October 31 marks an important day in the history of Bitcoin as 15 years ago, Bitcoin’s founder, Satoshi Nakamoto, first published the cryptocurrency’s whitepaper.
Fifteen years on, Satoshi’s legacy continues to serve as an inspiration to many, and Bitcoin continues to gain mass adoption as the way forward to achieving a free economy just like Satoshi envisioned.
A Trip Down Memory Lane
The Bitcoin whitepaper came to light on October 31, 2008, when Satoshi uploaded it to a mailing list of cryptographers while highlighting the unique features of the decentralized network. In the mail, Satoshi mentioned he had been working on a system that was 100% peer-to-peer and didn’t need a trusted third party to function.
He highlighted the properties of the network and how it was going to solve the issue of double spending. He also stated how new coins were going to be mined as the network’s consensus mechanism proof-of-work was going to be responsible for this. These miners were also going to act as validators, ensuring that no transaction was processed twice.
Before then, Satoshi had reached out to certain figures who can be said to have paved the way for Satoshi to create a decentralized cash system like Bitcoin. Two of those persons happen to be Adam Back and Wei Dai. Back is a renowned cryptographer who pioneered Hashcash, from which Satoshi drew inspiration as the former also utilized a proof-of-work mechanism.
Meanwhile, Satoshi’s idea seems to share similarities with Wei Dai’s B-money, which he acknowledged in a mail he sent to Dai. He also cited Dai’s B-money whitepaper in Bitcoin’s whitepaper. Just like Satoshi, Dai had proposed to create an “anonymous, distributed electronic cash system,” which was also going to utilize a proof-of-work protocol.
Satoshi was able to bring to light what many had simply envisaged but could not manage to piece together. In January 2009, the Bitcoin network came to life as the first ‘genesis’ Bitcoin block was mined.
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Bitcoin’s Whitepaper Provided Hope
Despite just being a nine-page document, Bitcoin’s whitepaper is significant in several ramifications. One of them happens to be the timing of its publication. The paper was published at a time when the world was experiencing a financial crisis.
Therefore, the introduction of Bitcoin as a store of value would have provided hope to many as to how to deal with such a situation, especially considering that it has come to be known as a hedge against inflation.
Bitcoin has so far served the purpose for which it was created. It has eliminated the overreliance of consumers on traditional financial institutions and has provided an alternative means to transact devoid of third parties.
Given this, it is safe to say Satoshi can feel satisfied that he did a great job as even the CEO of the largest asset manager, BlackRock, Larry Fink, recognizes the potential of his invention.
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