Happy Birthday Bitcoin

By Joe Grech, Social Media Manager, chiliZ

Happy Birthday, Bitcoin. Ten years ago, so much of what we take for granted today didn’t exist — WhatsApp, Instagram, Uber, Slack, Airbnb, Spotify and even iPads weren’t around.

Just a few days before Barack Obama became President-Elect of the United States of America, ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ published the whitepaper, ‘A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System’ on Bitcoin.org.

Shortly after, the whitepaper appeared in a small mailing list for cryptography buffs, which was then archived but is still readable today here.

The cryptography community was initially sceptical about the system’s ability to scale (and rightly so) but the idea of a Peer-to-Peer electronic cash system, secured by a similar proof-of-work system to ‘Hashcash,’ tickled their fancy.

Hashcash is an algorithm that was used as the basis upon which a number of cryptocurrencies — most notably Bitcoin — create their mining protocols.

In January 2009, during the global financial crisis, the Bitcoin Network went live after Satoshi mined the first BTC block, ‘The Genesis Block’. In the coinbase of the Genesis Block, the following text was embedded “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks”, reflecting on the economic instability that fractional-reserve banking has brought the world.

The original advocates of the cryptocurrency were anarchist and libertarian in nature, believing that Bitcoin gave them the freedom from banks and centralised governments.

Since one of BTC’s main selling points was its anonymity, early adopters mainly used the ‘e-currency’ to purchase illicit goods from websites on the Dark Web. Today, this has been found to be untrue.

Many people believed that due to decentralization and the very nature of the blockchain that their transactions could not be traced back to their identity. This was a fallacy — the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) quickly found out, and subsequently seized millions upon millions of dollars’ worth of Bitcoin and imprisoned many users.

Fast forward to 2018, what has Bitcoin achieved? It may not have given us the financial freedom that we expected from its conception, but it was the fuel for the fire to create the Blockchain Industry that we have today.

It has become less about anarchy, and more about positive change, from helping those in poverty to improving political elections. I’ve been told that there hasn’t been this much young energy in an industry since the dot-com days. I’m excited. Sure, I can’t go to the store and buy my groceries with cryptocurrency yet, but this industry is growing rapidly and merchant adoption is happening at a slow and steady pace. Almost every big European city, for example, has a Bitcoin ATM machine which enables people to both buy and sell Bitcoin.

The energy and momentum of the industry cannot be ignored. How long until it’s a standard for governments to have some sort of DLT legislation in place, like Malta for example? Back in July, the Maltese government enacted three new pieces of legislation: The Virtual Financial Assets Act (VFA), The Malta Digital Innovation Authority Act and Technology Arrangements and Services Bill. These regulations led to industry innovators like Binance, OKEx, TRON, and others to move some of their operations to the beautiful “Blockchain Island”.

My opinion on the current state of BTC is today is unimportant. For me, Bitcoin is still king. If it wasn’t for Satoshi Nakamoto, we wouldn’t be witnessing this level of collaboration between innovators and governments like that of Malta.

I feel like the world we will live in 5–10 years from now will be incredibly different thanks to the industry that Satoshi created. Today, we should celebrate the technology that just may bring great positive change to peoples lives all over the world.