Bitcoins genesis block was created by Satoshi on Sat, 03 Jan 2009 18:15:05 GMT. By any measure, regardless of what the future holds, this is a truly momentous milestone. Tomorrow is the day that a decade ago, a group of volunteer developers create a free, open-source, decentralised and secure way for everyday people to store and send value to each other almost instantly anywhere on the planet.
We can look back over 10 years and see that we have over 2,000 cryptocurrencies, 16,000 markets and a combined market cap of $130 Billion. This decade has also seen a shift in perception that has allowed millions of people to view money and finance in a completely different way.
The main image above is a representation of the genesis block as it appeared in a comment in an old version of Bitcoin (line 1613). The first section defines exactly all of the variables necessary to recreate the block. The second section is the block in standard printblock format, which contains shortened versions of the data in the first section.
The hash of the genesis block, 000000000019d6689c085ae165831e934ff763ae46a2a6c172b3f1b60a8ce26f, has two more leading hex zeroes than were required for an early block.
The coinbase parameter (seen above in hex) contains, along with the normal data, the following text:
The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks
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. Additionally, it suggests that Satoshi Nakamoto may have lived in the United Kingdom.
Everyday the blockchain sector entices more and more developers, investors and entrepreneurs away from legacy corporate finance and banking and towards permissionless innovation.
The first 50 BTC block reward went to address 1A1zP1eP5QGefi2DMPTfTL5SLmv7DivfNa, though this reward can’t be spent due to a quirk in the way that the genesis block is expressed in the code. It is not known if this was done intentionally or accidentally.
It is believed that other outputs sent to this address are spendable, but it is unknown if Satoshi Nakamoto has the private key for this particular address, if one existed at all.
Although the average time between Bitcoin blocks is 10 minutes, the timestamp of the next block is a full 6 days after the genesis block. One interpretation is that Satoshi was working on bitcoin for some time beforehand and the The Times front page prompted him to release it to the public. He then mined the genesis block with a timestamp in the past to match the headline.
It is also possible that, since the block’s hash is so low, he may have spent 6 days mining it with the same timestamp before proceeding to block 1. Whatever the technical truth of how this block was created, what it is has created is beyond value. This new wave of ‘internet of money’ created by Satoshi will do to the financial sector, what the internet has done to freedom of information, commerce, science and society itself.