Reddit reminisces about the now-defunct ‘Bitcoin faucet’ website that gave away 19,700 BTC for free.

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It might seem unbelievable today, but in 2010, software developer Gavin Andresen set out on a quest to distribute free Bitcoin in order to increase acceptance.

On Sunday, the r/Cryptocurrency group resurrected an intriguing piece of Bitcoin (BTC) literature with a new thread reminiscing about the time when American software engineer Gavin Andresen gave away 19,700 BTC.

A thread begun by “uGroundbreakingLack78” brought the Reddit community back to June 2010, when Andresen launched the so-called Bitcoin faucet website for the first time. Andresen used the domain “freebitcoins.appspot.com” to encourage users to gain 5 BTC a day simply by solving a captcha, which is a software designed to separate human input from computer input.

User “uGroundbreakingLack78” explained:

“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 announced his “really dumb” idea of giving away free BTC on the now infamous Bitcointalk forum in a post that appeared 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.”

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During the early days of Bitcoin, Andresen was a key figure in its growth. He was the primary software developer for BTC’s reference implementation, joining the core development team in 2012 after Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s pseudonymous architect, revealed their departure from the project.

While the Bitcoin faucet website is no longer active, a screenshot of the domain’s homepage showed a very simple setup where users may receive BTC and create a digital wallet. According to reports, the Bitcoin faucet gave away 19,700 BTC to users simply for solving a captcha. At today’s values, such BTC are worth nearly $1.2 billion.

 

The Bitcoin faucet website, as it appeared sometime in 2010. Image via Reddit

With Bitcoin in the middle of yet another bull run, many buyers will kill for just 5 BTC. However, at present prices, it is better said than done. Given the perceived scarcity of BTC on major exchanges, the flagship digital currency could be poised to rise in value in the near term. According to on-chain evidence, Bitcoin’s moonshot may still be months out, implying that investors remain predominantly bullish.

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Bitcoin reached a high of just under $62,000 in mid-March before the surge stalled and altcoins caught up. Bitcoin’s market capitalisation now approaches $1 trillion. Among other reasons, major companies and businesses have invested in the digital asset as a buffer against currency depreciation.

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