The Genesis Block of Bitcoin
The Bitcoin genesis block marks and records in the blockchain the very first bitcoin transaction (images to right). The blockchain is the numeric ledger that is the foundational technology on top of which the Bitcoin network is built. Every transaction ever made with Bitcoin is recorded in this blockchain. Despite begin a numeric ledger, there is a way to encode a short text message in the transaction (yellow text to the left).
The electronic currency experiments of the 90’s, prior to the inauspicious launch of Bitcoin, were focused on the creation of robust electronic payment system with the predominate feature of being “sound money”, i.e., money not controlled by government and, therefore, not at risk of debasedment by governments. Bitcoin launched on January 3, 2009 in the midst of the great financial crisis of 2008. Encoded in the first transaction are the words, “The Times 03/Jan/2009 – Chancellor on Brink of Second Bailout for Banks.” This was the headline of the London Times of January 3rd 2009.
Although we don’t exactly know what the anonymous author Satoshi Nakamoto meant by these words, it is widely understood to be a warning of future financial crises at the hands of irresponsible government oversight, and that Bitcoin with its worldwide, decentralized network and immutable ledger (blockchain) offers a solution for working people all over the world to have sound money not controlled by the government.