The Bitcoin Genesis Block: How It All Started – Decrypt

The Bitcoin Genesis Block: How It All Started – Decrypt

In brief

  • Bitcoin first launched on January 3, 2009, with the creation of the genesis block.
  • Although its pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto may have mined 1.1 million BTC, he is only known to have ‘spent’ 10 BTC.
  • The block contains a number of easter eggs, one of which strongly hints at the purpose of the Bitcoin blockchain.

On Saturday, January 3, 2009, Bitcoin was born. With the creation of the very first Bitcoin block—known as the ‘Genesis Block’—the first set of 50 BTC was mined into existence.

This genesis block is considered the start of the Bitcoin blockchain—and the beginning of the cryptocurrency revolution.

Many would argue that the day it was minted represents Bitcoin’s birthday. Though others instead believe that Bitcoin’s birthday is actually three months earlier—when the Bitcoin whitepaper was first released.

As the first block ever created, the genesis block is the start of the immutable database that is the Bitcoin blockchain, and represents the first example of a peer-to-peer digital currency secured by sound cryptographic principles. But unlike other blocks, it has several unique properties, adding a layer of hidden meaning that might not be apparent at first glance.

The Genesis of Bitcoin

The Bitcoin genesis block was originally referred to as ‘block 1’, but is now generally described as ‘block 0’ by modern clients—this number refers to its block
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