bitcoin genesis day

Genesis Day is a Bitcoin holiday celebrated on January 3rd, the day that Satoshi Nakamoto mined the first block of Bitcoin – thus creating the world’s first blockchain. These were the words on the Bitcoin blockchain genesis block, the first block on the blockchain:

“The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.”

It was mined by Satoshi Nakamoto himself at 18:15:05 GMT and  attached the words to prove that no pre-mining had occurred. The first block on the “block chain,” as Mr. Nakamoto called it. Nakamoto then disappeared a few years later, leaving core developer Gavin Anderson in charge. Today is the anniversary of the creation of the bitcoin blockchain, so let’s have a look at Bitcoin’s past since Satoshi left at the end of 2010.

Happy Genesis Day! A brief look at the Origins of Bitcoin and the path it has taken

“Bitcoin” first appeared in our lexicon on 31 October 2008 on a cryptography mailing list as a link to a paper written by Nakamoto about bitcoin itself. The paper detailed how bitcoin would work, and soon after the release of the whitepaper, the genesis block was mined, and the bitcoin network was online.

Fast forward to 2012, the price at the beginning of the year was $2.00, with the price rising to $13.00 in December. Bitcoin picked up some early media coverage in an episode of The Good Wife – specifically in a season 3 episode titled ‘Bitcoin for Dummies’. Later that year, the Bitcoin Foundation was created. In April 2013, The Pirate Bay began accepting donations in bitcoin.

In 2014, the price passed $1000 for a short amount of time, before falling to around $200 later in the year. The network hash rate surpassed 10PH/s, the network would later pass 100PH/s. And in February, Mt. Gox, a large exchange at the time began to refuse withdrawals, It eventually filed bankruptcy. Leaving a large number of its clients out of any bitcoin that they had stored with Mt. Gox at the time. In July, the US-based online computer hardware Newegg announced that it would begin accepting bitcoin. Later in the year, in December, Microsoft started to accept bitcoin for various services.

Three years ago… In 2015, the price hit a low of $200 and a high of $504, the highest bitcoin had ever been valued at. Coinbase reported in January that it had raised over $70 million in funding. While at the same time BitStamp was investigating a hack of their hot wallet, resulting in a loss of 19000 BTC – now worth quite a bit according to the BlockExplorer Market Data. In August,  Barclays announced that charities would be able to convert bitcoin directly to fiat currency in their accounts. In October, the Unicode Consortium received a proposal to add the bitcoin symbol to the Unicode specification.

In 2016, a slow and steady rise in Bitcoin’s price accompanied rises in transaction fees and volume. In 2017, Bitcoin forked a few times. Now that it is Genesis Day 2018: Let’s take this Bitcoin Genesis Day to look back on the path of the past and plan for the future.

As the end of 2017 has passed, let us look back at the work done on the top 25 cryptocurrencies reference implementations in 2017. Most people are looking at market cap to get a good idea to see how well a cryptocurrency is doing. Another good thing to look at is the number of commits to the project, as this shows developer activity and that the cryptocurrency is being improved, which could theoretically lead to further development and market gains.

 

Bitcoin

Ticker: BTC

Commits in 2017: 1925

Commits last month: 90

Top contributor last month: Matt Corallo

 

Ripple

Ticker: XRP

Commits in 2017: 271

Commits last month: 37

Top contributor last month: Brad Chase

 

Ethereum

Ticker: ETH

Commits in 2017: 833

Commits last month: 67

Top contributor last month: Péter Szilágyi

 

Bitcoin Cash

Ticker: BCH

Commits in 2017: 1101

Commits last month: 120

Top contributor last month: deadalnix

 

Litecoin

Ticker: LTC

Commits in 2017: 1299

Commits last month: 0

 

IOTA

Ticker: MIOTA

Commits in 2017: 1167

Commits last month: 43

Top contributor last month: Alon Elmaliah

 

NEM

Ticker: XEM

Commits in 2017: 49

Commits last month: 4

 

