An Amazing Invention By Satoshi
It is usually the things we don’t understand that we consider magic. With Bitcoin, it is the exact opposite. The more you understand and get involved, the more convinced you would be that it is an unbelievable and amazing thing Satoshi made. For some reason or reasons, he decided to leave the project in the latter part of 2010. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We delve into the ways in which the absence of the creator has been good for Bitcoin.
The Three Parts of an Act of Magic
In the 2006 movie, “The Prestige”, a magic act was said to be made up of three parts.
“Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called “The Pledge”. The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal.”
We can liken the first part of the act to Satoshi publishing the Bitcoin whitepaper and sharing it on the cypherpunk mailing list. This happened in August 2008.
“The second act is called “The Turn”. The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary.”
“The Turn” for Bitcoin occurred in January 2009 when Satoshi made his idea a reality. This is when the software for Bitcoin was ready and the Genesis block got mined. It can also be argued that this part is still on-going because Bitcoin is still doing extraordinary things. After a decade of its creation, we see its impact being felt in almost every sphere of life. It is no longer only discussed on online forums but on popular TV shows and at congressional hearings.
Now, the third and final part is known as “The Prestige”. I would say this is where Satoshi reveals himself and takes a bow amidst a well-deserved thunderous applause. We all know this didn’t happen.
Why We Should Be Glad There Was No Third Act
If Satoshi had stayed on, even while remaining anonymous, we would have had a king or even a god for people in the Bitcoin community to look up to for guidance. The unending block size debate would not have happened at all. We would simply have Satoshi give his word on the matter and it would most likely be final. This probably sounds good but it is best things happened as they did. Bitcoin, which is supposed to be decentralized and give the individual financial freedom would not look good with a dictator. It makes no difference if that dictator is a benevolent one.
Satoshi, therefore, had to step aside for Bitcoin to become truly decentralized. The difficulty in reaching consensus on updates to the Bitcoin protocol shows that power is not concentrated at one place. This is a fair price to pay for censorship-resistant and “unseizable” money.
Ripple, the third largest cryptocurrency by market cap, has had problems with regulators over the years. Each time, the leaders of the cryptocurrency had to face the music when called on by authorities. Many other cryptocurrencies have figureheads and creators around and in charge of affairs. Such individuals become weak points since they can be coerced into leading their projects in certain directions. Projects could also be shut down when authorities reach out to such figureheads with warnings. This has been the case with ICOs like Centra and Bitcoiin.
In a nutshell, as a result of Satoshi’s departure from the Bitcoin project, we have a more decentralized cryptocurrency with a community where influence is based on merit. It also leaves the project with no single point of weakness in terms of a single revered leader.
To end on a lighter note, I think it would be boring if we knew who Satoshi was. I prefer the “unknown mysterious creator” story better. What about you?