Genesis Block Definition
What is the Genesis Block?
A genesis block is the first block of a blockchain and contains the protocol that establishes the basis for all future blocks. The first ever block of Bitcoin mined, the Genesis Block, was done so by Satoshi Nakamoto himself back in 2009.
Nakamoto, a mysterious unknown figure, is the founder of Bitcoin. He mined the block over six days and it has 50 bitcoins in it. These 50 bitcoins, and anymore that are added to the original block are completely unspendable. The Genesis Block is often referred to as Block 0.
There are a couple of curious aspects of the Genesis Block which has sparked much debate
within the cryptocurrency community. Did Nakamoto understand just how much of an impact he would be having on the way we use currency? Why did the first block take so long to mine when it usually only ten minutes?
The Genesis Question
Many believe he took his time to make sure everything would be perfect since it would be in the system forever. Every block of Bitcoin that has been mined since 2009 traces its ancestry back to the Genesis Block. It’s the origin and foundation of the entire blockchain. As more and more blocks are added to the chain, each one traces back to the Genesis Block.
Even more puzzling to the crypto community is the secret message that Nakamoto left behind, embedded within the first block.
“The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks”
No comment or explanation of the message is given. It just sits there in obscurity, demanding attention and debate. Many see the message as the mission statement for Bitcoin. The quote is referring to an article in a London newspaper, The Times on January 3, 2009. The article referred to how the British government failed to jump start the economy after the 2008 financial crisis.
Bitcoin was designed by Nakamoto to be different. It would never and could never be bailed out due to the fact that there was no middleman between the consumer and currency. Perhaps no comment on Nakamoto’s message is necessary. It speaks for itself.
Recently, many within the crypto community have been paying homage to Nakamoto and the first Bitcoin block. Appreciative fans make their pilgrimage to the founding block and donate a small amount into it. Once in the block, that Bitcoin can never be spent.