When something eventually quits working as people expect, it challenges them to think about how to make it better.
That was what the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, the inventor of Bitcoin, did in 2008-2009. The reality is that we still to this day don’t know who “Satoshi” is – a person or a group?
Herein lies a brief synopsis of this incredible story.
I’m sure he (or they) weren’t sitting around looking to invent new technology for the sake of it. Rather, Bitcoin was invented as a response and solution to the unrestricted government meddling that allowed the Great Recession at that time. We know this, because of the first message he posted on Bitcoin’s blockchain:
“The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout of banks.”
The message was powerful and clear – we needed a means to take back control from the irresponsible and reckless decisions being made globally by central authorities.
The important dates for Bitcoin are as follows:
- August 18, 2008 – bitcoin.org was registered. This was set up to be the website for information on the idea and development of Bitcoin.
- October 3, 2008 – the Bitcoin white paper was released, which explained the idea and purpose of Bitcoin.
- January 3, 2009 – the famous line as described above on the first blockchain, which made it crystal-clear what the motivation was.
- January 12, 2009 – the first transaction using bitcoin took place between Satoshi and Hal Finney, who was a Bitcoin developer and enthusiastic supporter.
- December 11, 2010 – the last known public message (on Bitcointalk ) from Satoshi : “It would have been nice to get this attention in any other context. WikiLeaks has kicked a hornet’s nest, and the swarm is headed toward us.”
- April 23, 2011 – a portion of the last known private email communication by Satoshi to Mike Hearn, who was interested in Bitcoin’s potential and technical details ; “… I’ve moved on to other things. It’s in good hands with Gavin and everyone.” ( “Gavin” is Gavin Andreson, an early Bitcoin software developer.)
After this date, Satoshi Nakamoto disappeared.
We can ascertain the most likely reason. On December 10, 2010, Satoshi sent an email to WikiLeaks, urging them to not accept bitcoin as a payment method :
“ No, don’t ‘bring it on’. The project needs to grow gradually so the software can be strengthened along the way. I make this appeal to WikiLeaks not to try to use Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a small beta community in its infancy. You would not stand to get more than pocket change, and the heat you would bring would likely destroy us at this stage.”
Note that one day later, he posted his final public message.
Why the sudden urgency to vanish? It was due to the firestorm surrounding WikiLeaks at that time. All major credit cards had cut off WikiLeaks, so there was dire need to receive funds from other sources. A thread was started on Bitcointalk asking for contact information to send bitcoin donations to WikiLeaks.
Satoshi immediately understood the threat that authorities would unleash on Bitcoin should it be associated with WikiLeaks. For his (or their ) own safety and the safety of the Bitcoin project, he had to leave the stage immediately.
Fascinating stuff, eh ?! It would make a great movie!
I believe the world is and will be a better place because of Satoshi’s foresight in both the invention of Bitcoin and knowing when to exit so that there would be no single point of attack to the platform.
Well done, Satoshi!
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