‘Second Reformation’: Bitcoin Enthusiasts Mark Cryptocurrency White Paper’s 13th Birthday
16:32 GMT 31.10.2021 (Updated: 17:44 GMT 31.10.2021)
Since coming into existence in early 2009, Bitcoin has gone on to spark a revolution in the way millions of people think about money, and gave rise to thousands of other cryptocurrencies. Over a decade after its creation, its developer or developers remain unknown.
Cryptocurrency enthusiasts celebrated the 13th birthday of the “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” white paper on Sunday, with the document, written by presumed pseudonym "Satoshi Nakamoto," published on 31 October 2008, a month and a half after the registration of the bitcoin.org domain name, and two months before the Bitcoin network went live on 3 January 2009.
The concise, nine-page white paper
unveiled the concept of a decentralised, global, peer-to-peer digital currency – untethered to any central bank or administrator, and released as open-source software.
Bitcoin aficionados marked the anniversary on social media, taking a stroll down memory lane and asking
when fellow enthusiasts first read the paper, or recalling crazy stories
from the cryptocurrency’s early days – like how someone bought a pizza for 10,000 Bitcoins (equivalent to over $606 million today).
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey thanked Nakamoto for his invention and linked to a copy of the white paper.
Others posted excerpts from the paper itself, pointing to its role in changing “the way we look at money,”
or the even the world in general
. One user was bold enough to predict that Bitcoin would become the “Second Reformation” –i.e., an economic analogue to the 16th century religious movement that challenged the Catholic Church and papal authority and gave rise to Protestantism.
Some users remained focused on the future, pointing to the cryptocurrency’s skyrocketing value over the years, and expressing hopes that it will reach $100,000 per Bitcoin by the end of 2021.
Bitcoin’s market cap surpassed a $1 trillion market cap in the spring of 2021, becoming the fastest asset in history to do so. The cryptocurrency repeated the feat
earlier this month after trading surpassed $65,000 per Bitcoin. The resurgence followed a heavy blow to its value in the summer after China allowed Bitcoin mining and transactions.
The cryptocurrency has been praised for its decentralised nature and defiance of global central banks, but has also taken flak from some corners due to the difficulty in tracing Bitcoin wallets, and its subsequent allure for money launderers, cybercriminals and others seeking to evade the law. It has also been criticised over the immense amounts of electricity required to produce new Bitcoins – with this amount growing larger and larger as fewer and fewer
Bitcoins remain to be mined (there is a mathematically-set limit of 21 million Bitcoins which cannot be surpassed).
The coin – and other cryptocurrencies – have also been blasted by traditional investors, given its rollercoaster spike and drop in value, which has made it impossible to predict its future worth even by seasoned market analysts. Another criticism is that the coin could plummet in value if world governments collectively decided to shut down exchanges – something enthusiasts hope against hope is an unlikely scenario.
In a pair of tweets, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden urged people to be wary of investing their hard-earned savings into Dogecoin clones.
Bitcoin’s mysterious origins has also led to a host of conspiracy theories about who or what created it, with theories ranging from the plausible -that it was created by intelligence agencies
, to the strange – that it was devised by Rogue AI
, or even aliens
, either to help or enslave humanity.