Reddit reminisces defunct ‘Bitcoin faucet’ website that gave away 19,700 BTC for free

by Gordon James

On Sunday, the R/cryptocurrency community on Reddit revived an interesting bit of bitcoin (BTC) history with a new thread recalling the time American software developer Gavin Andresen gave away 19,700 BTC.

A thread started by uGroundbreakingLack78 took the Reddit community back to June 2010, when Andresen launched the Bitcoin Mixer website. Under the domain name freebitcoins.appspot.com, Andresen offered users the opportunity to earn 5 BTC per day by simply solving a captcha, a program designed to distinguish between human and machine input.

User uGroundbreakingLack78 said:

Andresen loaded the first crane with his 1100 BTC. After they were distributed, the tap was filled again, with early bitcoin miners and whales also donating coins.

The blender’s creator announced his really stupid idea of giving away free BTC on the now infamous Bitcointalk forum in a post posted on the 11th. Published June 2010. His motivation: […] I want the Bitcoin project to succeed, and I think it’s more likely to succeed if people can get a handful of coins to try it.

Andresen played a key role in the development of bitcoin in its early days. He was the lead software developer for BTC’s benchmark implementation and joined the core development team in 2012 after Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s pseudo-founder, announced he was leaving the project.

Although the Bitcoin Mixer website is no longer functional, the screenshot of the domain’s homepage showed a very simple setup where users could earn BTC and set up their digital wallets. It was reported that bitcoin crane gave 19,700 BTC to users just to activate captcha. These BTC are worth nearly $1.2 billion at today’s price.

Thebitcoin tap website as it looked in 2010. Image via Reddit

With bitcoin in the midst of a new bull market, many investors are looking to enter the 5 BTC market. However, given current values, this is easier said than done. Given the obvious shortage of BTC on major exchanges, the digital reserve currency could trade higher in the short term. Blockchain data shows that bitcoin could be a few months away from a breakout, meaning investors remain mostly bullish.

The price of bitcoin peaked in mid-March at just under $62,000, before the rally stopped and altcoins took off. Currently, bitcoin’s market capitalization is over $1 trillion. Large institutions and companies have invested in digital assets, partly to hedge against currency devaluations.

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