“At the end of the day, knowing the identity of Satoshi is about as important as knowing who created HTTP or HTML,” a bitcoin entrepreneur named Jason Weinstein told Slate. “Every day people communicate, socialize, get information, move money, and transact business over the Internet using these protocols without knowing how they work or who created them.”
.. The search for Nakamoto, the argument goes, undermines the anti-authoritarian premise of bitcoin. Andreas Antonopoulos, a well-known bitcoin entrepreneur, laid out this argument in a post on Reddit explaining why he declined an offer to meet Wright:
Identity and authority are distractions from a system of mathematical proof that does not require trust. This is not a telenovela. Bitcoin is a neutral framework of trust that can bring financial empowerment to billions of people. It works because it doesn’t depend on any authority. Not even Satoshi’s.
.. The Economist pointed out, this latest saga unfolded during a heated “civil war” that has broken out among bitcoin developers over how to deal with an increase in transaction volume in the bitcoin network. The network processes transactions in batches known as “blocks.” As the number of blocks has increased, the network has become in danger of being overloaded. One side in the dispute wants to change the bitcoin code, increasing the block size to allow the system to process transactions more quickly. The other side sees this as a betrayal of the integrity of the original code, arguing that a change would lead to more centralization in the system (the greatest sin for a bitcoin believer) and consequent problems.
.. In this context, the fight over Nakamoto looks more like the jostling of courtiers to install a sympathetic heir to the throne than an objective analysis of the cryptographic proof.
.. Unlike HTML or HTTP, bitcoin was an ideological project from the start.
.. Turning away from the question of Nakamoto’s identity is a way to deny the fact that bitcoin, like all technology, is ultimately, imperfectly, human.
Three years ago, institutions scoffed at the idea of decentralized solutions to storing items of value; instant settlement was predicted to be at least a decade off in the future; and the idea that a nation would move to entirely digital currency seemed like science fiction. Bitcoin was a proof of concept that inspired the imaginations of engineers, entrepreneurs, and innovators all over the world; and it also served as a catalyst for an industry that had been resisting innovation as it was bogged down by and distracted by regulatory compliance and recovering from the financial crisis. The industry went from saying “we’ll never all be able to coordinate on technological changes” to “if change is coming, I want to be a part of it.” In my view, the importance of a catalyst for action cannot be understated, especially when dealing with large, conservative firms with disparate interests.
.. One way to think about it all is like the beginning of the internet. Early on there was a lot of discussion of protocols, packets, etc., but it took many years and many layers of services on top before it was useful. And the first commercial uses had a lot of questionable elements (policy-makers in the 1990s were alarmed by the pornography and use of the internet for criminal activity).
Instead, many of the top minds in finance have come to believe that the software that brought the virtual currency into existence also enables a fundamentally new way of transacting and maintaining records online — allowing people and banks to directly exchange money and assets like stocks and bonds without having to rely on a long chain of expensive middlemen.
.. executives from more than a dozen large banks gathered to confidentially discuss how the technology underlying Bitcoin could be used to change foreign currency trading, the largest financial market in the world, according to people who attended the meeting.
Central banks like the Federal Reserve and the Bank of England have their own teams looking at the technology.
.. The Nasdaq software will allow the trading of stocks in private companies, like tech start-ups, on a new kind of blockchain. This will replace the existing system in which private companies issue and trade shares using paper certificates — a process that means that even basic trades can take weeks to complete.
.. at two Barclays offices in London dedicated to the technology — are looking at ways to use the blockchain to speed up and lower the cost of consumer payments, to compete with credit cards and direct money transfers.
But bankers generally say that most of the work is aimed at changing the systems that big Wall Street traders and investors use to buy and sell sophisticated assets like syndicated loans and corporate bonds.
Satoshi Nakamoto originally designed Bitcoin’s software to limit the block size to one megabyte. This effectively restricts the number of bitcoin transactions to about seven per second, since it takes a certain number of characters to record a given transaction, and only so many fit in a megabyte. (Visa, by contrast, routinely handles thousands of transactions per second, and claims a capacity of more than twenty-four thousand transactions per second.) Hearn anticipates that Bitcoin transaction volumes will blow past the seven-per-second limit by 2017, at the latest, creating backlogs, settlement delays, and perhaps even mass outages.
.. Problems of governance have beset Bitcoin from its inception. Notably, there have been mass resignations from the Bitcoin Foundation, the cryptocurrency’s standards body. Furthermore, some of its most prominent members have been in trouble with the law
.. He replied that “[XT] will have a different set of developers. Part of the reason for forking is to have a clear decision-making process for the software development.”
The first people Satoshi emailed privately were Mr. Back and Mr. Dai, both men have said. And Mr. Finney, who recently died, helped Satoshi improve the Bitcoin software in the fall of 2008, before it was publicly released, according to emails shared with me by Mr. Finney and his family.
.. Mr. Szabo’s writing about bit gold from that time contains many striking parallels with Satoshi’s description of Bitcoin, including similar phrasings and even common writing mannerisms. In 2014, researchers at Aston University, in England, compared the writing of several people who have been suspected to be Satoshi and found that none matched up nearly as well as Mr. Szabo’s. The similarity was “uncanny,” said Jack Grieve, the lecturer who led the effort.