Today marks 15 years since Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin (BTC)
, shared the whitepaper of the revolutionary cryptocurrency through a mailing list consisting of cryptographers. Satoshi began this email with the opening sentence: "I've been working on a new electronic payment system that is entirely peer-to-peer, with no need for a third party." The email also included the whitepaper of the payment system.
The Bitcoin whitepaper described how this decentralized system would facilitate peer-to-peer transactions and thus solve the "double spending" problem often associated with digital currency.
This was proposed to be achieved through a network of nodes to validate and record transactions using a proof-of-work consensus mechanism. This network was launched just two months later, on January 3, 2009.
How Bitcoin came to life
Satoshi's idea for Bitcoin emerged from other impressive developments in the fields of cryptography and electronic money.
In the Bitcoin whitepaper, the first reference mentioned was the invention by Wei Dai, called B-money, an electronic peer-to-peer payment system that was never launched but nonetheless played a significant role in Satoshi's plans for Bitcoin. Like Bitcoin, B-money proposed that participants in the system maintain a database of all accounts, which kept track of who had which money. Transactions would be initiated and completed by a message to all participants, immediately updating the account balances of those involved.
The rise of Bitcoin
At the time, Bitcoin was one of the first inventions to successfully separate money from the state through cryptography. Satoshi's invention allowed users to effectively bypass banks and financial institutions to conduct transactions with others worldwide.
The first real Bitcoin transaction occurred in May 2010 when a man named Laszlo Hanyecz purchased two pizzas with 10,000 Bitcoins.
Several developments have been implemented to make Bitcoin more scalable and create more use cases for the network. One of these developments is the Lightning network, which was launched in 2018. This network aimed to increase the transaction speed of Bitcoin by performing computations off-chain.