Thirteen years ago on October 31, 2008, the first ever Bitcoin Whitepaper was published online by somebody using the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. The document that detailed the foundation of the world's first cryptocurrency was titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” It emphasised on the benefits of this futuristic online payment system, totally self-governed in nature. At the time, each token of what is now the most-valued cryptocurrency in the world, was priced $0.0008 (roughly Rs. 0.060), a far cry from today's prices.
In this white paper, Nakamoto noted that the world needed an “electronic payment system based on cryptographic proof instead of trust, allowing any two willing parties to transact directly with each other without the need for a trusted third party.”
Marking the “iconic day,” Bitcoin enthusiasts from around the world have been tweeting birthday greetings to the crypto-coin, as well as its whitepaper. Netizens are sending out gratitude-filled messages for Nakamoto, who remains anonymous till date.
The idea behind Nakamoto's cryptocurrency idea was to create a way to avoid financial institutions serving as trusted third parties to process electronic payments and taking cuts as service fees.
“While the system works well enough for most transactions, it still suffers from the inherent weaknesses of the trust based model. Completely non-reversible transactions are not really possible, since financial institutions cannot avoid mediating disputes. The cost of mediation increases transaction costs, limiting the minimum practical transaction size and cutting off the possibility for small casual transactions, and there is a broader cost in the loss of ability to make non-reversible payments for non-reversible services,” the whitepaper noted thirteen years ago.
Despite often been perceived as a challenge to existing financial systems and institutions in many parts of the world, the Bitcoin has soared high in these last thirteen years.
Currently, each token of the cryptocurrency is trading at $64,400 (roughly Rs. 48.2 lakh) in India.
Nakamoto has capped the number of bitcoin at 21 million, meaning there will only ever be 21 million Bitcoins in existence. By August 2021, 18.7 million bitcoins were available, leaving roughly 2.3 million to be mined, a report by Investopedia said. The supply limitation makes Bitcoin scarce and keeps its value rising.
Meanwhile, the whereabouts of Nakamoto remains unknown. In 2011, the mysterious Bitcoin inventor bid a farewell to the crypto space and apparently “moved on to different things”.
The Bitcoin tokens in Nakamoto's wallet amounting to over $66 billion (roughly Rs. 4,96,814 crore) remain unspent as of now.
Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.