This might appear unbelievable today but in 2010 software developer Gavin Andresen was striving to give away free bitcoin to enhance its adoption. Over the weekend, Reddit’s r/Cryptocurrency community revived an interesting part of Bitcoin (BTC) history, with a new thread reminiscing about the time when the American software developer gave away 19,700 BTC.
The thread was started by “uGroundbreakingLack78” and it took the Reddit community all the way back to June 2010 when Andresen launched the Bitcoin faucet site. While using the domain “freebitcoins.appspot.com,” Andresen gave users and visitors the chance to earn 5 BTC daily by just solving a captcha, a program that is intended to distinguish human from machine input.
User “uGroundbreakingLack78” said:
“To fuel the first faucet, Andresen loaded it with 1,100 BTC of his own. After these were given away, the faucet was reloaded, with early bitcoin miners and whales also donating coins.”
The faucet’s creator unveiled his “really dumb” idea of giving away free bitcoin on the now infamous Bitcointalk forum in a post that was published on June 11, 2010. His motivation:
“[…] I want the Bitcoin project to succeed, and I think it is more likely to be a success if people can get a handful of coins to try it out.”
Andresen played an integral role in BTC’s development in its formative days. He worked as the main software developer for bitcoin’s reference implementation, after joining the core development team in 2012 after Satoshi Nakamoto, BTC’s anonymous founder, said that they would be leaving the project.
The Site That Was
Even though the BTC faucet site is now not functional, a screengrab of the domain’s homepage showed a basic setup where the users can earn bitcoin and set up their digital wallet. The BTC faucet reportedly gave away up to 19,7000 BTC to users just for managing to solve a captcha. Those bitcoins are worth around $1.2 billion at today’s prices.
With BTC amid another bull run, most investors would love to get their hands on just five bitcoins. Nonetheless, that is easier said than done at the current values. Taking into account the shortage of bitcoin on the major exchanges, the biggest crypto could be poised to explode higher in the near term.
On-chain data shows that BTC’s moonshot might still be months away meaning that investors are still overwhelmingly bullish. Bitcoin’s price peaked just below $62,000 in mid-March before the current rally paused and let the altcoins play catch-up. At the current values, BTC’s market cap surpasses $1 trillion.
Major corporations and institutions have invested in the digital asset as a hedge against currency debasement, among many other motivations.