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Bitcoin SV: The Original Bitcoin

Bitcoin SV: The Original Bitcoin By Makkie Maclang, CoinGeek

05/10/2021 12:54

Bitcoin SV: The Original Bitcoin

By Makkie Maclang, CoinGeek

Bitcoin will forever be remembered throughout history as the pioneer in digital currencies. Before Ethereum, Litecoin, Binance Coin, Cardano and Tether came into existence, there was Bitcoin. It has been more than a decade since the Bitcoin white paper, entitled ‘Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,’ was published on Oct. 31, 2008 under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. However, it only reached mass consciousness in 2017 when its value skyrocketed to $20,000.

At present, many still confuse Bitcoin with blockchain, and some even think the two terms are synonymous. Used only twice in the white paper, Bitcoin is a triadic term that denotes a digital coin, a set-in-stone protocol and a public blockchain network. While Bitcoin has since become a household name and blockchain has been gaining ground in the past few years as a viable technology for businesses in various industries, such as healthcare, gaming, social media, marketing, supply chain and real estate, not many people know about their true history and real value.

Bitcoin History

The first ever person-to-person Bitcoin transaction was completed on Jan. 12, 2009 when Nakamoto successfully sent 10 bitcoins to cryptographer and developer Hal Finney. It was a year after, on May 22, 2010, that the first documented Bitcoin transaction was created when early bitcoin mining aficionado Laszlo Hanyecz bought two pizza pies for 10,000 bitcoins - worth about $25 total at that time. Now, 10,000 bitcoins would amount to almost $600 million. 

From its humble beginnings, Bitcoin’s value and popularity steadily started to rise; and people became increasingly curious as to who Nakamoto was as his identity remained a mystery. Public interest was so high that on Mar. 6, 2014, Newsweek published the lengthy investigative article ‘The Face Behind Bitcoin’ that identified Dorian Nakamoto, a Japanese-American engineer living in California, as the creator of the ‘global phenomenon.’

The next day, Satoshi Nakamoto’s account, which had been dormant since 2009, on the P2P Foundation website suddenly became active. Nakamoto simply replied, ‘I am not Dorian Nakamoto,’ in one of his old posts dated Feb. 11, 2009. 

In 2015, a year full of upheaval in bitcoin, Wired and Gizmodo published leaked documents and headline stories claiming the largely unknown Dr. Craig S. Wright was Satoshi Nakamoto - effectively doxing him and threatening the well-being of his business, friends and family. This prompted a media frenzy which culminated in the removal of Gavin Andresen from the helm of Bitcoin Core, and caused a fury of problems for Wright who very clearly did not want to be a public figure at the time. 

On May 2, 2016, the confusion came to an end when Wright, Chief Scientist of UK-based Bitcoin research company nChain, addressed the world and admitted on BBC News that he was indeed Satoshi Nakamoto. Before this, there were only two videos, one in 2014 and another in 2015, of Wright talking about his vision for Bitcoin. After his BBC appearance, Wright again stepped away from the limelight as long as he could.

Over the years, there has been an underlying dispute within the Bitcoin community over the scalability of its blockchain. The conflict reached its peak in 2017. Termed as the Bitcoin scaling war, Bitcoin split into Bitcoin Core (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH), with advocates of the former labeled as small blockers and the latter big blockers. These labels denote those who did not believe in scaling and opted to keep Bitcoin’s 1MB block size cap, and those who believed that increasing it is the only answer for Bitcoin to move forward.

For Bitcoin beginners, a blockchain is a distributed ledger that records validated transactions on data blocks, which are then linked together to form a chain. A master copy of the data, updated in near real time, is stored on all nodes (or miners) on the network. All miners also need to agree if ever a change is going to be made, making data practically impossible to be manipulated. Hence, data is distributed and the network is decentralized. In order to scale, the block size limit needs to be raised, enabling each block to contain more data and transactions.

At the height of the scaling war in 2017, Wright could not take what was happening to his creation anymore. With Bitcoin nurturing a reputation for being a network focused exclusively on large, slow and expensive (but presumably unstoppable) transactions, the only viable use cases for the network were becoming evasive savings and large-scale criminal commerce. Against this backdrop, Wright made a fiery, surprise speech at the Arnhem conference in July 2017.

“Satoshi Nakamoto didn’t like the crime culture of Bitcoin; however, it was the predominant cultural narrative. ‘Hey, we need a lot of distributed nodes, we need to make sure bitcoin can’t be censored, and to make sure we can’t censor it, we need to make it slow and small enough for people to run their own nodes and create their notion of perfect security,’” CoinGeek Chief Historian Kurt Wuckert Jr. said in an episode of The Michael Sisco Show. 

From the moment Wright made his surprise appearance in Arnhem, he steadily returned to the Bitcoin community and became active in order to fix Bitcoin and get it back on track - focusing on the technology, the economics and the culture that makes Bitcoin valuable. In 2018, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) was again embroiled in conflict over the scaling issue. While BCH had scaled its block size limit set to 32MB, many believed that that was enough. Again, some bitcoiners fought against the need for continuing to scale, while others wanted to pursue Wright’s vision of infinite scalability. In late 2018, BCH again split and Bitcoin SV (BSV) emerged from the battle.

What is Bitcoin SV (BSV)?

With SV standing for Satoshi Vision, it is clear that BSV is all about restoring Bitcoin to what Wright originally intended it to be. Since its inception, BSV has been dubbed as the original Bitcoin. About a year after the split, the Genesis Upgrade was released on Feb. 4, 2020, which successfully restored Bitcoin’s original, set-in-stone protocol, as close as possible to how it was designed in the white paper. 
Aside from scalability, Bitcoin’s changing protocol and the nature of its governance has been a major issue during the scaling wars. A protocol that is often changed means applications built upon it need to be adjusted as well. Applications would need to stop running and developers would require time and money in order to fully adapt to the new rules. Furthermore, time-locked contracts or escrowed bitcoins were impossible to implement with the shifting sands of the protocol wars - breaking many commercial use cases. With a fixed protocol, developers can now build a variety of applications and platforms on the Bitcoin SV blockchain without having to worry about changes, just like how the Internet protocol created a trustworthy online economy. 

What sets BSV apart from other digital currencies?

Unlike other digital currencies where the coin is the “product” and communities focus on absorbing value for holders of the coin during frothy bull market cycles, BSV is built to allow the external creation of value based on four pillars: a stable protocol, a massively scalable blockchain, security beyond sufficiency and safe instant transactions. With the original Bitcoin protocol set in stone, BSV provides a rock-solid foundation upon which developers can build whatever application or software that suits their needs.

The Genesis Upgrade also unlocked the capability of BSV for unbounded scalability and use of the BSV for monetized, general-purpose computation (like Ethereum but without limits!) Since then, the BSV network has continued to scale massively; and this is evidenced by its test network recording 16,415,525 transactions in a single block the size of 3.15GB at an average transaction fee of 0.00000197 BSV on Feb. 3, 2021. This proves that  micropayments and financial services can be rendered at a very low cost compared to Western Union or PayPal.

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