By Makkie Maclang, CoinGeek
Bitcoin will forever be remembered throughout history as the pioneer in digital currencies. Before Ethereum, Litecoin, Binance Coin, Cardano and Tether came into existence, there was Bitcoin. It has been more than a decade since the Bitcoin white paper, entitled ‘Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,’ was published on Oct. 31, 2008 under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. However, it only reached mass consciousness in 2017 when its value skyrocketed to $20,000.
Bitcoin is a triadic term that denotes a digital coin, a set-in-stone protocol and a public blockchain network. While Bitcoin has since become a household name and blockchain has been gaining ground in the past few years as a viable technology for businesses in various industries, such as healthcare, gaming, social media, marketing, supply chain and real estate, not many people know about their true history and real value.
The first ever person-to-person Bitcoin transaction was completed on Jan. 12, 2009 when Nakamoto successfully sent 10 bitcoins to cryptographer and developer Hal Finney. It was a year after, on May 22, 2010, that the first documented Bitcoin transaction was created when early bitcoin mining aficionado Laszlo Hanyecz bought two pizza pies for 10,000 bitcoins – worth about $25 total at that time. Now, 10,000 bitcoins would amount to almost $600 million.
From its humble beginnings, Bitcoin’s value and popularity steadily started to rise; and people became increasingly curious as to who Nakamoto was as his identity remained a mystery. Public interest was so high that on Mar. 6, 2014, Newsweek published the lengthy investigative article ‘The Face Behind Bitcoin’ that identified Dorian Nakamoto, a Japanese-American engineer living in California, as the creator of the ‘global phenomenon.’
The next day, Satoshi Nakamoto’s account, which had been dormant since 2009, on the P2P Foundation website suddenly became active. Nakamoto simply replied, ‘I am not Dorian Nakamoto,’ in one of his old posts dated Feb. 11, 2009.
In 2015, a year full of upheaval in bitcoin, Wired and Gizmodo published leaked documents and headline stories claiming the largely unknown Dr. Craig S. Wright was Satoshi Nakamoto – effectively doxing him and threatening the well-being of his business, friends and family. This prompted a media frenzy which culminated in the removal of Gavin Andresen from the helm of Bitcoin Core, and caused a fury of problems for Wright who very clearly did not want to be a public figure at the time.
On May 2, 2016, the confusion came to an end when Wright, Chief Scientist of UK-based Bitcoin research company nChain, addressed the world and admitted on BBC News that he was indeed Satoshi Nakamoto.
Over the years, there has been an underlying dispute within the Bitcoin community over the scalability of its blockchain. The conflict reached its peak in 2017. Termed as the Bitcoin scaling war, Bitcoin split into Bitcoin Core (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH), with advocates of the former labeled as small blockers and the latter big blockers. These labels denote those who did not believe in scaling and opted to keep Bitcoin’s 1MB block size cap, and those who believed that increasing it is the only answer for Bitcoin to move forward.
For Bitcoin beginners, a blockchain is a distributed ledger that records validated transactions on data blocks, which are then linked together to form a chain. A master copy of the data, updated in near real time, is stored on all nodes (or miners) on the network. All miners also need to agree if ever a change is going to be made, making data practically impossible to be manipulated. Hence, data is distributed and the network is decentralized. In order to scale, the block size limit needs to be raised, enabling each block to contain more data and transactions.
At the height of the scaling war in 2017, Wright could not take what was…