Today is Bitcoin’s Birthday. Satoshi Nakamoto released the Bitcoin Whitepaper eight years ago today, on October 31, 2008.
At the time, many people who first read the paper became interested in the background technology, and several wanted to see it in a working state.
It seems very few knew that was going to happen.
Once Bitcoin launched in 2009, the biggest success story in digital money was launched. Satoshi launched Bitcoin as open source software so anyone could use it, fork it and update it. At first, the early adopters were mainly from the cryptography community like Hal Finney, the recipient of the very first bitcoin transaction.
Nick Szabo and Wei Dai were also early adopters, with Szabo having developed “bit gold” prior to the Bitcoin whitepaper’s release. Wei Dai is the creator of b-money another precursor to Bitcoin.
Bitcoin’s adoption was a steady progress as more people began to find out about it and experiment with everything from forking and making their own coins to mining technology.
You can read the full white paper here.
The Bitcoin Whitepaper
“Abstract. A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution. Digital signatures provide part of the solution, but the main benefits are lost if a trusted third party is still required to prevent double-spending. We propose a solution to the double-spending problem using a peer-to-peer network.
The network timestamps transactions by hashing them into an ongoing chain of hash-based proof-of-work, forming a record that cannot be changed without redoing the proof-of-work. The longest chain not only serves as proof of the sequence of events witnessed, but proof that it came from the largest pool of CPU power. As
long as a majority of CPU power is controlled by nodes that are not cooperating to attack the network, they’ll generate the longest chain and outpace attackers. The network itself requires minimal structure. Messages are broadcast on a best effort basis, and nodes can leave and rejoin the network at will, accepting the longest proof-of-work chain as proof of what happened while they were gone.”
Bitcoin Has Come a Long Way in Eight Years
While thinking about Bitcoin’s Birthday, it is apparent that Bitcoin means many things to many people.
Some see it as a store of value, having at the time of publishing an $11.1 Billion market cap it certainly is one.
At the same time, others see it as a transaction system that enables people to buy and sell goods and services with minimal friction.
Alternatively, others focus the underlying technology of Bitcoin and its blockchain technology as the true value, with unlimited uses from storing data to improving bank transfers.
Many see it as all those things and more. They use it to buy goods and services from an ever-growing list of merchants and vendors, to investing part of their earnings in bitcoin to hold value.
Bitcoin Is Censorship Resistant
People in countries with unstable or low-value currencies use bitcoin to move their money and to protect their wealth. Others use Bitcoin to protect their money from governments who are more and more prone to seizing funds of its citizens.
Additionally, Bitcoin’s censorship resistance gives the disadvantaged, or those under oppressive governments, a way to make themselves heard.
Bitcoin has come a long way since Satoshi introduced the whitepaper and launched the genesis block.
The Bitcoin processing network of miners and pools is one of the most robust networks backing any system in the world. While there is centralization, miners from all over the world participate in the network.
The network of nodes hovers around the 5k to 6k range with several different versions of node software represented. Bitcoin core, the main Satoshi client, comprises 84 percent of all nodes at press time.
Happy Birthday Bitcoin! You have grown and fought to become something that not only frees people but allows them to be their own banks, be in charge of their financial future. Moreover, you have allowed a voice to those who don’t have one and given an outlet to those in need.
The Bitcoin industry continues to get large amounts of capital influx on both bitcoin value, new companies, and investment in the ecosystem. Furthermore, Bitcoin has spawned a myriad of coins from Litecoin to Zcash. Smart technologies, contracts and more have grown on the blockchain, and on other coins like Ethereum and RSK.
Moving forward, we all look forward to what Bitcoin will achieve in the next 8 years.