You may have heard of Bitcoin and Blockchain, but have you ever heard of the elusive Satoshi Nakamoto? Today Brittany and Emma talk about the mysterious creator of Bitcoin, who walked away from the project as soon as it was born.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download
Here’s a transcript of our conversation:
Emma: Hey, Brittany.
Brittany: Hi, Emma.
Emma: So today we are going to talk about a very mysterious, very interesting figure in modern recent history. And this person’s name is Satoshi Nakamoto, but the interesting thing is that’s not actually their real name. So this is a pseudonym, which is basically a fake name or a pen name that someone takes on to hide their real identity. And the person that we’re talking about is the person who founded Bitcoin and basically created Bitcoin. And we’ve talked about Bitcoin before on this podcast. It’s something that we’re all very interested in, decentralized money that the government can’t control, but we don’t talk as much about how it came to be. So basically what happened is it started in 2008. There was this anonymous author who released a paper, it’s called A White Paper, and it’s basically like an essay that lays out a new idea or something controversial or interesting. And this paper was called Bitcoin, a Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.
Brittany: And we can link to it too. I mean, trust me, yes, the kids are gonna be bored outta your mind free, but I find it fascinating and I’m not somebody who really even understands half the time, but we’ll link to it.
Emma: Totally I completely agree. it’s worth checking out if you’re interested in it at all. You may not totally understand some of the terminology. I don’t understand all of it, but it’s pretty darn cool to be able to look directly at the paper that started this crazy Bitcoin thing that everyone’s always talking about. So essentially this essay described a new form of money called Bitcoin that operates in this unique digital system called a blockchain. And if I tried to explain blockchain to you guys, I am not going to do it right. But this is a really interesting concept and we can definitely link to some articles that explain how blockchain works as well. But basically, this essay came with instructions that sort of showed people how to use this new form of money.
Brittany: And one thing to talk like mention about blockchain is it is most associated with Bitcoin, but it’s not only for Bitcoin, it’s not only for digital currency. There’s actually, and again, like Emma said, if I try to explain this, you’re gonna be more confused, but there’s actually like ways you can set it up to moderate things. So there’s a lot of theories that like blockchain could replace lawyers, sorry, lawyers. but they, can like help broker deals. It’s like it sets up contracts that can’t be broken. It’s almost like some sort of magical thing from Harry Potter. That’s how I think of it.
Emma: Yes. Basically. Yeah. it’s a very interesting concept and it’s completely revolutionized a lot of different things. And there are a lot of folks that say blockchain is absolutely the future of, you know, communications and digital technology and it’s super exciting. But yeah, Bitcoin was built on this new system that not a lot of people were talking about or using. And now this is 10 years ago, almost to the day That’s right, that we had last heard from Satoshi Nakamoto. So the interesting thing about this is it’s kind of this like controversial mystery, Satoshi Nakamoto, there have been a few different people who journalists and you know, folks have tried to say, well, this is it. I found the person, I found the person who created Bitcoin, but none of them have ever really been proven. So we still don’t totally know. But yeah, 10 years ago, almost to the day we got the last message from Satoshi Nakamoto and whoever it was said that they were signing off to work on other projects. And what’s interesting about that is basically Bitcoin is now this self-sustaining system and it’s completing.
Brittany: What does self-sustaining mean? Can you, can we explain that a little bit?
Emma: It’s this system that doesn’t need anyone regulating it from the top. There’s no moderator, there’s no person pulling the strings. It’s not like the creature from Jekyll Island controlling our money and deciding how much it’s worth. It’s working on its own between peers, so between people working together. And that’s sort of what makes Bitcoin such an amazing concept and an amazing thing for us to be able to use is it’s not reliant on anyone and anyone running the thing or anyone who has the power, it’s the person who created it who would have the most power, has actually completely stepped away. And so when we say it’s this decentralized money, basically it’s people walking away from, you know, central planning and centrally controlled money and it’s this totally revolutionary idea. but yeah, we wouldn’t have had this if this Satoshi Nakamoto mysterious person had never written this essay and given us all that new information.