Dash

Ticker: DASH

Commits in 2017: 385

Commits last month: 371

Top contributor last month: Wladimir J. van der Laan

 

Stellar Lumens

Ticker: XLM

Commits in 2017: 444

Commits last month: 98

Top contributor last month: Rafał Malinowski

 

Monero

Ticker: XMR

Commits in 2017: 1199

Commits last month: 129

Top contributor last month: moneromooo-monero

 

NEO

Ticker: NEO

Commits in 2017: 99

Commits last month: 27

 

 

EOS

Ticker: EOS

Commits in 2017: 1450

Commits last month: 200

Top contributor last month: Kevin Heifner

 

Qtum

Ticker: QTUM

Commits in 2017: 1233

Commits last month: 137

 

 

Ethereum Classic

Ticker: ETC

Commits in 2017: 952

Commits last month: 157

Top contributor last month: ia

 

Lisk

Ticker: LSK

Commits in 2017: 2179

Commits last month: 303

Top contributor last month: Oliver Beddows

 

OmiseGo

Ticker: OMG

Commits in 2017: 62

Commits last month: 7

Top contributor last month: Weerasak Chongnguluam

 

BitShares

Ticker: BTS

Commits in 2017: 289

Commits last month: 21

Top contributor last month: zhuliting

 

Zcash

Ticker: ZEC

Commits in 2017: 503

Commits last month: 39

Top contributor last month: str4d

 

Stratis

Ticker: STRAT

Commits in 2017: 1057

Commits last month: 90

Top contributor last month: Aprogiena

 

ByteCoin

Ticker: BCN

Commits in 2017: 10

Commits last month: 0

Image from bytecoin wiki

DogeCoin

Ticker: DOGE

Commits in 2017: 8

Commits last month: 8

Top contributor last month: Ross Nicoll

Image from dogecoin github

SiaCoin

Ticker: SC

Commits in 2017: 1493

Commits last month: 121

Top contributor last month: Christopher Schinnerl

 

Steem

Ticker: STEEM

Commits in 2017: 452

Commits last month: 147

Top contributor last month: Michael Vandeberg

Augur

Ticker: REP

Commits in 2017: 3549

Commits last month: 197

Top contributor last month: Stephen Sprinkle

Ethereum developers have launched an alpha test network (testnet) for Casper, paving the way for the cryptocurrency to eventually transition to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus algorithm.

Like bitcoin, ethereum currently operates on a proof-of-work (PoW) consensus algorithm, meaning that the network is secured and new currency units are issued through “mining,” whereby participants solve cryptographic puzzles to validate transactions and create new blocks.

However, PoW has attracted criticism over the years, both for its tendency to centralize mining hardware into a few pools and for the amount of electricity it consumes.

Ethereum to implement Proof-of-Stake

Ethereum aims to address these problems by transitioning to Casper, a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus algorithm. Under Casper, participants can become validators by locking up or “staking” ether. Validators will take turns proposing and voting on blocks, and both the weight of their votes and the size of their rewards will hinge on the size of their stakes.

According to developers, moving to Casper will greatly reduce the amount of electricity “wasted” through PoW mining. In addition to limiting its environmental impact, PoS will allow ethereum to dramatically reduce its rate of currency inflation since validators will have much lower overhead and will thus require smaller rewards to incentivize them to continue to serve as validators.

Moreover, PoS will also reduce the incentive that validators have to centralize their influence. With decreased centralization comes increased security and, importantly, resistance to dreaded 51 percent attacks.

Ethereum is not the first project to attempt to integrate a PoS consensus algorithm. However, most previous PoS implementations have been criticized because, in the event of a blockchain split, validators are incentivized to try to make blocks on top of every chain rather than resolving the consensus back to a single blockchain.

casper
Source: Ethereum/Github

Casper aims to solve this problem by imposing economic penalties on malicious validators that violate the network’s rules. This ensures that validators are properly incentivized to achieve consensus on a single blockchain in the event of a network split.

