Satoshi Nakamoto – the pseudonymed architect of bitcoin –recently released an “excerpt” and statement detailing potential plans to publish a book regarding life and bitcoin. The author also attached a cryptopuzzle to his statement, published June 29th, 2018, that promises the title of the work.
The author offers a glimpse into the making of bitcoin. Discussing the role of the cypherpunk community in the inspiration for bitcoin principles:
“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.”
Additionally, Satoshi revealed that a version of the protocol, called “prebitcoin,” existed prior to the more widely adopted bitcoin.
“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. Before they became hardcoded to the rest of the chain. In the finalized version, version 2, this was changed to blockchain as it became more obvious to me that blocks were the underlying element linked in the chain, not only through time. That is how the public would perceive it at least. You see, Bitcoin, the one you see, the one you have bought or sold coins from, is actually, version 2.”
The author also discussed the development of the bitcoin model. The use and implementation of a proof-of-work chain (in order to create a “non-trusted based” system), in combination with the main properties established for bitcoin lead the creator(s) to a clear protocol choice:
“The main properties as it were for bitcoin at the time of release were: – Double-spending is prevented with a peer-to-peer network. – No mint or other trusted parties. – Participants can be anonymous. Later on this was expanded to cover things like:
- Transfer money easily through the internet, without having to trust third parties.
- Third parties can’t prevent or control your transactions.
- Be safe from the instability caused by fractional reserve banking and bad policies of central banks.
The limited inflation of the Bitcoin system’s money supply is distributed evenly (by CPU power) throughout the network, not monopolized by the banks. Bitcoin had to be created with a focus on general consensus. But without a trusted third party … The answer was a protocol. The model itself, which I thought none had existed, came into view very quickly. It had been staring at me all this time, I had been using it for years, and had never taken into account how efficiently it worked. Sometimes things work so well that you never question their existence. They just are. The answer, was the internet itself. And the network, was peer-to-peer.”
The author(s) use of the programming language C++ is also discussed including the reasoning behind the selection of this particular programing language:
“Many people may wonder why bitcoin was designed in C++ at its core, and the answer mostly had to do with memory. Not withholding resiliency and adaptability. I was most concerned with reliability and attacks when thinking of what programming language to use, attacks on the network being the prime concern.”
Despite the fact that the mystery of the bitcoin engineer’s identity remains, this “excerpt” document provides answers to questions that the author has encountered whilst interacting with bitcoin users in the past. It also offers insight into the design and intention of the technology.
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