On April 23, 2011, the enigmatic creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, sent his final emails to fellow developers in which he made it clear he had “moved on to other projects,” at the time handing over a cryptographic key he had used to send network-wide alerts.
Fast forward to April 2023, and the Bitcoin story is, in many ways, still just starting.
The Message From Satoshi Nakamoto
12 years ago, the pseudonymous Bitcoin founder penned one of the final correspondences with a friend. The mysterious creator conveyed in his final email that they had “moved on to other things” and confidently proclaimed that the Bitcoin project was entrusted in “good hands” with software developer Gavin Andreesen and “everyone”. Notably, nobody has been able to track down the projects that Nakamoto moved to ever since.
After handing over control of the Bitcoin source code repository to Gavin, Satoshi Nakamoto completely disappeared from the public eye.
As projected, Bitcoin has evolved from an obscure, esoteric project to a trillion-dollar decentralized financial behemoth in the years since its creator’s departure.
Now heralded by governments, politicians, financial institutions, and corporations, the flagship cryptocurrency is in the midst of a mainstream moment. Yet, Satoshi’s identity remains a mystery, and their BTC stockpile of over 1 million remains unmoved.
Australian entrepreneur Craig Steve Wright is mired in a protracted legal fight that hinges on his being able to access crypto wallets allegedly belonging to Satoshi. Multiple pieces of evidence claiming to strengthen Wright’s claim, including PGP keys, have been disputed, and many in the community are unconvinced that he is the pseudonymous creator.
Pressure To Change Bitcoin Code
Though Bitcoin has yet to live up to all the tenets of Satoshi’s original 2008 white paper, its established monetary policy has made it an appealing store of value for investors.
Nonetheless, a section of industry pundits has made calls to change Bitcoin’s code. Chris Larsen, the billionaire founder of Ripple, for instance, backed a controversial campaign to persuade the Bitcoin community to alter the network’s existing code and remove its proof-of-work (PoW) algorithm, which requires miners to solve complex puzzles to validate transactions and secure the network, in favour of the less energy-intensive proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism. Ethereum, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market value, executed this change, which resulted in a 99.9% reduction in total energy use.
Although Bitcoin’s environmental impact has been a subject of debate for years, Larsen’s proposal to follow Ether’s footsteps and change the system designed by Satoshi Nakamoto was strongly rejected by Bitcoiners.