Lesson 19

Privacy is not dead

The players all played at once without waiting for turns, and quarrelled all the while at the tops of their voices, and in a very few minutes the Queen was in a furious passion, and went stamping about and shouting "off with his head!" of "off with her head!" about once in a minute.
Read by Guy Swann.

If pundits are to believed, privacy has been dead since the 80ies. The pseudonymous invention of Bitcoin and other events in recent history show that this is not the case. Privacy is alive, even though it is by no means easy to escape the surveillance state.

Satoshi went through great lengths to cover up his tracks and conceal his identity. Ten years later, it is still unknown if Satoshi Nakamoto was a single person, a group of people, male, female, or a time-traveling AI which bootstrapped itself to take over the world. Conspiracy theories aside, Satoshi chose to identify himself to be a Japanese male, which is why I don’t assume but respect his chosen gender and refer to him as he.

I am not Dorian Nakamoto.

Whatever his real identity might be, Satoshi was successful in hiding it. He set an encouraging example for everyone who wishes to remain anonymous: it is possible to have privacy online.

“Encryption works. Properly implemented strong crypto systems are one of the few things that you can rely on.” Edward Snowden

Satoshi wasn’t the first pseudonymous or anonymous inventor, and he won’t be the last. Some have directly imitated this pseudonymous publication style, like Tom Elvis Yedusor of MimbleWimble fame, while others have published advanced mathematical proofs while remaining completely anonymous.

It is a strange new world we are living in. A world where identity is optional, contributions are accepted based on merit, and people can collaborate and transact freely. It will take some adjustment to get comfortable with these new paradigms, but I strongly believe that all of this has the potential to change the world for the better.

We should all remember that privacy is a fundamental human right. And as long as people exercise and defend these rights the battle for privacy is far from over. Bitcoin taught me that privacy is not dead.


Down the Rabbit Hole