3 January 2019 marks the 10th anniversary since Satoshi mined the first block — or genesis block — of the bitcoin blockchain.
The Definition of Genesis Block
The Genesis Block is the first-ever block of Bitcoin mined by creator Satoshi Nakamoto. The original block has 50 bitcoins in it and was mined over the course of six days in 2009. The 50 bitcoins within the block are unspendable, however, and it’s a subject of much debate whether this was intentional or a fluke on Nakamoto’s part. Also known as Block 0.
The Genesis Block’s Secret Message
Perhaps the most mystifying aspect of the Genesis Block is the secret message that Nakamoto imbued within the Block’s raw data.
“The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks”
While Nakamoto never commented on the meaning of his message, it’s not hard to infer that it serves as a mission statement for Bitcoin itself. The text comes from a headline in the January 3rd, 2009 edition of The Times, a London-based newspaper.
The article reported on the British government’s failure to stimulate the economy following the 2008 financial crisis.
Related Reading – What is Bitcoin?
Below are comments from several experts in the blockchain space who have provided their insight on the current state of the market, bitcoin’s progress and impact over the last decade, and what the next ten years might have in store for the world’s first cryptocurrency.
Robertas Visinskis, Founder of Mysterium Network , an open source, a not-for-profit foundation focused on security and privacy, and the world’s first decentralised VPN blockchain project, commented:
If we consider the Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies which acknowledges the potential of blockchain, it’s clear that cryptocurrencies are currently experiencing a trough of disillusionment. However, I don’t believe this is an accurate reflection of bitcoin’s impact over the last decade, which extends far beyond price movements and network value.
Following bitcoin’s 70% decline and the bear market trend that dominated 2018, we can expect a sombre 2019 which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the industry as it will force projects to turn towards product development as opposed to market speculation.
As an industry, we have come a long way since Satoshi mined the first block of the bitcoin blockchain in 2009. Despite its volatility, building market confidence should be a key priority over the next ten years, and as projects continue to find product market fits for real-world use cases where tokenomic models are put into practice, I believe this can be achieved.”
Nydia Zhang, Chairman, and Co-founder of Social Alpha Foundation , a not-for-profit grant making platform focusing on social impact initiatives and projects, commented:
Ten years on, it’s clear that Bitcoin and it’s underlying technology was the spark that short circuited the Internet and laid the foundation for a generation of economically incentivized decentralized systems.
Though the price of Bitcoin remains volatile, investors would do well to invest a small allocation in largely non-correlated assets like Bitcoin as a hedge against capital market turmoil.
2019 will see both crypto and blockchain mature from 2018’s awkward adolescence into accelerating institutional adoption and enterprise application growth.
Frank Wagner, CEO, and Co-founder of INVAO , a blockchain asset pool for investors based on automated trading and active portfolio management, commented:
The invention of bitcoin and the mining of the first block of the bitcoin blockchain, which marked the creation of cryptocurrency, has had an undoubtedly enormous impact. Although prices have been volatile, especially within the last year, the financial landscape has been permanently transformed in ways that cannot be measured by market changes.
We have created borderless, universal alternatives to fiat currencies and with it we have introduced blockchain technology which solves real-world problems across a myriad of industries. In order to reach its full potential, crypto now needs to be adequately regulated to ensure future investment and create price stability. I anticipate that the future of bitcoin, crypto, and blockchain technology will be defined by the nations and industry leaders who rise to the occasion and regulate digital currencies.”
Craig Mc Gregor, CEO, and Co-founder of DSTOQ , the mobile-first, licensed stock exchange designed for emerging markets, which allows for peer-to-peer trading of tokenized securities such as bonds, stocks, oil, and gold, commented:
The last ten years have seen unprecedented technological advancements towards a new future of finance, investing, and beyond.
Recent market volatility is not a valid representation of the overall positive impact of this technology since its inception. We are beginning to realise the true potential of blockchain technology to provide solutions to real world economic issues. I think that in future years we are going to see even more transformation of the global economy thanks to this technology, as crypto continues to bring emerging markets into the fold by offering borderless, affordable investment routes and the ability to acquire wealth.”
