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Happy birthday, bitcoin!

The cryptocurrency that started it all turns 9

Marilyn Monroe singing “Happy Birthday” to President John F. Kennedy, 1962. (Creative commons photo)

Today marks the ninth anniversary of the day bitcoin was unleashed upon the world, thus ushering cryptocurrency revolution. Well, sorta. It took a while for it to pick up but look at it now! Commemorate it by reading Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper (pdf).

The very first block in the bitcoin blockchain (the “genesis block”) contained a simple proof of its creation: “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks”. That was the headline from a front page article in the Times of London as the global banking and monetary system was on the verge of collapsing. Nakamoto’s choice for that as the first block may have been coincidence or may have been a deliberate message. For a stroll down Memory Lane, read the article itself here (subscription required).

The Economist cover, January 9, 1988.

As noted on Reddit, this week also marks the 30th anniversary of the Economist cover saying “Get ready for a world currency” with an eagle standing over a gold coin dated 2018.¬†Some say it predicted cryptocurrencies but if it really did, the headline should have read, “Get ready for thousands of world currencies.”

Lawrence Lewitinn, CFA is editor in chief of Modern Consensus. Disclosure: Lewitinn owns no cryptocurrencies in his portfolio.