Today, January 3rd, 2020, the eleventh anniversary of Bitcoin’s genesis block is celebrated.
On January 3rd, 2009 at 6:15 PM (GMT+1) Satoshi Nakamoto mined the block number zero of Bitcoin’s blockchain, the first ever to begin the chain generating the first 50 BTC.
The block, with hash 000000000019d6689c085ae165831e934ff763ae46a2a6c172b3f1b60a8ce26f, has been defined “genesis block” precisely because it is the genesis of the Bitcoin blockchain, the first completely decentralised blockchain ever created by humanity.
Obviously, the genesis block contains only one transaction, the one that created the first 50 BTC. At that time no halving had occurred yet, so miners were rewarded with 50 BTC for each mined block. In 2012 the reward dropped to 25 BTC per block, while in 2016 the reward was further halved to 12.5 BTC. In May this year, it will be halved again to 6.25 BTC per block.
Those first 50 BTC were assigned to the address 1A1zP1eP5QGefi2DMPTfTL5SLmv7DivfNa, to which over time another 18.13558056 BTC were sent, such that to date this same address still retains more than 68 BTC, for a value in dollars of almost $500,000.
The curious thing is that Satoshi Nakamoto never spent neither the initial 50 BTC nor the others sent to this address. In fact, the entire output of the 1,911 transactions received is still unspent.
The next block, however, was not mined after the canonical 10 minutes, but several days later, on January 9th. This was again a block with a single transaction, the one containing the 50 BTC reward for the miner, as well as the subsequent blocks.
On January 9th, 15 blocks were mined, which brought the number of BTC created to 800.
The first block containing an output transaction with BTC from one address to another, besides the transaction creating the 50 BTC as a reward for the miner, was the number 170, mined on January 12th, 2009, which featured a transaction through which Satoshi Nakamoto sent 50 BTC to Hal Finney. The curious thing is that the fee was nothing because at that time it was the users themselves who were mining the blocks.
A lot of things have changed since then, such as the fact that mining bitcoin has become much more difficult and expensive, as well as the fact that BTC has become freely tradeable online for many other currencies, including the US dollar.
At the beginning of 2009, in fact, not only was there still no exchange that allowed the trading, but the value of BTC was zero: not being traded with US dollars or other currencies, it had no market value.
The first exchange between BTC and US dollars seems to have only taken place in October 2009, when 5,050 BTC were exchanged for $5.02, which is less than a thousandth of a dollar ($0.001). Today the price of a BTC is over $7,000, an increase of over 700,000,000 % since then.
The first eleven years of Bitcoin’s life were a gigantic success, which took it from being a small cypherpunk experiment to the world’s first cryptocurrency, with a market capitalisation of almost $130 billion.