The very first Bitcoin block to be mined is known as the Genesis Block. It was mined on January 3, 2009, and that’s the date known today as the Bitcoin Birthday or Bitcoin Genesis Day.
Bitcoin’s next birthday will be on Tuesday, January 23, 2023.
The date commemorates what many recognize as the very first contemporary version of cryptocurrency, a means to send money to a third party in a decentralized way without the need for traditional banking. Prior to Bitcoin, there were other attempts to mint a virtual currency, but none of those early efforts caught on or had the staying power of Satoshi Nakamoto’s innovation.
Bitcoin Birthday/Bitcoin Genesis Day
Some may argue that the birthday of Bitcoin might better coincide with the registration of Bitcoin.com as a domain. That happened in January 2008, but the creation of the coin itself is what’s celebrated here.
And with January 2008 firmly in mind, the day we know now as Bitcoin Genesis Day in 2009 was not the introduction to Bitcoin, conceptually speaking.
Satoshi Nakamoto published a whitepaper the previous year, titled Bitcoin: A Peer-To-Peer Electronic Cash System, which introduced the concept. The abstract for that whitepaper begins with an explanation of Bitcoin, as, “A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.”
The whitepaper holds that the world economy needs an electronic cash system that can be validated with “cryptographic proof” rather than “trust”.
Bitcoin’s first birthday saw the first modern cryptocurrency being thought of as something to be exchanged, rather than something you could use as a way to store value. At press time, the current trend is to view Bitcoin to store value.
When Satoshi Nakamoto mined Genesis Block and minted the very first modern cryptocurrency, the block reward was set at 50 BTC. The Genesis Block is also known as Block 0 and the money in Block Zero can never be used.
Nakamoto burned the first 50 Bitcoins for reasons unknown and believe it or not some Bitcoin owners burn their own investments by sending Bitcoin to Block Zero. At press time Block 0 contains approximately 70 BTC. Five days later, Nakamoto made the source code available, and the rest is history.
The very first Bitcoin transaction happened somewhere in the middle between the time Block 0 was mined and the source code was made available. Satoshi Nakamoto sent the first Bitcoin transaction to a developer named Hal Finney, who accepted 10 BTC from Nakamoto.
There were other Bitcoins sent the same day, but Finney is thought to be the very first to receive them.
At least one source speculates the Hong Kong Bitcoin Association was among the first to celebrate Genesis Day. This happened in January 2022. The Association’s message to Bitcoin owners? Use the holiday as a reminder to ensure you still have your public and private keys to your crypto holdings; Bitcoin Genesis Day is also known in some quarters as the Proof of Keys Celebration.
There are no bank holidays, planned time off, or other “official” observances the way you might observe the 4th of July or Memorial Day, but the date is still important enough in the grand scheme of all things crypto that virtual currency companies, NFT projects, and investors may hold their own observances.
Satoshi Nakamoto wrote the Bitcoin whitepaper as part of an overall drive to provide an alternative to the modern banking-industrial complex Nakamoto felt was corrupt.
The desire for a trustless, decentralized system of exchanging value or cash resulted in a disruptive global phenomenon. It’s entirely likely that if virtual currency manages to avoid being regulated out of existence or losing the trust of even the most dedicated HODLer, we will see Bitcoin Genesis Day take on more significance within the crypto world but also beyond.
We should never forget that today’s taken-for-granted resources such as Facebook, Twitter, and even TikTok started out as something with comparatively few early adopters. But these projects took on lives of their own and have turned into something closer to a public utility in terms of cultural and societal importance.
Bitcoin could easily go the same way, but for every TikTok success story, there’s a MySpace story waiting to be told, too. Which way will Bitcoin head between now and the next Bitcoin Genesis Day?
In 2022 Bitcoin reached a market capitalization milestone of nearly $900 billion and that is proof enough for some loyalists who continue to hold their BTC in spite of global economic woes, war, and an at-press-time uncertain future with respect to regulation.
Joe Wallace has covered real estate and financial topics, including crypto and NFTs since 1995. His work has appeared on Veteran.com, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and many print and online publications. Joe is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News.