On 18 August 2008, the domain name "bitcoin.org" was registered. In November that year, a link to a paper authored by Satoshi Nakamoto titled Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System was posted to a cryptography mailing list. Nakamoto implemented the bitcoin software as open source code and released it in January 2009 on SourceForge. The identity of Nakamoto remains unknown. In January 2009, the bitcoin network came into existence after Satoshi Nakamoto mined the first ever block on the chain, known as the genesis block. Embedded in the coinbase of this block was the following text: The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks. This note has been interpreted as both a timestamp of the genesis date and a derisive comment on the instability caused by fractional- reserve banking. The receiver of the first bitcoin transaction was cypherpunk Hal Finney, who created the first reusable proof-of-work system (RPOW) in 2004. Finney downloaded the bitcoin software the day it was released, and received 10 bitcoins from Nakamoto. Other early cypherpunk supporters were Wei Dai, creator of bitcoin predecessor b-money, and Nick Szabo, creator of bitcoin predecessor bit gold. In the early days, Nakamoto is estimated to have mined 1 million bitcoins. In 2010, Nakamoto handed the network alert key and control of the Bitcoin Core code repository over to Gavin Andresen, who later became lead developer at the Bitcoin Foundation. Nakamoto subsequently disappeared from any involvement in bitcoin.[Andresen stated he then sought to decentralize control, saying: "As soon as Satoshi stepped back and threw the project onto my shoulders, one of the first things I did was try to decentralize that. So, if I get hit by a bus, it would be clear that the project would go on." This left opportunity for controversy to develop over the future development path of bitcoin. On 1 August 2017, a hard fork of bitcoin was created, known as Bitcoin Cash. Bitcoin Cash has a larger block size limit and had an identical blockchain at the time of fork. On 12 November another hard fork, Bitcoin Gold, was created. Bitcoin Gold changes the proof-of-work algorithm used in mining.

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