Key Passages From Satoshi Nakamoto Excerpt on Bitcoin Beginnings
(Bloomberg) -- Here are key passages from the book excerpt purportedly written by Satoshi Nakamoto, the unknown person or people who created Bitcoin. Bloomberg News has been unable to independently verify its authenticity, though the amount of detail in it is unusual. Text is taken verbatim without correcting for syntax or grammar.
- The principles for bitcoin originated from the cypherpunks, a community I naturally gravitated to as a fourteen year old, a place where anonymity was as fundamental as breathing, where in order for genuine freedom of speech to exist in an open society one had to be able to fully and anonymously express themselves.
(I’m going to take a moment here to explain something. I know that some of you might be reading this or hearing about it for the first time, might not know, so I should state it publicly, although by now it is assumed, but has never been publicly stated before, so I will make it official.)
Satoshi Nakamoto is not a real name. Specifically, not a legal name.
It is primarily the essence of thoughts and reason.
- In April of 2009 is when Mike Hearn first emailed asking about the project. For all intents and purposes, Mike appeared to me as someone who knew what he was talking about but nonetheless was eager to learn new things. His curiosity piqued me as someone inquisitive, asking me whether bitcoin was based on one “global chain” or many, which now most would refer to as the “blockchain.” I pointed out how it was all part of one global chain, with all blocks forming part of that chain.
I don’t think anyone knows this, but the word blockchain did not come into play until after the fact. Prebitcoin, it was referred to as, the timechain. That is because it wasn’t about the blocks in the beginning, but rather about time, specifically the precise intervals of time upon which the blocks were released.
- Bitcoin is able to supplant centralized networks in various ways. This is why some incumbents feared bitcoin, is not because of the wow factor, but because of its network advantages. In terms of speed and security, bitcoin was superior. Here was, for the first time, a distributed network of nodes that validated one immutable record (the blockchain), which in this case happened to be a form of currency. Even if one of these nodes came down, the chain would still continue as it was.
- In referring back to Moore’s Law, I really did believe that computers would be equipped with hardware that by the time I write this, would be 100 times faster than it was ten years ago. I was wrong.
In truth, hardware did not advance as quickly as I had anticipated and actually did me a disservice. I learned then to not speculate about the future. Because you usually get it wrong.
- People may forget about this fact now but for the first year, it really was mostly myself who was the sole and active participant in the network. I was both maintaining it, using it, making changes to the code, fixing bugs, and promoting its use. Most people in the beginning were in fact just installing bitcoin once and never using it again, circumventing its intended use. The only person that really chugged away and stayed with it that first year, was Hal Finney.
- What didn’t come up (at the time), which I found odd, was the question of whether Satoshi Nakamoto was just one, or a group of us. Here is where I will stop. But the truth is one that people will not come to expect. Because the truth is too special to give away, requires a long answer, which will be in the book.
I will say this though, consider for a moment the distinction; as to whether I had help or was part of that help in creation, and then separate that from the person who followed, which for the most part, was very consistent.
- There are questions that always seem to come up, either about me or about the way bitcoin was designed. Questions around the choice of encryption, the block size, the supply, the programming language of choice. I’ll start with the most obvious question and then try to answer the others throughout these pages.
For starters, many may wonder what the reasoning behind the fixed supply is. Why 21 million? The truth is, it was an educated guess. The math worked out, or as close to it as I had wanted it to. Before settling on 21 million however, I had considered making 100 BTC as the reward, and 42 -- the answer to life, the universe, and everything. But afraid that others would consider my reference to Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy a quip and at the expense of not being taken seriously, I changed it to 21 million.
- I know it is easy to imagine that bitcoin came out of thin air but in reality, that was not the case. It arose out of the many failed attempts by many groups, and the only reason it succeeded was because it was at the right place, at the right time. And although I did not exactly time it for the beginning of a financial crisis -- who could predict that (curious the answer though -- wait for the rest), it did serve as an impetus and I think had it not been for that, adoption would not have taken off as it did.
- To this day, I still think about how good of a person Hal [Finney] was and how if it wasn’t for him, bitcoin would have not succeeded the way it did. When I had no support, when it was just me, Hal was the only one other person who believed in what I was trying to do. If any one person should receive credit for bitcoin and its initial success, it is him. Hal sadly passed away in August 2014 to a debilitating illness, ALS. But until the very end, Hal kept up the fight and was as happy as one could be despite the odds. He was aware of his own mortality and accepted the time he had left as a virtue.
- That famous quote of his that often gets brought up where he explains how he got interested in cryptography emphasizes the similar beliefs we all shared. The reason that united us all.
“It seemed so obvious to me. Here we are faced with the problems of loss of privacy, creeping computerization, massive databases, more centralization -- and Chaum offers a completely different direction to go in, one which puts power into the hands of individuals rather than governments and corporations. The computer can be used as a tool to liberate and protect people, rather than to control them." -- Finney, Cypherpunks Mailing List in 1992
- And with that, is where this magical story into the history of what once was, concludes.
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