by Carl Kruse
Twelve years ago some guy (or group of people, nobody really knows) called Satoshi Nakamoto, published an 8-page white paper called “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” giving birth to Bitcoin.
In eight pages, Nakamoto described the use of a blockchain — a widely distributed, immutable, cryptographically protected ledger — to enable the sending of money anywhere, anytime between two people without needing a trusted third party, like a bank or a Western Union. The technology also enabled storing money in a manner that cannot be accessed by anyone other than the person with the proper key, and limited the total amount of Bitcoin that can ever exist to 21 million bitcoins. This is unlike regular money whose supply dramatically increases over time, decreasing its value.
One of the main issues solved by Nakamoto with Bitcoin was the so-called “double-spend” problem, or how to keep a digital asset, which is incredibly easy to copy (think of an mp3 or a photo or video), from being copied or spent twice.
In its 12 young years, Bitcoin bootsrapped itself into the most powerful computer network in history, giving rise to an asset that is deflationary, portable, unforgeable, programmable, fungible, divisible, antifragile, scarce and free from Central Banks or governments. In these coming decades it will change how everyone stores and transfers wealth and should go some way in fostering individual freedom, among other things.
Happy Birthday Bitcoin.
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