From the genesis block, the world’s first 50 bitcoin was created. But in the block, something else was hidden by bitcoin’s still anonymous founder Satoshi Nakamoto, namely a reference to an article in the British magazine The Times.
The text was: “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks”.
The article was published the same day – January 3, 2009 – and the front page looked like this:
The text in the genesis block has been interpreted partly as a kind of timestamp, and partly as a taunt against the fact that the financial world becomes unstable because of so-called “fractional-reserve banking”, i.e. that banks can lend more money than they actually have at their disposal by creating new money when offering loans.
A reaction to the financial crisis
The interpretation has been that bitcoin is a reaction to the financial crisis in 2008 and was created to be an economic value system that is not dependent on third parties such as banks.
Today – exactly ten years later – the cryptocurrency exchange Bitmex has bought an ad on the front page of The Times where they thank Satoshi Nakamoto for bitcoin:
Happy 10th Birthday Bitcoin! pic.twitter.com/DpOPjojsOd
— BitMEX Research (@BitMEXResearch) January 2, 2019
Today, an initiative called “Proof of keys”, which is led by investor Trace Mayer, is calling on people to taking out their cryptocurrencies, that is, their private keys, if they keep them with third parties such as online crypto wallets or crypto exchanges.
The idea of the initiative is to remind people of bitcoins original vision. They want to prove that people themselves have control over their crypto assets, but also to check that the third party solutions actually keep the assets they claim to store, and not, for example, lend them like the banks in the world.