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According to research conducted by Dan Held, the Co-Founder of Interchange, Satoshi Nakamoto ensured that the initial distribution of Bitcoin was as fair as possible, with the minimum possible pre-mine. This is in stark contrast to numerous cryptocurrency projects today, where developers pre-mine large amounts of coins.
First off, Satoshi gave a heads up to the cyberpunks, the only people who would probably be interested in a decentralized cryptocurrency, 2 months before the genesis block was mined in January 2009. In October 2008 the Bitcoin whitepaper was released to the cyberpunk community.
When Bitcoin mining began at the genesis block, the code to mine Bitcoin was released the same day. Satoshi coded a 1 click miner that could produce significant amounts of Bitcoin just from mining with a personal computer, as the network hash rate was so low back then. There were 6 days between the genesis block on 3 January 2009 and the release of Bitcoin’s first wallet software on 9 January 2009. Within a day of the wallet software being released, Hal Finney began to mine.
During the first 1.5 years of Bitcoin’s existence, there wasn’t even enough hash rate to produce the full 144 blocks per day, 1 block every 10 minutes as it is currently, and the mining difficulty did not increase. It appears Satoshi was mining to keep the tiny network secure, not for profit, especially since Bitcoin had no monetary value until the latter half of 2010.
Further, Satoshi decreased his mining hash rate progressively as it became clear that the Bitcoin network was gaining enough mining hash rate to secure itself without Satoshi’s efforts. Initially, Satoshi’s hashrate was 4.3 MB/s, he decreased it to 2.6 MB/s in June 2009, and decreased it again to 1 MB/s in October 2009, and then ultimately stopped mining in early 2010.
Satoshi missed the potential to mine tremendous amounts of Bitcoin by reducing his hashrate early on, making it clear he was more concerned about a fair distribution than making money. If that wasn’t enough proof, Satoshi still hasn’t sold his Bitcoin fortune, estimated to be between 700,000 to 1 million bitcoins, which is a selfless move that benefits the entire Bitcoin market.
Thus, Satoshi showed an incredible amount of discretion and benevolence during the launch of Bitcoin by making it as fair of a launch as possible with the least possible pre-mine. Most cryptocurrencies launched today have automatic pre-mines to fund development efforts, initial coin offerings (ICOs) that sell the rest of the coins in exchange for Bitcoin or Ethereum. Yet none of these developers or projects are nearly as successful as Satoshi or Bitcoin.
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