Xinshu Dong, CEO of Zilliqa , a public blockchain platform designed to deliver performance, scalability, and security to enable viable real-world use cases commented:
Bitcoin was revolutionary as it enabled universal participation in a distributed network that is open, transparent and secure.
For the first time ever, it provided almost everyone with the opportunity to be part of the decision-making process in establishing the history of sequential data blocks. Not without its drawbacks, high energy expenditure and imbalanced concentrations of power due to mining pools are growing concerns within the industry.
However, I don’t believe that current challenges overshadow the revolution that Bitcoin brought to life. Instead, they create the impetus to develop sustainable solutions to boost mining efficiency and to minimise environmental impact. As projects continue to explore alternatives that promise a lower energy footprint such as new consensus mechanisms or the use of renewable energy in mining operations, we can hope to see increased utilisation and greater value in the years to come.”
Natalia Karayaneva, CEO of Propy , a global real estate marketplace with decentralized title registry commented:
In my view, the Bitcoin Network will begin its second decade in a state of post-crash consolidation and maturation. The biggest obstacles so far were both external and internal.
The volatile and high fees of bitcoin transactions are still preventing the cryptocurrency to be used for micropayments.
Other internal factors challenging the network are the so-called “fork wars” and market manipulation by hashing monopoly. On the other side, we have the regulatory approvals pending all over the world. Ironically, for Bitcoin to see broader adoption, the only viable path forward involves its acceptance by the international financial system that Bitcoin once sought to defeat. We can argue that the current monetary policies and system are far from perfect and the decentralized manner suits better the global world we live in. What we see now is the attempt of smart regulators to adapt to the innovation. The UK Parliament’s Treasury Committee tries to make the United Kingdom a hub for cryptocurrency markets.
At the same time in the US, the SEC is to warm to Bitcoin exchange-traded funds and, with the CFTC will continue to work to improve market transparency.”
Angel Versetti, CEO of Ambrosus , the decentralized IoT network for next-generation supply-chains, commented:
The original vision of the Bitcoin whitepaper, published by Satoshi Nakamoto, proposed Bitcoin as a peer-to-peer payment solution that served as an alternative cash in response to the highly centralized banking systems created and run by financial institutions. It was not conceived as an investment vehicle, nor was it intended to be an energy-intensive operation that would require industrial-grade mining infrastructure. Since the mining of the Genesis Block, Bitcoin brought to life for the first time a decentralized protocol that was free of middlemen and capable of exchanging value using blockchain technology. In the past decade, changing market dynamics as well as the expansion of blockchain into completely new industries has radically built upon the original vision of Satoshi.
Today, entire ecosystems of open-source blockchain solutions have been launched in nearly every industry across the global economy. Financial institutions, which were once skeptical of Bitcoin and intent on destroying the digital asset, are now beginning to experiment themselves with cryptocurrency, security tokens, and blockchain technology.
Meanwhile, the Bitcoin mining industry, which was originally conducted on home CPU’s, has turned into a multi-million dollar industry with entire mining farms being set up around the world. While clearly different from what was originally envisioned by Satoshi, bitcoin and blockchain remain the most important technological innovations of the 21st century 10 years on from their inception.”
Nick Cowan, Managing Director and Founder of the Gibraltar Stock Exchange Group Limited, commented:
Since Satoshi set the ball in motion for a prolonged phase of decentralised innovation ten years ago, there have been many landmark moments for bitcoin and the underlying blockchain technology. The terms bitcoin and blockchain, once very much on the periphery of technological discussions and debates, are now firmly embedded in the mainstream. Satoshi has inspired innovators around the globe to build platforms that will direct the future of established industries, while also creating new career trajectories. Crucially, bitcoin’s emergence shone a spotlight on the power of distributed ledger technology (DLT), encouraging governments and teams worldwide to explore the technology’s capabilities to bring increased levels of efficiency to a wide range of projects. The marriage of blockchain and traditional finance has been particularly fruitful, accelerating and simplifying regimented structures, helping to reimagine the capital markets, reduce fraudulent practices, and copper fasten the monitoring of financial transactions.