Sunday Jan. 3, 2021’s Smile of the Day: Bitcoin
On this Day:
In 2009, the Bitcoin network is created as the first block of the digital currency is mined by a person or group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto.
Satoshi Nakamoto is the name used by the presumed pseudonymous person or persons who developed bitcoin, authored the bitcoin white paper, and created and deployed bitcoin’s original reference implementation. As part of the implementation, Nakamoto also devised the first blockchain database. In the process, Nakamoto was the first to solve the double-spending problem for digital currency using a peer-to-peer network. Nakamoto was active in the development of bitcoin up until December 2010. Many people have claimed, or have been claimed, to be Satoshi Nakamoto.
A blockchain is a growing list of records, called blocks, that are linked using cryptography. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data (generally represented as a Merkle tree).
By design, a blockchain is resistant to modification of its data. This is because once recorded, the data in any given block cannot be altered retroactively without alteration of all subsequent blocks. For use as a distributed ledger, a blockchain is typically managed by a peer-to-peer network collectively adhering to a protocol for inter-node communication and validating new blocks. Although blockchain records are not unalterable, blockchains may be considered secure by design. The blockchain has been described as “an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way”.
The bitcoin design has inspired other applications and blockchains that are readable by the public and are widely used by cryptocurrencies.
Nakamoto has stated that work on the writing of the code for bitcoin began in 2007. On 18 August 2008 he or a colleague registered the domain name bitcoin.org, and created a web site at that address. On 31 October 2008, he published a paper on the cryptography mailing list at metzdowd.com describing a digital cryptocurrency, titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”.
Satoshi Nakamoto embedded a message in the coinbase of the first block:
On 9 January 2009, he released version 0.1 of the bitcoin software on Sourceforge, and launched the network by mining the genesis block of bitcoin (block number 0), which had a reward of 50 bitcoins. Embedded in the coinbase transaction of this block was the text: “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks”, referring to a headline in the UK newspaper The Times published on that date. This note has been interpreted as both a timestamp of the genesis date and a derisive comment on the instability caused by fractional-reserve banking (per Wikipedia).
First, a Story:
What kind of currency do vampires prefer? Bitcoin.
Second, a Song:
Alexander Hamilton and Satoshi Nakamoto engage in an Epic Rap Battle of History debate on the merits of centralized and decentralized currencies. What do you think? You can win bitcoin after watching this video and leaving your comments. (Yes, we’re serious.)
Thought for the Day:
“At its core, bitcoin is a smart currency designed by very forward-thinking engineers. It eliminates the need for banks, gets rid of credit card fees, currency exchange fees, money transfer fees, and reduces the need for lawyers in transitions… all good things.” – Peter Diamandis
Further to yesterday’s Smile on Air Conditioning, the Rev. Bob Beasley, UE writes from Grimsby Ontario:
“Along with my at-the-time young family, I spent a decade of my life living in Marianna, Florida, a small town in the midst of the pine forests of the Florida Panhandle. It was one of the most memorable, challenging and enjoyable periods of my life. At any rate, the locals tell the story, and celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. John Gorrie, who was one of the pioneers of refrigeration – a needed commodity in 19th century north Florida, with its oppressive heat and humidity from early May through mid-October. In light of your Smile of the Day today, I thought you might be interested in reading this: http://www.phys.ufl.edu/~ihas/gorrie/fridge.htm
Happy New Year.
Have a great day!
© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky