The CoinGeek Pulse Episode 27: Bitcoin Birthday, Middle East digital payments boom, The Bitcoin Bridge

As the world pays attention and some celebrate Bitcoin, this week we look back at the very beginning of the 21st century’s most disruptive technology.

Twelve years ago on Sourceforge, Satoshi Nakamoto released version 0.1 of Bitcoin—an experimental but set in stone digital money and data storage protocol. Nakamoto created Bitcoin block #0, commonly known as the ‘Genesis block’, on January 3, 2009. The Genesis block served as a marker in the database.

At that time, no one else could join the protocol until it became available. Six days later, Block #1 was mined and Bitcoin was officially born. This is why January 9 is considered as Bitcoin’s birthday.

Three days after its birth, Bitcoin creator Dr. Craig Wright (as Satoshi Nakamoto) sent 10 bitcoins to developer and cryptographer Hal Finney. This marks the historic first person-to-person Bitcoin transaction.

Finney’s tweet ‘“Running bitcoin” the day before the transaction is still one of the most-quoted tweets in Bitcoin history.

Finney, also known as the first Bitcoin recipient, was a renowned cryptographer. He wrote some of the most important code in the history of cryptography including the first reusable proof of work system.

It has been 12 tumultuous years for the blockchain-powered technology—a hard-earned 12th birthday with marvelous years ahead.

In another exciting news, the Middle East region’s digital payments industry is poised for major growth in 2021. According to a report, nearly half of the region’s consumers will likely increase their online shopping this year. This poses a growth opportunity for digital companies and ecommerce players now that shoppers prefer to use digital payments and its systems. In Saudi Arabia, there was a 75% increase in digital payment transactions in 2020, while cash withdrawals thru ATM and other payments system fell 30%.

Meanwhile, a state-run digital payments system recently launched in Pakistan. The Raast project, developed by the country’s state bank in collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, aims to provide access to fast payment systems among financially excluded and less privileged individuals in the country.

Bill Gates said in a statement, “I hope that in years to come we will look back and see this new digital public good as an important contribution to our shared goal of giving all people the tools they need to lift themselves out of poverty.”

CoinGeek continues to connect more blockchain enthusiasts with Bitcoin power players through “The Bitcoin Bridge.”

Available on Streamanity, the new show is hosted by Jon Southurst. It highlights projects in the Asia Pacific region. This week, the show heads to Australia and Tuvalu. Guest Brendan Lee of Elas Digital gives us insights on the project everyone’s been talking about—the Tuvalu National Digital Ledger project.

Catch this episode, and the premier episode of The Bitcoin Bridge with Jack Liu of RelayX on Streamanity.

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