Brittany: It’s funny because like you said like everyone’s trying to find out and we’ve mentioned Ayn Rand before and there’s this book, Atlas Shrugged, which we’ve also mentioned where there’s this saying, who is John Galt? And it’s funny. Yeah. It’s supposed to just kind of mean like, it’s this mystery. No one knows who this is. And that’s kind of what, Satoshi has become. It’s like, who is this man or woman? Nobody knows. But it was really funny, there was a couple of years ago, so I got into Bitcoin in 2012 and I started making YouTube videos about it. And what makes me really mad is I had about $300 in Bitcoin. I don’t even wanna tell you how much that $300 would’ve been worth. Now I chose to spend it on makeup cuz I was showing people that they could use it as currency. now as it turns out, it’s actually better to invest in but point being. So people were trying to figure out who Satoshi was and they actually ruined this poor old man’s life because all these reporters, there was a guy named Satoshi Nakamoto, I think. and they like found him and were harassing him. And finally, he had to be like, listen, I’m like an eight-year-old man. Like, I’m not this man like leaving alone and he was being harassed forever. But I love this concept of, I’m gonna create this brilliant thing and then step away from it because we don’t see that today. See a lot of people that want credit for everything and it’s not necessarily bad to want credit for your work, right? Like we’re all writers or you know, if you’re doing something that you’re really excited about that you’re producing, you want to be known for it. But I’m curious to know your thoughts, cuz I know what I think, but why do you think he wanted to stay so secretive? Emma?
Emma: I have a feeling that he was worried there would be some retaliation Yeah. Or people going after him that are controlling these other systems like the US dollar or you know, the European Union. Yeah. And the Euro, there are some really, really powerful people that are the ones controlling those.
Brittany: Scary people.
Emma: Very scary people. They are the creature. And I have a feeling that he knew that he didn’t wanna be tracked down and, you know, maybe even hurt or gone after by them for creating something that didn’t need their help.
Brittany: I mean maybe even killed you. I mean it’s, yeah, it’s scary to talk about, but you challenge.
Emma: You really don’t know. Yeah. it’s a terrifying idea to think of going up against those people. but yeah, he created this system that liberated people from having to operate within these corrupted, sorts of systems that had been set up for money. And that’s why this is such a radical idea and why people get so excited about Bitcoin, especially in sort of our circles, is because it’s not controlled by some central person, some boogeyman pulling the strings and looking out for their own interests, it’s controlled by us. And that’s why it’s so amazing. And the other thing too, we’ve definitely talked about Bitcoin before, but Bitcoin is finite. There is a limited amount of it out there, and you can’t just create more of it on a whim like the United States government does all the time by printing money. So if you have it and it has value, the value is tied to. it’s a commodity. It’s not like you can just snap your fingers and all of a sudden there’s more of it and whatever you have is worth less. So.
Brittany: Now it’s a big word there. So I’m gonna back up. What is a commodity? What does that mean?
Emma: A commodity is something that is valuable because there’s a small and limited amount of it. Ah, so Bitcoin wasn’t too much of a commodity when it first came out. it’s kind of funny, the first Bitcoin transaction that ever happened was a guy who wrote on this message board, I’ll give someone, I believe it was like 12 Bitcoin or something like that. I’ll give someone this amount of Bitcoin if they bring me two Papa John’s pizzas.
Brittany: Yep. I remember that.
Emma: And someone went out and did it and they got those Bitcoins and now those are probably worth millions and millions of dollars. But yeah, Britney to go with your story about spending your Bitcoin and regretting it, I did the exact same thing. I had probably about 300 bucks worth that I had put in and I was kind of hanging onto it. And I was an intern and I was, you know, interns don’t make a lot of money.
Brittany: No, interns are poor.
