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It is unlikely that Satoshi Nakamoto, when he left the last known message on his behalf, already knew about the prospects of the new digital money project he created. The future was foggy. But the fact of his early disappearance proves the correct assessment of the scale and significance of bitcoin.
The secret of his personality is secondary. The most important events in the history of bitcoin happened without its author, who had not shown signs of himself for more than ten years already. Where did he go? Is he alive? Is he indifferent or is he following with interest? Has he moved away from cryptocurrencies and blockchain or is he taking part in the development of bitcoin or other projects under a new pseudonym? The authoritative word of the creator of the first and most successful crypto project could sound, determining its fate and the fate of the entire market. But Satoshi Nakamoto is silent.
Probably the most significant circumstances is his own protection. In order to understand the fragility of any means and methods of anonymity, you do not need to be a great specialist. And Satoshi Nakamoto was such a specialist. He understood that the more weight the first crypto will gain, the more persistently they will look for its author. It’s impossible to hide for a long time. The complete cessation of any activity under the name of Satoshi Nakamoto was the only option guaranteeing freedom from the annoying interest of the authorities, from the close attention of competitors, from trying to find the real person behind the white paper of Bitcoin.
Another important reason, apparently, was the desire to demonstrate the decentralization of the project and its autonomy. And in this case, the step was good: for many community participants and users, the fact of the absence of the creator “at the helm” is a strong argument in favor of the independence of the cryptocurrency and the stability of its mechanisms.
Also, he probably wanted to protect himself and his project from pressure from state and corporate structures — this has happened in the history of digital money. Knowing the bad experience of the predecessors, when the financial authorities hit the leaders and shut down the projects, the author of bitcoin did not give potential pursuers a chance. It’s hard to argue: Bitcoin has survived. It works and attracts new users. History shows that it is a very difficult thing to destroy.
Why is it bad without Nakamoto?
The reasons showed his foresight. However, one should say about the negative consequences of the decision to leave public space.
From the very start, the first cryptocurrency lived its own life autonomously, independently, without support. Initially it was mined by enthusiasts and transferred to each other as an experiment. It was mined on home computers, video cards, FPGA, servers, browsers, smartphones. The owners of bitcoins understood: they possess something intangible; a digital substance that has inexplicably gained value. And this value is something forbidden, almost sinful, condemned by many. A hue of inappropriateness attached to bitcoin — a significant role in this was played by the absence of the creator in public space. There is no one to ask, no one to argue with, no one can convincingly support. A large part of potential Bitcoin users did not dare to join the project, because they did not see the person standing at the origins. He was not there.
The creator was not around when his brainchild was accused of a criminal purpose, compared with financial bubbles and pyramids. Satoshi Nakamoto did not say his weighty word when bitcoin was praised by people whose words only added problems and spoiled the reputation. He was silent when splits in the community led to the creation of new, “most genuine” bitcoins — forks, each of which seemed to be on the true path that Nakamoto would choose. The author lost the opportunity to explain to ordinary people the real value of his creation — decentralization and freedom, embedded in the algorithm, not subject to the influence of authoritarian structures.
Digital money is the future, but Bitcoin is driven into the reservation
The events of recent years demonstrate several points:
Bitcoin is difficult to stop, its mechanisms work, despite any pressure;
the weak point of the first cryptocurrency is the point of transition of virtual value to the real world;
Bitcoin has been and remains the leader and main driver of the entire industry;
digital money will displace cash, but traditional authoritarian financial and monetary institutions will leave it under their control.
Centralized structures realized all of the above and developed several fairly effective ways to deal with Bitcoin (and, therefore, with the whole crypto market):
discredit — the image of bitcoin as a criminal and "dirty" financial instrument;
tight control over points where you can get real values or fiat currencies for virtual currency;
lead’em if you can’t beat’em: state digital currencies and payment services will compete with popular cryptocurrencies, which will put them in a much more favorable light.
The bottom line is that cryptocurrencies, at least the most popular of them, will stay but in rather narrow and controlled niches. They persistently impose an image of money for marginals and criminals.
Bitcoin has the only way to deal with centralized structures — distribution and popularity among common citizens. The more people would use decentralized money, the more difficult it would be to manage it. The public figure of the Bitcoin creator would really help. If Satoshi Nakamoto was right next to the project from the very beginning, everything would have turned out differently. The first crypto would be difficult to stall into the reservation, fencing with flags and hanging warning signs. But it is precisely this process that’s going on.
Image courtesy of The Cryptonomist
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