Today marks the 14th anniversary of the first ever Bitcoin (BTC) transaction ever made. It was on this day that Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous creator of the Bitcoin blockchain, sent Harold ‘Hal’ Thomas Finney 10 BTC as a test transaction, making this the first ever BTC and cryptocurrency transaction ever. This occurred 9 days after Satoshi mined the Bitcoin Genesis Block and was confirmed at block height 170.
Why this matters
Until that moment, the system was theoretical, but the first transaction proved that it did work, that it was recorded and that it was transparent. Essentially, this transaction proved that BTC could work as a viable payment method.
It was only four months later on May 22nd that BTC was used to transact a real-world purchase when Laslo Hayecz purchased two Papa Jon’s pizzas from another Bitcointalk user for 10,000 BTC (~$41.00 USD at the time), on what is now known as ‘Bitcoin Pizza Day’.
When BTC payments became mainstream
Unfortunately, BTC first gained mainstream attention in February 2011 when it became the primary mode of payment for the Dark Web, mainly on the infamous Silk Road website. That year also saw the first instance of its acceptance in a brick-and-mortar store with Room 77 located in Berlin. But the notoriety associated with BTC and cryptocurrency remained until the FBI finally shut down Silk Road in October 2013.
This was followed by the first BTC ATM opening in Vancouver that same month, and then the University of Nicosia accepting BTC payment in November, as well as the BTC value hitting $1,000 USD for the first time that same year.
From then on, wider acceptance of BTC as an accepted form of payment continued to grow, until we reached the point where now there are even countries such as South Africa and the United Kingdom recognized BTC and crypto as being legitimate financial assets. But most remarkably of course, is El Salvador’s acceptance of BTC as legal tender in the country in September 2021.
Who is Hal Finney?
Hal Finney was an American software engineer and game developer and early member of the cypherpunk movement. Finney was one of the first people to reach out to Satoshi when he sent out the Bitcoin whitepaper and was one of those who worked closely with Satoshi to help him with the code. This, coupled with the fact that he lived in Temple City, CA for ten years, which is where Dorian Nakamoto lived for a long time, led people to suspect that Finney was Satoshi. However, this will likely never be confirmed since he sadly passed away in August 2014.
How they met
Satoshi first met Hal Finney through the Cryptography Mailing List, on November 16, 2008 when he shared a pre-release version of the Bitcoin blockchain code with select members of the list.
The Cryptography Mailing List was the successor to the to the Cypherpunks Mailing List and was intended as a forum for discussions centering around the topics of cryptography, cryptocurrencies and similar subjects. Since the participants were like-minded individuals who were familiar with the concepts, understood programming, and had an interest in this field, it made sense for Satoshi to reach out to members of this list, in a series of emails that can be found here.