The beginnings of bitcoin and the search for Nakamoto

By Jon Stibbs

The concept behind Bitcoin hit the internet in 2009 in a post by Satoshi Nakamoto, a presumed pseudonym. The nine-page scholarly document quickly won a muted response on a peer 2 peer site.

Speculation about Bitcoin and Nakamoto quickly snowballed. The New York Times’s 2010 take on bitcoin and its birth identified that cryptocurrencies represent a challenge to the established financial order.

The Times notes that previous disrupters of the status quo, such as Hawaii’s Bernard von NotHaus, have faced an aggressive response from the state and potential prison.

Intrigue surrounding Nakamoto and the hint of danger surrounding him has inspired endless theories and some creative conspiracies.

PIZZA AND DRUGS

The search for Nakamoto has only hit dead ends, while Bitcoin has rolled on. Its first success came with the convoluted purchase of two pizzas by a fellow called Laszlo in 2010. This auspicious event is celebrated every 22 May by Bitcoin enthusiasts.

In the popular consciousness Bitcoin became associated with more unsavoury items that pizza. The Silk Road site promised access to illegal drugs and assorted naughtiness via the bitcoin. A misplaced confidence in the new technology’s anonymity whipped a storm of interest and disapproval in 2011.

Money was being made in Bitcoin trading and mentions of the first bitcoin millionaire began in 2011. New York hosted the first Bitcoin conference, where this new breed of minted early adopters were reportedly in attendance.

What goes up, must come down, and by 2013 stories began of millionaires cashing out as they believe they have spotted the market’s peak. By then Bitcoin was becoming public knowledge, even as Nakamoto remains secret.

Check out historyofbitcoin.org for a comprehensive timeline of Bitcoin up to the resignation of Charlie Shrem from the bitcoin foundation following his arrest for money laundering in relation to Silk Road.

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