A Genesis Block is the first block in a blockchain network. This origin point serves to be the foundation for all subsequent blocks. Each interlinked simultaneous block contains the hash value of the previous block and furthermore, communicates its own hash value into the subsequent block. Therefore the Genisis Block, being the very first has a hash value of multiple 0’s.
This progenitor block is the evolutionary source point for the blockchain, as such, they often have an extra degree of meaning for the creators and for the miners. In Bitcoin for example Satoshi Nakamoto coded a message into his Genesis Block, referencing the dower financial situation of global markets that surrounded Bitcoins launch on January 3, 2009. Hinting at the coming financial alternatives blockchain technology could offer its users.
Understanding the Genesis Block
A blockchain is effectively a growing distributed ledger of all previous blocks. Each block uses a Nonce or Number Used Once as cryptographic means of communicating block to block. This Nonce in conjunction with the Hash values stored within each block, serves as a means of Block validation.
A Hash is a unique fixed number that is the result of running a Hashing algorithm. Hashing is a key component of generating both security and efficiency within a blockchain. Effectively the Hash is a number that represents the complex data stored within a mined block. These are some of the key features that give blockchain technology its strong emphasis on security, as changing the hash value of any block would invalidate all preceding blocks.
This gives blockchain technology its cohesion and the Genesis Block is the source point from which this cohesion derides. Often referred to as Block 0 or Block 1, the Genesis Block while mined, is usually never spent. The very first mined Bitcoin block yielded Satoshi 50 BTC.