Despite being anonymous, Satoshi Nakamoto arguably left an impact on the world as profound as the printing press, the automobile, or the internet itself.
by Andrew Howard on 22 Feb 2023
Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?
Nobody knows. Yes, that’s right; “Satoshi Nakamoto” is the pseudonym used by the unknown person or group of people who created bitcoin and released its original white paper in 2008. Despite being anonymous, Nakamoto arguably left an impact on the world as profound as the printing press, the automobile, or the internet itself.
Here are ten quotes that provide insight into the mind and motivations of the person, or people, behind bitcoin:
1. "Bitcoin is a very exciting development, it might lead to a world currency. I think over the next decade it will grow to become one of the most important ways to pay for things and transfer assets."
This quote highlights Nakamoto's belief in the potential of bitcoin to become a global currency. At the time it was written, bitcoin was still in its infancy and few people had heard of it. Now, more than a decade later, bitcoin is well-established and gaining wide adoption. While it has not yet achieved the status of a global currency, it has certainly made significant strides towards that goal.
2. "The nature of Bitcoin is such that once version 0.1 was released, the core design was set in stone for the rest of its lifetime."
One of the key features of bitcoin is its decentralized nature. Transactions are recorded on a distributed ledger, called the blockchain, which is maintained by a network of users rather than a central authority. This makes it resistant to censorship and tampering. Nakamoto's quote suggests that they saw the core design of bitcoin as a finished product, with only minor updates and improvements to be made over time.
3. "Bitcoins have no dividend, no voting rights, and no corporate governance, but they do have value."
Unlike traditional assets, such as stocks or bonds, bitcoin does not offer any ownership rights or dividends. It is simply a unit of exchange with a value that is determined by market demand. This lack of underlying fundamentals may be off-putting to some investors, but it also gives bitcoin a degree of independence from traditional financial systems and institutions.
4. "I have been working on a new electronic cash system that's fully peer-to-peer, with no trusted third party."
This quote captures the essence of what makes bitcoin unique. By eliminating the need for intermediaries, such as banks, bitcoin enables direct, peer-to-peer transactions. This not only makes it faster and cheaper to use, but also gives users more control over their own financial affairs.
5. "The root problem with conventional currency is all the trust that's required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust."
One of the main criticisms of traditional, government-issued currencies is that they rely on trust in central authorities. Governments have a track record of debasing their currencies, either through inflation or outright currency manipulation, which undermines trust in the value of the currency. Bitcoin, on the other hand, is based on a fixed supply, with a maximum of 21 million coins that will ever be created. This creates a more predictable and stable monetary policy, which helps to build trust in the value of the currency.
6. "Governments are good at cutting off the heads of centrally controlled networks like Napster, but pure P2P networks like Gnutella and Tor seem to be holding their own."
This quote from Satoshi Nakamoto speaks to the decentralized nature of bitcoin, and how it makes it more resilient against government interference. Governments can shut down centralized networks, but bitcoin, as a peer-to-peer network, does not have a central point of failure and therefore can’t simply be turned off. This quote highlights the importance of decentralization in creating a robust and censorship-resistant system like bitcoin.
7. "Lost coins only make everyone else's coins worth slightly more. Think of it as a donation to everyone."
This quote highlights the scarcity of bitcoin, with a fixed maximum supply of 21 million coins, and how the loss of coins due to forgotten passwords, hard drive crashes, or other reasons, can actually benefit the overall value of bitcoin. This is because it reduces the circulating supply, making the remaining coins more valuable. This concept is unique to bitcoin and differs from traditional fiat currency, where lost money is simply lost and has no impact on the value of the remaining currency in circulation. Satoshi's quote shows that every lost bitcoin is not necessarily a tragedy, but rather, it contributes to the stability and value of the bitcoin network as a whole.
8. "Double spending is the risk that a digital currency can be spent twice. This is a problem unique to digital currencies because digital information can be reproduced easily."
One of the challenges with digital currencies is the risk of double spending, where a user tries to spend the same digital token multiple times. To address this issue, bitcoin uses a network of users to verify transactions and prevent double spending. This process is known as mining, and it helps to ensure the integrity of the bitcoin network.
9. "A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution."
This quote highlights another key feature of bitcoin: the ability to make online payments directly from one user to another without the need for intermediaries. This can be particularly useful in situations where traditional financial institutions are unable or unwilling to facilitate transactions, such as in countries with strict capital controls or for transactions that involve high fees or long wait times.
10. "As a new form of money that is not tied to any government or bank, Bitcoin represents a revolutionary step forward in the evolution of financial systems."
In conclusion, this final quote encapsulates the revolutionary nature of bitcoin. By offering a new form of money that is not tied to any government or bank, bitcoin has the potential to disrupt traditional financial systems and change the way we interact with money.