It has now been 7 years since the birth of Bitcoin. On January 3, 2009 18:15:05 UTC, Satoshi Nakamoto generated Bitcoin’s first block of transactions (“Block #0”).
The “genesis block” is the foundation of all subsequent blocks in Bitcoin’s blockchain, and as such, is subject to special treatment. There are no prior blocks to reference. The block’s mining reward of 50 bitcoins is not spendable.
The genesis block was mined during the peak of the 2008-09 financial crisis. Its hash, 000000000019d6689c085ae165831e934ff763ae46a2a6c172b3f1b60a8ce26f, is partially composed of the text, “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks”.
The text is the headline of an article in The Times, which discusses how Alistair Darling, the U.K.’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, has been forced to consider a second bailout for banks in order to ease the lending drought. There are very few physical copies of the article in existence, making it a collector’s item.
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The text’s inclusion, along with passages in Satoshi’s paper, suggest that the dire economic climate and repeated government intervention motivated Satoshi to create a currency free from the control of governments.
Satoshi published his white paper for Bitcoin on October 31, 2008.
Since the genesis block’s creation, bitcoin’s currency has gone on to briefly surpass $1,100 in value and give rise to a discipline that has attracted roughly $1 billion in venture investment to date. The currency itself, while now accepted by thousands of merchants worldwide, has yet to gain widespread adoption with the masses.