block on any blockchain is unique in that it contains no reference to any previous blocks. Furthermore, it is always hard-coded into the network’s software, establishing all of the necessary variables required to create the ensuing blockchain.
Whilst Bitcoin published its whitepaper in October 2008, this date is not used as the anniversary of bitcoin. The 3rd January is seen as the day on which the world witnessed the first practical application of the first cryptocurrency and the realisation of a new conspet in peer-to-peer payments.
For those of you who love facts, here’s a good one: data from the Bitcoin Block Explorer tool indicates, block 0 — counted as block 1 in very early versions of the blockchain — was mined on Jan 3, 2009 at 1:15:05 p.m. EST, with a reward of 50 BTC. That reward in 2019 has a value of around $191,350, but back in 2009 it had no known value in relation to fiat currencies. It wasn’t until 17th March 2010 that bitcoin had its first recorded trading price of $0.003.
Satoshi Nakamoto, the elusive bitcoin inventor even embedded the date 3rd January 2009 in the genesis block using an encrypted headline from The Times of that day regarding a bailout of the UK’s banks that when decoded reads: “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks,” a reference to the economic events, such as the collapse of Lehman Brothers bank in autumn 2008, which had prompted the creation of the first cryptocurrency. It was an innovative and bold alternative to the traditional financial system that offered a decentralised, non-state-controlled digital exchange and store of value.
And as we celebrate this 10-year milestone for bitcoin, there is one thing that nobody still knows the answer to: who is Satoshi Nakamoto?