Emma: They are very, and I needed to buy some more Top Ramen and, you know, whatever was in my kitchen at the time. And I was like, yeah, I don’t have that much money. Like maybe I’ll just cash in my Bitcoin. And it had just fallen a little bit recently, so I was like, maybe it’s time to get out. Maybe this thing has been totally, you know, blown over and everyone’s worked up over nothing. So I actually sold my Bitcoin to buy some groceries and I still regret it today because it would be worth a stupid amount of money and maybe I could go buy my little, Airbnb tiny house in the backyard if I hadn’t. But that’s from our Airbnb episode for anyone wondering. But yeah, this Bitcoin thing, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon because the government is going to keep devaluing our money. They’re gonna keep manipulating it and people are starting to wake up to it. There’s been a lot of interest in people Googling and trending searches about Bitcoin and the price of it keeps going up and up. But there’s also this interesting effect, and I’d be curious to hear your thoughts on this, where other cryptocurrencies, so basically digital currencies sort of like Bitcoin are also going up at the same time. And I think that says something interesting about where people are at with all of this.
Brittany: Absolutely. And I was hoping you’d bring that up because that’s a really important thing. And before I get into that, I wanna say one more thing. A really cool thing about Bitcoin, I just said thing a lot, but, it helps bridge the gap between people with different political views. So the left and the right, we’ve talked about these, you know, weird political spectrums, like people seem to kind of come together on this because even if you’re not liberty centered or car about economics, people understand, like you said, they’re waking up to the fact that there’s something wrong with our system. And I think the pandemic showed us too how fragile, you know, how breakable everything is. So the cool thing, like you said about Bitcoin is at start helped spark other cryptocurrencies. And another mistake I made, another lesson from, Britney’s Mistakes is I had Ethereum that I sold like a couple months ago, right before Ethereum spiked. Again, I don’t wanna tell you how much I would’ve made because it makes me very angry, keeps me up at night. But I had one friend a couple years ago, so Ethereum is another cryptocurrency or digital currency, but what makes Ethereum so special is it’s actually its own network. So think about the internet. Ethereum’s actually like its own internet. So Ethereum it’s also a digital currency, but it does so much more. And like you said, it’s crazy when Bitcoin starts taking off the other one start taking off. So yeah, so now you have Ethereum, which was, let’s see, when I bought into Ethereum, it was very low. It was only worth a couple hundred. Now it’s like cracked. I remember when it cracked 1200 and I believe it’s over 2000. So what I mean by that is that one Ethereum is worth, an American dollar equivalent to about $2,000, which is pretty crazy. And Dogecoin, which started as a joke, I don’t even know where that is now, but it’s funny, that was literally meant, what did the kids say to Troll? Like, it was like a joke. Somebody’s like, oh, here we go, here’s Dogecoin Light coin used to be very big. I’m trying to think of the other men’s. So I used to work at a lot of cryptocurrencies, that’s what we call them conventions. And everyone was starting their own coin for a while. And as we Oh yes, go with the printing of money, it’s like when you have so many things, it starts devaluing. It was like, oh, I just started my own coin. Oh, I did this. And eventually, you’re like, okay, we don’t.
Brittany: We don’t need all these coins. But yeah, so like you said, when Bitcoin starts taking off, these other cryptocurrencies usually start taking off too. And it’s usually because people are like, oh, I’m starting not to trust my government, or Oh, we’re in an economic downturn. Something is wrong here. And so that leads them to look for other solutions.
Emma: You are absolutely correct. I think the more skeptical people are about the government, the more they start kind of worrying about, Hey, how is this going to affect me and my everyday life? And for a lot of folks, that’s their savings that they have in the bank. if the government keeps printing money that’s worth less and less and people start to look around and say, Hey, what other options do we have? And fortunately, the free market had stepped up and given us this option back in 2008. And Satoshi Nakamoto, whoever they are out there, I don’t know if it’s a man or a woman. I don’t even know if it’s multiple people working together.
Brittany: That’s a good point.
Emma: Yeah, it could be a group of folks working together. I am so glad that, whoever they are, they gave us this technology and allowed us to have this free peer-to-peer, completely decentralized form of money. It’s pretty darn cool. I’m gonna link some articles like the White paper and like some more information about how blockchain works in the show notes. So definitely check that out if you’re interested. But we are so thankful you guys joined us today and can’t wait to talk to you again soon. Bye-Bye. Brittany,
Brittany: Talk to you next time.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download