8 Unknown Facts About Bitcoin

Sylvain Saurel
Sep 6 · 6 min read

Since the euphoric year-end of the cryptocurrency market in 2017, everyone has probably already heard about Bitcoin by now. Thus, everyone has a vague idea of what Bitcoin is. The most experienced crypto investors have the impression that they know everything about Bitcoin. In a sense, this is true since their knowledge already places them above 95% of the rest of the world’s population a priori.

Photo by André François McKenzie on Unsplash

Nevertheless, there are a number of unknown facts about Bitcoin that even some experienced crypto investors are not aware of. I therefore propose that you discover 8 unknown facts about Bitcoin in the following.

1. A Bug Created 184 Million BTC In 2010

Newcomers to the world of cryptocurrency probably don’t know it, but on August 15, 2010, a bug in the Bitcoin Blockchain created more than 184 million BTCs!

Known as the “Value overflow incident”, this bug concerned block 74638 of the Bitcoin Blockchain. Within it, a transaction was present creating 184,467,440,440,737.09551616 BTC for 3 different addresses. Thus, 2 addresses each received 92.2 million BTCs while the miner solving the puzzle related to the block was rewarded with 0.01 BTCs that did not exist before the transaction.

This bug was made possible by the fact that the code used by the Bitcoin Blockchain to verify transactions before including them in a block did not take into account the case of amounts so large that they exceeded the limit of the number of Bitcoins once summed.

A new corrective version of the Bitcoin Blockchain was released by Satoshi Nakamoto and another developer just 5 hours after the bug was discovered. The Blockchain then had to be forkted to reject the offending block. While several unpatched nodes continued to add blocks to the wrong version of the Blockchain, the right version of the Bitcoin Blockchain took over from Block 74691.

From this block, all nodes accepted the fixed version of the Bitcoin Blockchain as the authentic version for the transaction history. As a result, block 74638 no longer exists for users using the longest chain of blocks as a reference.

2. The Maximum Circulating Supply of Bitcoin Is Not 21 Million

Most people assume that there will be a maximum circulating supply of 21 million Bitcoins. However, the maximum circulating supply of Bitcoins is not really 21 million. In reality, this number is a little lower at 20,999,987.4769 BTC.

This is due to the reward mechanism for mined blocks developed by Satoshi Nakamoto but also to the mining errors that have sometimes cancelled the creation of new Bitcoin units.

3. There Is A Smaller Unit Of BTC Than A Satoshi

Many people think that Satoshi is the smallest unit of measure in Bitcoins. Thus, 1 Satoshi is equal to 0.00000001 BTC.

However, there is actually an even smaller BTC unit that is already being used within the Lightning Network implementation currently being deployed on the Bitcoin Blockchain. This is the Millisatoshi (MSAT) which represents one thousandth of Satoshi.

We therefore have the following equalities:

  • 1 SAT = 1000 MSAT
  • 1 SAT = 0.00000001 BTC
  • 1 MSAT = 0.00000000001 BTC

4. Satoshi Nakamoto’s Disappearance Is Linked To The CIA

The title of this unknown fact in the history of Bitcoin is deliberately catchy, I must admit. Nevertheless, there is an indirect reason related to the CIA that could explain Satoshi Nakamoto’s disappearance.

Developer of the first hour of the Blockchain Bitcoin alongside Satoshi Nakamoto, Gavin Andresen was received by the CIA during the year 2010. So, the CIA wanted to question him about the Bitcoin. Soon after this event Satoshi Nakamoto vanished into thin air and never gave news again.

Was it the fear of being interrogated by the CIA that led him to disappear? We’ll never know, but many people still believe in this hypothesis today!

Fortunately, before he disappeared, Satoshi Nakamoto had the good idea to designate Gavin Andresen as his successor and to give him access to the Bitcoin Blockchain project on SourceForge where the source code was located.

5. The First Bitcoin Faucet Distributed 5 BTCs Per Visitor

Bitcoin Faucets are well known to crypto investors wishing to obtain portions of Bitcoins for free. Indeed, these are sites that distribute small portions of Bitcoins free of charge to visitors at a given time interval.

Today, the amount distributed is in the order of Satoshi. So it’s very little. However, this has not always been the case. Thus, the first Bitcoin Faucet created in June 2010 by Gavin Andersen distributed 5 BTCs to each visitor!

The aim was to promote the adoption and use of Bitcoin. If you had benefited from such an initiative at the time, these 5 BTCs would give you more than $50,000 today! And probably more in a few years…

6. More Than 430 Altcoins Are Derived From Bitcoin

As the first cryptocurrency to successfully implement the Blockchain concept, Bitcoin inspired all the cryptocurrencies that have since been launched. Today, while we are in September 2019, 2646 cryptocurrencies are listed on the reference site CoinMarketCap!

You already knew all this. However, you probably don’t know that 436 of these crypto currencies come from Bitcoin via direct or indirect forks! The Map of Coins website provides an overview of the phenomenon.

If the Bitcoin has often been forklifted up to now, it is clear that it has never been equalled and that it remains, by far, the reference currency crypto. As proof of this, I would like to mention the domination of the Bitcoin, which has risen above 70% again at the end of the summer of 2019.

7. Satoshi Nakamoto Was Nominated For The Nobel Prize In Economics

The possibilities introduced by Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general are unlimited. All this of course goes hand in hand with the Blockchain concept. At the origin of this revolution was Satoshi Nakamoto.

A mysterious, and brilliant, computer scientist who will have played a fundamental role in the economy of the coming years. For many years, his work has been recognized by all. Proof of this recognition? His nomination for the 2016 Nobel Prize in Economics.

Satoshi Nakamoto did not win this award but some do not despair of seeing him win it in the future.

8. 90% Of Existing Bitcoin Addresses Have Less Than 0.1 BTC

The number of people with Bitcoins remains paltry compared to the number of humans living on Earth. There is also an important distinction to be made within the Bitcoin world itself. Thus, less than 90% of existing Bitcoin addresses have less than 0.1 BTC!

All this shows that the wealth of Bitcoins is concentrated in the hands of a very small handful of individuals. Among the 10% of people with more than 0.1 BTC, there is still a smaller club. This club is formed by the Bitcoins’ Whales.

Different thresholds exist to define how many Bitcoins you must have in order to be considered a Whale. Without getting into the controversy about which threshold to use, I will simply give you the following figures: 1600 wallets have 1,000 or more BTCs and 100 wallets have 10,000 or more BTCs.

Reading these figures, we can better understand why many people say that Bitcoin is a market manipulated by the Whales.


Feel free to use comments if you have other interesting unknown facts about Bitcoin to share.

Sylvain Saurel

Written by

Entrepreneur / Developer / Blogger / Author. Tout sur le Bitcoin : https://www.toutsurlebitcoin.fr. Je Deviens Meilleur : https://www.jedeviensmeilleur.fr

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