Bitcoin according to Satoshi
Bitcoin is a passion, and just like every passion fires up souls. Having lived all these years Bitcoin’s adventures makes impartiality a very hard task.
This is why these lines are so cold, without names and opinions. I’m not going to write anything related to the price, the value, community or hash power, to principles or vision. I’m not going to write anything that can be interpreted. My scope is to be able to give a very short and objective history of the Bitcoin blockchain according to what Satoshi wrote.
No name, only facts. The ones who know the history of Bitcoin should be able to quickly connect the different coins to the different paths. For those who are new to the sector the dates and the other info should be enough to Google everything and to make things clear.
Citations are for the ones that want to check that what I reported is the truth.
Bitcoin was born on October 31 2008 with the release of a nine page document from the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. The document is about a system for peer-to-peer cash transactions, without a trusted third party.
In the document Satoshi Nakamoto broadly describes what Bitcoin is, which issues it solves and the basic working principles.
On January 3 2009 the first block of the chain is mined, the so called Genesis Block, and with it the first 50 bitcoins are released to the world.
In July 2010 Satoshi Nakamoto introduces a limitation for the maximum size a block can reach: 1MB. This modification limits the maximum number of transactions that can be recorded on the blockchain every 10 minutes to about 2000, a little less more than 3 per second. The motivations are not clear, but after some months Satoshi explains how to remove the limit:
October 04, 2010
“It can be phased in, like:
if (blocknumber > 115000)
maxblocksize = largerlimit
The source code released by Satoshi Nakamoto describes Bitcoin as a very sophisticated mechanism, where transactions can be built according to different needs with a proprietary scripting language.
June 17, 2010
“The nature of Bitcoin is such that once version 0.1 was released, the core design was set in stone for the rest of its lifetime. Because of that, I wanted to design it to support every possible transaction type I could think of.”
In the following years many of the functions (OP_CODE) built in the Bitcoin script language have been blocked or disabled.
In 2015 a functionality to allow the substitution of existing transactions, not yet mined, with more recent and more expensive ones was introduced.
In the whitepaper we can read:
“For our purposes, the earliest transaction is the one that counts, so we don't care
about later attempts to double-spend.”
On August 1 2017, at block number 478559, the Bitcoin blockchain splits in two, since that moment different miners have started to create different and incompatible blocks. In that moment two chains were born each one with its own peculiarities.
On a chain miners can create blocks bigger than 1MB and the substitution of cheaper transactions with the more expensive ones is removed, the modification introduced in 2015 is reverted.
On the other chain the maximum size for a block remains 1MB but a new kind of transaction is introduced. This new kind of transaction allows to move the sender’s signature out of the transaction body, this means that transactions are still connected but without the respective signatures. This allows to recover space inside the block to fit a higher number of transactions.
In the whitepaper:
“We define an electronic coin as a chain of digital signatures.”
November 15 2018, one of these two chains splits once more.
A branch increases further the maximum size for a block and restores some of the functionalities (OP_CODE) disabled in the first years. The other branch adds a new function to the Bitcoin script language and set the rule that all the transactions inside a block must be in alphabetical order.
In the withepaper:
“To accomplish this without a trusted party, transactions must be publicly announced , and we need a system for participants to agree on a single history of the order in which they were received.“
The Bitcoin blockchain experienced several splits, but the ones explained here are the only two that matter.
The three blockchains now are following different paths, each one with its own vision and philosophy.
All three blockchains began with the Genesis Block of 2009 and are still alive today.
Now, given what has been written here, everyone should be able to recognize the most coherent path with what Satoshi wrote, in other words, which chains can be called Bitcoin and which one not.
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