Exactly nine years ago, on Jan. 3, 2009, the first block in Bitcoin’s blockchain was mined.
Looking at details of the event won’t tell you much if you’re not a cryptocurrency buff, but this was a time when Bitcoin was worth absolutely nothing, and you could mine it (that is, make new bitcoins) on your home PC.
Nine years later, Bitcoin is trading at $15,190 with a market cap of $254 billion, and it takes a huge network of powerful computers to mine even a single coin. And those 50 bitcoins that were created on that date? They’re now worth $759,000.
There’s no clear consensus on Bitcoin’s birthday; you could, for example, argue that the cryptocurrency was created on the date when Satoshi Nakamoto released the Bitcoin whitepaper, a seminal document that describes the basics of the project, on Oct. 31, 2008. But Jan. 3 was the moment when Bitcoin actually started existing, and it feels far more appropriate as the birthdate for the most influential cryptocurrency.
The Genesis Bitcoin block is also interesting because it contains a hidden message in its coinbase, saying “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.”
Despite that ominous message, Bitcoin still hasn’t created many headaches for banks… yet. However, many financial experts believe that cryptocurrencies will disrupt or even overtake the world’s financial system in the future, be it through Bitcoin or some other coin. And if that sounds like a tall order, take into account that today, the market cap of all cryptocurrencies combined reached a new milestone and is now over $701 billion.