Who Is Satoshi Nakamoto (Preview)

Matthew

The inventor of the bitcoin has a lot to answer for – whoever they are

Bankers don’t get much love these days. They’ve probably never had much of a great rep, but since the 2008 financial crisis, the faceless ‘banker’ has been something of a pantomime villain in the Western world, a symbol of rising inequality (and for good reason, many would argue). But it’s this anger at financial institutions combined with the ingenuity of engineers and the counter-culture of the internet – that has spawned a whole new currency: Bitcoin.

In essence, Bitcoin works from a fundamental concept in economics and trade that many of us forget: money isn’t real. Paper and coins
are merely a vehicle by which we trade; they have no inherent value. Similarly, Bitcoin is a virtual currency that can be used to trade in goods and services, except that it is decentralized; it is not constrained by the traditional powers-that-be.

At first, Bitcoin gained traction with the Deep Web’s black markets, but has now found its way into the mainstream; WordPress started accepting the currency in 2012, followed by OKCupid, Expedia and Microsoft. You can even use it to buy a beer and a burger in central London. However, its use is far from widespread and the lasting impacts of this phenomenon are still evolving, with hundreds of engineers and venture capitalists still investing in its technology, despite its volatile nature as a currency based in essentially nothing. But how did it come into being?

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