Think you know everything about crypto? Here are some fun facts about the OG digital currency, bitcoin, which may surprise you - and further pique your crypto curiosity…
Satoshi is not the smallest unit of bitcoin
While the smallest unit on the bitcoin blockchain is the satoshi (equivalent to 100 millionth of a bitcoin), a layer on top of the main blockchain called the Lightning Network can handle millisatoshi (a thousandth of a satoshi).
In 2018, a tiny artwork sold in a “micro crypto” auction for 1 millisatoshi, in an attempt to promote the Lightning Network’s micropayment capabilities. What a bargain.
A hacker once generated 184 billion bitcoin
Back in 2010, a hacker managed to create a single block, generating 184.467 billion BTC out of thin air. That’s 8,784 times more bitcoin than should ever exist.
The amount was immediately removed thanks to Satoshi Nakamoto executing a hard fork, which meant the incident was rectified within three hours of it being reported.
The first bitcoin transaction was the purchase of two pizzas
In 2010, programmer Laszlo Hanyecz spent 10,000 BTC on two Papa John’s pizzas. At the time, that equalled around $25, whereas today it’s well over the $100,000 mark.
While you might assume he’s currently kicking himself, Hanyecz has no regrets. He got to go down in history as the first person to use bitcoin in a commercial transaction, and be reminded of the fact every May 22nd, on the imaginatively named “Bitcoin Pizza Day”.
WikiLeaks turned to BTC for untraceable donations
The anonymous whistleblowing website started seeking bitcoin donations in 2011, after Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and Bank of America cut off donations and froze funds associated with the group. WikiLeaks decided bitcoin was the answer, as it allows for untraceable donations.
Satoshi Nakamoto was less than happy himself, writing (in his/ her / their last ever public forum post in 2010) that “WikiLeaks has kicked the hornet’s nest, and the swarm is headed towards us.”
The world’s first bitcoin ATM opened in Canada
There may be almost 9,000 bitcoin ATMs today, but back in 2013 Canada led the way by opening the very first one in a coffee shop in Vancouver. The ATM, inside Waves Coffee House, required customers to have their palms scanned in order to exchange their BTC for Canadian dollars, or vice versa.
Ironically, the machines are currently under scrutiny in their birthplace, with regulations recently being tightened under Canadian anti-money laundering requirements.
The Silk Road special agents turned out to be criminals themselves
The infamous online black market known for the illegal trade of drugs and weapons was shut down in 2013 following FBI raids. However, in an interesting turn of events, the special agents investigating the case were actually found to be stealing huge amounts of bitcoin during their undercover operations.
The pair were arrested in 2015, with charges of distributing drugs through the internet, extortion, money laundering and obstruction of justice among them.
And there you have it. The world of crypto certainly is an interesting one. Let us know your thoughts or if you fancy finding out anything else about your favourite coins.