Approximately 14 years ago the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto introduced Bitcoin to the world, publishing the Bitcoin whitepaper. This nine-page document began a financial revolution and gave birth to a trillion-dollar industry. Its creator remains anonymous to this day.
“What is needed is an electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust,” reads the Bitcoin white paper’s opening page, introducing the world to the first scalable peer-to-peer electronic cash system.
Satoshi wrote the Bitcoin white paper in late 2008, right when a financial crisis partially caused by banks’ bad practices was in full swing. The message of a trustless financial system struck home.
On October 31, 2008, the pseudonymous author released the Bitcoin whitepaper titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” to a cryptography mailing list. To this email Bitcoin’s creator attached a message, saying that the invention offers a number of different properties. Bitcoin’s benefits include the prevention of double spending and there is “no mint or other trusted parties,” Satoshi said. The inventor also highlighted how bitcoins are minted via a “Hashcash style proof-of-work.” After introducing the main properties, Satoshi shared the abstract summary of the seminal Bitcoin white paper with a link to bitcoin.org, where the paper was hosted at the time.
The mailing list was hosted by Metzdow and run by a group of cypherpunks who further shared the ideas of creating P2P digital currency and payment system. The Bitcoin creator disclosed that they had been working on a new electronic cash system that uses a Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus algorithm that required no trusted third party. Although the document met mixed reactions, it was the beginning of what is known today as blockchain technology. The anonymous inventor of Bitcoin Satoshi Nakamoto proposed a solution for people to transact over the internet with a native currency. Nakamoto was the first to solve the Byzantine General’s Problem, forever changing the world.
After the network launched on Jan. 3, 2009, Satoshi did not communicate via the mailing list until Jan. 8, 2009, in a post called “Bitcoin v0.1 released.” In that thread, Bitcoin’s inventor shared the very first codebase release of Bitcoin when the creator said:
Announcing the first release of Bitcoin, a new electronic cash system that uses a peer-to-peer network to prevent double-spending. It’s completely decentralized with no server or central authority.
A couple of months after the release, the Bitcoin network was launched, with the first block mined on January 3, 2009. About eight days later, Hal Finney received the first transaction of 10 BTC from Nakamoto, after which he posted a legendary tweet that read: ”Running bitcoin”. The guy worked hand-in-hand with Nakamoto to find and fix bugs in Bitcoin’s underlying infrastructure.
About a year later the launch of Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency went on to record its first real-world commercial use case when a man from Florida spent 10,000 BTC to purchase two large Papa John’s pizzas. That remarkable event happened on May 22, 2010. Ironically, the coins that were worth $41 at prices back then, at today’s price, are worth more than $200 million. To commemorate the mind-blowing event, the Bitcoin community celebrates Bitcoin Pizza Day on May 22 every year.
The work of mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto has unquestionably provoked a financial revolution. Since the day of Bitcoin “birth”, over 20,000 cryptocurrencies have been created and over 500 exchanges have been launched. All the created cryptocurrency assets are worth just over $1 trillion today.
In emergent nations, countries in Latin America and Africa, Bitcoin has provided users with the safe haven. They finally managed to break free from their national financial institutions, access an immutable asset to protect their wealth, and often governmentally imposed financial limitations.
Many people tweeted happy birthday to the pseudonymous creator’s whitepaper, with Edward Snowden among them. The former computer intelligence consultant has been on the run after leaking thousands of classified U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) documents to the press, and all the while, he has been an avid Bitcoin supporter. Snowden has expressed his fascination with the network’s “basically instantaneous” transactions and its founder’s continuous devotion to anonymity, as he shared Nakamoto’s Bitcoin white paper on the memorable day.
Among other notable public figures that congratulated Bitcoin was the chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Gary Gensler. This is what he wrote on October, 31:
“Happy 14th birthday to Satoshi Nakamoto’s whitepaper! It has led to innovation and crypto asset investing. Let’s make sure as crypto enters its 15th year that investors get proper protection.”
Many people have urged him to provide clarity on crypto regulation but the SEC chief has insisted that the law is clear. He has stated on several occasions that bitcoin is a commodity while most other crypto tokens are securities.
Truthfully, even now, 14 years after Satoshi released the Bitcoin white paper, few understand it. Thus, what everyone has to do to immediately see through all the misinterpretations of Bitcoin today is actually read and understand Satoshi’s white paper.
From zero to over $1 trillion in market capitalization in a decade, Bitcoin has often been called a scam, a miracle, a bubble. Conversely, mainstream media outlets have pronounced it dead many times, but the network carries on inserting new blocks into the blockchain. At times it went high, at times showed signs of slowing.
In June 2011, Bitcoin reached 25,000 unique wallet addresses active each day. By February 2015, it had 250,000. Bitcoin hovered a little under 600,000 unique daily addresses for most of 2017 — and had 668,000 unique addresses by the end of February 2022.
The number of bitcoins unspent for the past year reached an all-time high in September of 12.5 million bitcoins, or 65% of total circulating supply, according to the crypto analytics firm Glassnode.
Up to the present day, Bitcoin has been by far the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, which stands at about $395.96 billion, according to the data by Glassnode.