CryptoCurrency 101 is a crash course, about the basics of Bitcoin for the average Juan and Juanita.
The man (or woman, or group) who made Bitcoin remains to be a mysterious figure around the world of cryptocurrency. But we all know this: that he changed the world, when he published his whitepaper about a peer to peer electronic cash system that was rooted on his political beliefs for a type of currency free from regulatory control, so much so that governments and regulatory agencies are working hard on investigating his true identity.
They don’t call Bitcoin “Satoshis” for no reason. He owns an estimated 1 million Bitcoin (or about 975 trillion Php as of this writing), and I’m certain everybody would definitely want to meet the 44th richest person in the world on any given day.
Lost in Translation
Satoshi Nakamoto left scant details about his (supposed) life: that he lived in Japan, that he’s 42, and the fact that he not even be a single person, given that “Satoshi” means “clear thinking, quick witted; wise”. “Naka” can mean “medium, inside, or relationship”. “Moto” can mean “origin”, or “foundation”. His name might refer to his Bitcoin Foundation. Speculators even say he isn’t Japanese at all.
But despite his anonymous nature, he was very active with his project in its early days in multiple websites he created, like bitcoin.org, where he published his whitepaper.
Satoshi Nakamoto had worked on Bitcoin as early as 2007. He launched Bitcoin on 2008, according to his own posts. He improved on his creation consistently until his quiet exit from the crypto world.
Liberty and Satoshi
Satoshi was a vehement supporter of cryptography and libertarianism, the political ideal of freedom from any form of centralized control. He even communicated with core Bitcoin supporters in cryptographic email chains. There was no doubt that Nakamoto wanted the currency firmly in the hands of users, free from third party control, that bitcoin’s original design was meant to bolster decentralization backed by strong cryptography.
In 2008, Nakamoto famously said:
“It’s very attractive to the libertarian viewpoint if we can explain it properly. I’m better with code than with words though”.
And he did show it in code, as Bitcoin’s genesis block contained parameters, which contained the words “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks” on it, referencing the newspaper The Times and its headline. It showed Nakamoto’s distrust for the banking system and the regulatory process, and an assurance that the first Bitcoin was indeed made on Jan 3 2009 or after.
Nakamoto slowly but surely cut ties with his Bitcoin project, and by late 2010 it has ended. His fellow Bitcoin developers say that he’s “gone for good”. To this day, people still wonder who he really was. There have been some leads, though.
People speculate he might have been Dorian Nakamoto, an engineer traced by Newsweek as the real Satoshi Nakamoto. Or even Hal Finney, the first recipient of bitcoin (who happens to live 2 blocks away from Dorian Nakamoto). Nick Szabo, Roger Ver and a bunch of other personalities have claimed or have been suspected to be Satoshi. Some even say that Satoshi Nakamoto is a collective identity of these personalities.
Whoever he really is, this was probably his intention: that his name be forgotten, but that his work never be forgotten, and that it remains valuable in the halls of history. 1-Million-Php-per-coin valuable, to be exact.
As he said himself, “Yes, [we will not find a solution to political problems in cryptography,] but we can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years.”