Thirteen years after Bitcoin's genesis block (block zero/block 0) was written to its blockchain at exactly 18:15:05 UTC, Bitcoin's hashrate is reaching new all-time highs.
Bitcoin's hashrate, its effective measure of network-wide processing power, recently peaked at 203.5 exahashes per second, a record it reached just a day prior to its birthday. With this amount of processing power, Bitcoin's network resiliency and security have also reached an all-time high. This newly-reached peak coincides with the mining of block 0, or the genesis block, which mined 50 BTC.
To this day, intrigue and mystery surround the genesis block. Some, like Craig Wright (who also happens to claim that he is Satoshi Nakamoto), argue that it wasn't really a genesis block. Instead, it was what Wright called an "anchor block" that positioned and enacted Bitcoin's network. Another intriguing fact about the genesis block is with how it was timestamped only six days after it was actually mined. At the time, timestamping the block would have taken a mere 10 minutes.
A cryptic message is included in the genesis block's coinbase parameter, and to this day, crypto enthusiasts are still mulling why Satoshi Nakamoto intended to use it for such an important, historic moment. The text, converted from HEX to ASCII, reads as follows:
"The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks"
The text above was the headline for London Times on the 3rd of January of 2009. The late timestamp and this allusion to the period's economic instability have led many to speculate that the genesis block was a message that reflected the reasons why Nakamoto created Bitcoin in the first place.
As the past year fizzled by, Bitcoin reached new all-time highs in terms of price, reaching beyond $68,000 sometime in November 2021. It failed to top this as the year ended, though, breaking a tail-end pattern that began in 2018. With a new all-time high in terms of hashrate, Bitcoin continues to dominate the crypto and blockchain industry as its alpha cryptocurrency. Concerns about its ecological sustainability in terms of mining abound, even as it nears its supply threshold. For this author, at least, Bitcoin's allure was never about its price. It is with how Bitcoin, the crypto space, and block technology itself, have opened numerous opportunities and possibilities for a more equitable world.
A lot has changed, thirteen years since the genesis block. And yes, if Bitcoin was a person, they're now literally a teenager. Perhaps a not-so-rebellious one though, as the current state of crypto regulation is running with bated breath, at a pace that shows it's trying its best to catch up to crypto's technological and economic complexities. From panic-inducing dips to DeFi hacks, from fake Satoshis to NFT booms—here's to wishing Bitcoin a meaningful birthday and better years to come.
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