First Bitcoin Transaction

What is Bitcoin Running Day?

“Bitcoin Running Day” celebrates the very first person-to-person transaction on the bitcoin blockchain.

This transaction was for 10 bitcoins and was paid from Satoshi Nakamoto to Hal Finney at block 170.

first person to person bitcoin tx january 11 2009
Transaction information for the first person-to-person bitcoin transaction.

Making the First Transaction

Technically, other transactions had occurred on the bitcoin blockchain before this one.

However, these earlier transactions were block reward transactions paid from the coinbase to the miners of the blocks.

In order to facilitate a transfer between two different people, Satoshi would need more users of the bitcoin client.

On January 8, 2009, he released bitcoin v0.1, and sent out an email to the bitcoin mailing list, of which Hal was a member.

He also sent one directly to Hal.

satoshi announces bitcoin v zero point one
Satoshi notifies Hal that bitcoin v0.1 released.

Hal Finney agreed to join in on the fun, and he announced his participation with a very short and to-the-point tweet: “Running bitcoin”.

running bitcoin tweet hal finney january 10 2009
Hal Finney's tweet announcing that he was now running Satoshi's bitcoin client.

Hours later, the first person-to-person bitcoin transaction was completed.

Why is Bitcoin Running Day Important?

What made this transaction unique was it proved that two people could send each other provably scarce assets in a digital format with no intermediaries.

At the time of the transaction, bitcoin was worth nothing. There were no serious long term expectations about how bitcoin would develop and evolve.

This transaction took place between two curious people experimenting with technology and at personal cost to themselves in terms of time and hardware.

And that is what makes it so special.