Following three years of development, Casper has officially entered alpha testing, and the first full-featured testnet has launched. The software must still traverse several release checkpoints before it is ready to launch on the main network, but this alpha release nevertheless marks an important step toward its eventual activation on the main ethereum network.

Casper
Source: Vitalik Buterin/Twitter

Users can join the testnet by following the instructions in this guide, and once online they can send transactions and become validators, just as they would on a normal network, although the network’s performance is not indicative of how production clients will operate once the project receives an official release.

bulletproofs

Bulletproofs, a technological innovation proposed by Stanford University’s Applied Cryptography Group and several Blockstream developers, could enable bitcoin users to transact with enhanced privacy, even when making on-chain transactions.

Contrary to mainstream media reports, bitcoin transactions are not private. Although addresses are pseudonymous, all transaction information is publicly viewable using block explorers, and developers have created enhanced tools that allow their users to obtain a range of enhanced information and link addresses to their parent wallets.

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), for instance, uses these blockchain-tracing tools to help identify and prosecute taxpayers who use bitcoin as a method for tax evasion. The presence of these tools is also why many dark web marketplaces have adopted monero, an anonymity-centric cryptocurrency, as their payment method of choice.

First presented in a paper (PDF) titled “Bulletproofs: Short Proofs for Confidential Transactions and More,” Bulletproofs promise to provide bitcoin users with the ability to make private, on-chain transactions at a more affordable rate than currently-existent methods.

Bitcoin Bulletproofs could bring privacy to Bitcoin

As described by the paper’s authors, Bulletproofs operate on a “non-interactive zero-knowledge proof protocol with very short proofs and without a trusted setup.”

This protocol will purportedly improve upon current implementations of zero-knowledge proofs, which, at a basic level, allow observers to verify the integrity of transactions while obfuscating the amount of the transaction to everyone except the sender and receiver. Although onlookers can still see what addresses are involved in the transaction, senders can create so-called “false negatives” by paying zero bitcoins to several addresses, preventing observers from identifying what address received the coins.

Critics say that the problem with current implementations of zero-knowledge proofs is that they must either utilize a trusted setup — as zcash did through its famous “Ceremony” — or they must be “prohibitively large” in size, exacerbating what many people believe are already exorbitant fees that must be paid to transact on the bitcoin network.

Bulletproofs, the paper’s authors claim, will reduce the size of confidential transactions considerably by shortening the cryptographic proofs needed to implement them. This, ultimately, will make confidential transactions  much more affordable and practical for average users without subjecting the network to the systemic risks of employing a trusted setup.

Featured Image from Pexels

venezuela

Government cryptocurrency is coming, whether we want it to or not. On the 28th of December in Caracas, Venezeual’s Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said: “It is a matter of days before we announce the first issuance of the ‘petro’ cryptocurrency.” Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez said these words at a press conference regarding ‘Petro’, broadcast on state TV Thursday.

Early in December, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced that Venezuela would be issuing their own cryptocurrency in order to circumvent U.S.-led financial sanctions.

According to Rodriguez on Thursday, the Petro will help Venezuela face the increasing international diplomatic opposition regarding President Nicolas Maduro’s crackdown on any political opposition at home. Rodrigues also hopes the Petro will help him skirt sanctions or attacks on Venezuela from the international financial system at large. “It will allow us to overcome any financial blockade.” He said.

Not the first announced government cryptocurrency, but Petro could possibly be the first to market

While not the first announcement of a government-issued cryptocurrency, nor nearly the first time that government has meddled in crypto,  the Petro is the first cryptocurrency to be backed by physical assets. Maduro stated on Wednesday that more than 5 billion barrels of Venezuelan oil will serve as the backing for the cryptocurrency. This oil should be able to back around $267 billion worth of currency, compared to the Bitcoin’s current market cap of $247 billion.

While he didn’t give any further details on mining or how this would be secured or “decentralized,” Rodriguez did say that miners were already lined up. Needless to say, we’re eager to find out how this government cryptocurrency will function.

Venezuela to launch Petro cyrptocurrency