The Graphics Card That Made Bitcoin History

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  • The first-ever Bitcoin halving left behind a piece of memorabilia
  • The graphics card that mined the first post-halving block was put up for sale following the event
  • The GPU serves as one of the very few physical Bitcoin collectibles

We recently covered the first Bitcoin halving which took place in 2012, but the story doesn’t stop with block 210,000. The event gave us possibly the first piece of Bitcoin memorabilia: an ATI Radeon graphics card. Why was this GPU so important and what happened to it? Let’s find out. 

The Little GPU Card That Could

When Bitcoin’s first halving took place on November 28, 2012, there was a race to be the person to mine block 210,000, the first post-halving. This was back when anyone with a good enough graphics card could mine bitcoins, mere months before the ASICs took over and killed home mining forever.

The victorious miner was unearthed as one laughgingbear on Bitcointalk, who mined block 210,000 with a computer fitted with an ATI Radeon HD 5870 and earned himself 25 for his troubles (today worth a cool $1.7 million).

Going Once…

Five months later, laughginbear upgraded his system, which included ditching the graphics card. Not one to miss out on an opportunity, he auctioned off the piece of Bitcoin history on Bitcointalk:

This could be a big piece for any collector of bitcoin memorabilia. Not many physical items exist of historical value in the bitcoin world, this could be one of the biggest. I want this to go to a collector, someone that will give it a good home.

Laughingbear listed the card in April, adding that “if Satoshi contacts me requesting the card, I will donate it to him for free,” but he had no takers, leading to the price being dropped a few times to make it more attractive. The card was eventually sold to a user by the name of Goat for $850, who said he would treat it with the reverence it deserved:

I do like collecting this sort of stuff and do expect to display it in my office.

So there we have it, the tale of the first (and possibly last) piece of halving-based Bitcoin memorabilia is told in in all its glory. Out there somewhere are two more ASIC machines that can share the same tale, with another set to join them in a couple of weeks when the block reward is halved again.