This post will be a little different, I’m going to share a series of short interesting facts about Bitcoin that I’ve picked up over the years.
Let’s get straight into it…
- The whitepaper which introduced Bitcoin was first published in November 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto.
- The Bitcoin network began once the first block, known as the genesis block, was mined in January 2009.
- Satoshi Nakamoto is a pseudonym, no one actually knows definitively who they are. They disappeared entirely in 2010 and haven’t been heard from since. There have been several attempts to uncover their true identity, but none have as of yet been confirmed.
- SN is thought to hold up to one million bitcoins, worth $2.7 billion at time of posting.
- The Bitcoin network is entirely decentralised and without a leader, there is no “Bitcoin CEO”.
- Whilst there is no automatic record of who owns each Bitcoin address, the blockchain and all transactions are actually entirely public and auditable by anyone.
- The first transaction was between Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator, and Hal Finney, an early cypherpunk in January 2009. Sadly, Hal passed away in 2014, but even in death he was ahead of his time, becoming one of the first to be cryogenically frozen.
- Today the Bitcoin software is maintained by a collection of developers known as Bitcoin Core.
- There will only ever be 21 million bitcoins. More are released every 10 minutes through a process known as mining. Right now, c. 16,400,000 bitcoins have been mined.
- That previous fact isn’t entirely true. It’s possible to choose to mine less than the block reward and it’s also possible for bitcoins to be irrecoverably lost. As a result the total number of bitcoins in active circulation will never actually reach 21m.
- Early in the life of bitcoin, in August 2010, a code error allowed a user to instantly create billions of coins. This was fixed by a speedy hard fork.
- The number of bitcoins released to the network decreases every four years through a process known as the halvening.
- The last bitcoins are due to be mined in the year 2140.
- The difficulty of mining bitcoins is variable and adjusted by the network every two weeks. If the amount of processing power mining bitcoin increases then the difficulty of doing so will be increased and vice versa.
- You don’t have to buy or trade a whole bitcoin. Each bitcoin is divisible down to one hundred millionth, which is known as a satoshi.
- One of the first meaningful uses of bitcoin in the real world was to purchase pizza. Bitcointalk user laszlo, paid 10,000 bitcoins for two pizza’s in May 2010. At the time, those bitcoins were worth around $40. Today they would be worth $27.5m, ouch!
- The market value of each bitcoin has exponentially exploded over the last few years, right now each bitcoin is worth c. $2,700 with a collective market cap of c. $45 billion.
- The US government has actually held several bitcoin auctions, these were held to sell bitcoins seized from criminal operations, such as Silk Road, an online darknet market. The largest batch were sold to Tim Draper, a famous American venture capitalist.
- Bitcoins are digital, but there have actually been physical bitcoins created, the most famous and highly sought after are Casascius coins.
- Bitcoin was the first implementation of the blockchain, but it has inspired many others, know as altcoins.
Join me next time as we take a look at the world of alt coins.
Until then, arrivederci!
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Here’s another bonus bunny picture, meet Roger…