Lesson 5

An immaculate conception

"Their heads are gone," the soldiers shouted in reply...
Read by Guy Swann.

Everyone loves a good origin story. The origin story of Bitcoin is a fascinating one, and the details of it are more important than one might think at first. Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? Was he one person or a group of people? Was he a she? Time-traveling alien, or advanced AI? Outlandish theories aside, we will probably never know. And this is important.

Satoshi chose to be anonymous. He planted the seed of Bitcoin. He stuck around for long enough to make sure the network won’t die in its infancy. And then he vanished.

What might look like a weird anonymity stunt is actually crucial for a truly decentralized system. No centralized control. No centralized authority. No inventor. No-one to prosecute, torture, blackmail, or extort. An immaculate conception of technology.

“One of the greatest things that Satoshi did was disappear.” Jimmy Song

Since the birth of Bitcoin, thousands of other cryptocurrencies were created. None of these clones share its origin story. If you want to supersede Bitcoin, you will have to transcend its origin story. In a war of ideas, narratives dictate survival.

“Gold was first fashioned into jewelry and used for barter over 7,000 years ago. Gold’s captivating gleam led to it being considered a gift from the gods.” Gold: The Extraordinary Metal

Like gold in ancient times, Bitcoin might be considered a gift from the gods. Unlike gold, Bitcoins origins are all too human. And this time, we know who the gods of development and maintenance are: people all over the world, anonymous or not.

Bitcoin taught me that narratives are important.


Down the Rabbit Hole