8 Unknown Facts About Bitcoin
#1: A bug created 184 million BTC in 2010.
The vast majority of the world's inhabitants have heard of Bitcoin at least once in their lives. I don't have any specific numbers to back up this statement, but that's my feeling. I think you'll agree with me on this one.
Where it gets complicated is that a majority of people have a false image of what Bitcoin is. That's what motivates me to write about Bitcoin every day. My goal is to help as many people as possible to discover why Bitcoin is so important and to give as many people as possible the keys to the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that Bitcoin represents.
Besides, even among people who are understanding the liberating power of Bitcoin, there are still unknown facts about Bitcoin that I find interesting to discover. In what follows, I'll share eight of them with you that should be of interest.
1. A bug created 184 million BTC in 2010
Newcomers to the world of crypto-currencies probably don't know this, but on August 15, 2010, a bug in the Bitcoin Blockchain created over 184 million BTC!
Known as the “Value overflow incident”, this bug concerned block 74,638 of the Bitcoin Blockchain. Within it, a transaction was present creating 184,467,440,737.09551616 BTC for 3 different addresses. Thus, 2 addresses each received 92.2 million BTC while the miner solving the puzzle related to the block was rewarded with 0.01 BTC that did not exist before the transaction.
This bug was made possible by the fact that the code used by the Bitcoin Blockchain to verify transactions before including them in a block did not take into account the case of amounts so large that they exceeded the limit of the number of Bitcoins when added together.
A new corrective version of the Bitcoin Blockchain was released by Satoshi Nakamoto and another developer in just 5 hours after the bug was discovered. The blockchain then had to be forked to reject the offending block. While several unpatched nodes continued to add blocks to the bad version of the blockchain, the good version of the Bitcoin blockchain took over from block 74,691.
From that block on, all nodes accepted the patched version of the Bitcoin Blockchain as the authoritative one for transaction history. Thus, block 74,638 no longer exists for users using the longer blockchain as a reference.
2. The maximum number of BTC in circulation is not 21 million
Most people assume that there will be a maximum of 21 million Bitcoins in circulation. However, the maximum number of Bitcoin is not 21 million. The number is a bit lower, at 20,999,987,4769 BTC.
The reason for this is the reward mechanism for mined blocks developed by Satoshi Nakamoto, but also mining errors that have sometimes canceled the creation of new Bitcoin units.
3. There is an even smaller unit in the Bitcoin system than the Satoshi
Many people believe that Satoshi is the smallest unit of measurement in the Bitcoin system. Thus, 1 Satoshi is equal to 0.00000001 BTC.
However, there is an even smaller unit in the Bitcoin system that is already used in the Lightning Network for example. This is the Millisatoshi (MSAT) which represents one-thousandth of a Satoshi.
So we have the following equivalences:
1 SAT = 1000 MSAT
1 SAT = 0.00000001 BTC
1 MSAT = 0.00000000001 BTC
4. The disappearance of Satoshi Nakamoto is linked to the CIA
The title of this little-known fact in the history of Bitcoin is deliberately catchy, I must admit. Nevertheless, there is an indirect reason linked to the CIA that could explain the disappearance of Satoshi Nakamoto.
Gavin Andresen was one of the first developers of the Bitcoin blockchain, along with Satoshi Nakamoto, and was received by the CIA in 2010. The CIA wanted to question him about Bitcoin. Soon after this event Satoshi Nakamoto vanished into thin air and was never heard from again.
Was it the fear of being interrogated by the CIA that led him to disappear? We will never know, but many people still believe in this hypothesis today!
Fortunately, before disappearing, Satoshi Nakamoto had a good idea to designate Gavin Andresen as his successor and to give him access to the Bitcoin Blockchain project on SourceForge where the sources were located.
5. The first Bitcoin Faucet distributed 5 BTC per visitor
Bitcoin Faucets are well known to crypto investors who want to get portions of Bitcoins for free. Indeed, they are sites that distribute small portions of Bitcoin for free to visitors at a given time interval.
Today, the amount distributed is about one Satoshi. So it's not much. However, this was not always the case. For example, the first Bitcoin Faucet created in June 2010 by Gavin Andersen distributed 5 BTC to each visitor!
The goal was to encourage the adoption and use of Bitcoin. If you had benefited from such an initiative at the time, those 5 units of Bitcoin would give you over $280,000 today! And probably more in a few years...
6. More than 430 Altcoins are derived from Bitcoin
As the first cryptocurrency to successfully implement the Blockchain concept, Bitcoin has inspired all the cryptocurrencies that have been launched since. Today, as of November 2021, 15,133 cryptocurrencies are listed on the reference site CoinMarketCap!
All this you already knew. However, you probably don't know that 436 of these cryptocurrencies are derived from Bitcoin via direct or indirect forks! The Map of Coins website allows you to see the phenomenon. And again, the figure must be much higher today since the count of this site stops at the end of 2017 unfortunately.
If Bitcoin has often been forked so far, it is clear that it has never been equaled and that it remains, by far, the king of digital currency.
7. Satoshi Nakamoto has been nominated for the Nobel Prize in Economics
The possibilities introduced by Bitcoin are limitless. All of this goes hand in hand with the concept of the blockchain. At the origin of this revolution, we find Satoshi Nakamoto.
A mysterious, and brilliant, computer scientist who will have played a fundamental role in the economy of the years to come. For many years, his work has been recognized by all. Proof of this recognition? His nomination for the 2016 Nobel Prize in Economics.
Satoshi Nakamoto did not win this award, but some people do not despair of seeing him win it in the future.
8. 91.7% of existing addresses on the Bitcoin network have less than 0.1 BTC
The number of people who own Bitcoin pales in comparison to the number of humans living on Earth. There is also an important distinction to be made within the Bitcoin world itself. For example, 91.7% of the existing addresses on the Bitcoin network have less than 0.1 BTC.
All this shows that Bitcoin's wealth is concentrated in the hands of a very small handful of individuals. Among the 9.3% of people with more than 0.1 BTC, there is still a smaller club. This club is the Bitcoin Whales.
There are different thresholds for how much Bitcoin you need to own to be considered a Whale. Without getting into the controversy of which threshold to use, I'll simply give you the following figures: 2155 addresses have 1,000 BTC or more and 88 addresses have 10,000 BTC or more:
In Bitcoin We Trust
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