On January 3, 2009, at 18:15 UTC, Satoshi Nakamoto mined the genesis block of Bitcoin (BTC).
With that block, the Bitcoin blockchain (the first decentralized one in the world) and the BTC cryptocurrency (the first in the world) were effectively born.
Today we celebrate the fifteenth birthday of the genesis block of Bitcoin.
The genesis block of Bitcoin (BTC)
The block number 0 of the Bitcoin blockchain, which is the first one, has been subsequently named “genesis block” because it is effectively the block from which the Bitcoin blockchain was generated.
Blockchain literally means chain of blocks, even though Satoshi did not use that term at the time, because the blocks are all concatenated to each other.
Block number 1 is concatenated to block number 0, number 2 to 1, and so on. The only one that is not concatenated with any previous block is indeed block 0, or genesis block.
Satoshi mined it on January 3, 2009, collecting the first 50 BTC ever issued in history, and since then he has never used or moved them. Obviously, in that block there was no transaction because before it there was no BTC.
The second block, namely block number 1, was then mined 6 days later by Satoshi as well, and from that moment on Bitcoin blocks started to be mined at a rate of approximately one every 10 minutes.
Satoshi mined many blocks until 2011, the year of his disappearance, earning over a million BTC that he never used.
However, already in February 2009 others began to mine BTC, since Satoshi published the first version of the Bitcoin software (v0.1).
The price of Bitcoin (BTC) from the genesis block
It should be said that at that time the market value of BTC was zero.
In fact, there was no platform to exchange it with other currencies: it could only be sent to other people.
The first transaction, that is the first movement of BTC from one public address to another, took place on January 12th, 2009 between Satoshi, who at the time was the only person in the world to own BTC, and Hal Finney, who was the very first to receive them.
Throughout 2009 it was not possible to exchange BTC on online platforms: only P2P exchanges between individuals were possible.
Bitcoin began to be traded on exchanges the following year, in 2010, at an initial price of about $0.05 (five cents). It had been almost a year and a half since the genesis block, and there was still virtually no market demand for BTC.
However, 2010 ended with a price of $0.30, which is six times the initial price. 2011 closed at $4.7, and 2012, the year of the first halving, closed at around $13. The following year, the first post-halving, there was the first major speculative bubble that brought the price to over $1,100.
In other words, since the beginning of the first exchanges, three and a half years ago, the price had risen by over 2,000,000%.
The second halving occurred in 2016, followed in 2017 by the second major bubble that brought the price to $20,000. The third halving occurred in 2020, and in 2021 the price rose to $69,000. In April of this year, there will be the fourth halving.
On January 3, 2009, not only did the BTC asset come into existence, but in fact, the first blockchain in the world was also born.
It was, and still is, a Proof-of-Work based blockchain, with all BTC minable and none pre-mined.
Since then, many other blockchains have been created, the first ones always based on PoW, like Litecoin, and then also others based on Proof-of-Stake or similar, like Ripple. Ethereum was only born in 2015, first based on PoW and starting from last year on PoS.
In addition to revolutionizing the world of finance, Bitcoin with its blockchain has also revolutionized the world of decentralized platforms, starting a revolution that is still ongoing.
The end of Satoshi
After conducting operations for two years, and having mined over one million BTC, Satoshi Nakamoto completely disappeared in 2011.
Since then, no one has heard from him and no one has ever been able to contact him. As far as we know, none of the BTC he mined has ever been used.
With a market value of $0.30, at the end of 2010 Satoshi had a wealth of $300,000 in BTC, which now would be worth even more than $40 billion.
The fact that no one has ever used any of the BTC he mined after his disappearance, as far as we know, suggests that he may have passed away. Hal Finney himself, for example, died in 2014 due to a serious illness discovered as early as 2009.
For Bitcoin, the definitive disappearance of Satoshi Nakamoto has paradoxically been a good thing because, regardless of what happened to him (no one has ever known who he was), it has made Bitcoin a public, common asset.
Bitcoin, in fact, now belongs to everyone, and not even Satoshi can claim ownership.
It is possible that this very characteristic, together with others such as its deflationary nature, is at the basis of its success.