Satoshi Nakamoto is an amalgamation of 富永 仲基 (Tominaga Nakamoto) and Ash Ketchum (サトシ; Satoshi).
The name wasn’t something that I spent months and months on deciding, and it doesn’t mean anything related to what you see on the wikis. Rather, it was an attempt at privacy.
I’d met Tim May back in the 80s when I was involved with DECUS under a number of SunOS groups. There were of course the black sheep groups such as the cypherpunks. For a start, I understand that anarchy is a utopian pipe-dream. Unfortunately, when you get groups of people who have little interaction with the real world, they are starting to believe stories and myths of a society that can exist without order. Worse, they start to believe in computerised order, the singularity, and that code is law. A few of us got on, but for the most part I was ridiculed by people who refused to understand that risk is a probabilistic ideal and can never be perfected and removed. More importantly, I was ridiculed by people with no idea of people or society.
There is a lot to be said for a classical Western education.
The moniker, Satoshi Nakamoto, was simply a way of being able to work and have some privacy in my life.
It was both a homage to Tominaga Nakamoto and a play on the second. The Economist had an article in 1988, and it featured the phoenix of rising money; in order to make some fun out of it, I used Ash (aka Satoshi) from the Pokemon fame.
Funny enough, most of the lawyers I speak to get it. When you actually explain the technology behind Bitcoin, those who have a grounding in law and economics start to see the system. Privacy and anonymity are polar opposites. I am Wesleyan. If you understand that, you’ll start to understand my philosophy on wealth. If you read Andrew Carnegie’s The Gospel of Wealth, and not just the title without moving forward, you may start to understand my long-term plans. Unlike Andrew Carnegie, I don’t plan to retire in my 50s, nor in my 60s, nor in my 70s, nor even in my 80s.
There is a lot of work remaining to get Bitcoin to where I want it to be. I expect at least 30 years of work to do so. At that point, I am hoping it will be sufficiently advanced so that others can carry it forward. Having said so, within the year it will be locked with the protocol fixed and the asinine changes removed.
From here, once it is set in stone, it will remain set in stone.
Code is not law. Those lazy of thought and mind enough to believe that they can abrogate the responsibility that they have to the society they live in deserve all they get. In a democracy, you have the right to seek change. It does not mean people will agree with you. If you don’t like the law, work to change it. The great men of history are not great because they sought to throw away the law, they are great as they sought to align it to freedom.
It is simple to say that things should be different.
It is difficult to stand up and take the brunt of the attacks that come to one who stands against the status quo. It is simple to say things should be different, but it is incredibly hard to have the courage to stand up and fight for change. There are many ways to seek change in our society.
Anarchy is not one of them and never can be. It is simply the path to destruction. It is the path to totalitarian control, a path that those who promote it seek. They do so as wolves leading lambs.
I knew that eventually I would no longer be able to be secret. I knew that my past and my involvement would start to come out, but I had hoped for a longer period of time. The irony that few saw is concealed in the name.
Tominaga was a merchant and philosopher. He wrote during the Tokugawa period of Japan.
The time for remaining in the shadows has passed. Tominaga taught us that “concealment is the beginning of the habit of lying and stealing.”
He was an anti-traditionalist, a logician, and an early capitalist in the days of mercantilism. He once said, “our age today is one of corruption by liars and robbers.” We remain in such an age. Money has been corrupted. We create synthetic systems of synthetic systems designed with nothing more than a goal to move numbers between systems. Money from Main Street to Wall Street and away from where it’s needed.
We see the same again in what we call crypto.
The frauds and the charlatans seek to pump false gains, and they say that what they do is about democratising freedom, and in fact they seek to remove the controls that protect the average person so that they can better engage in their Ponzi schemes and scams. Nobody wins by having ICOs. They are no different to the dematerialised penny shares that floated around the Internet in the 90s as web IPOs. Unfortunately, all too many of us are too young to remember or were not exposed enough to the Internet at the time.
People know very little about my life. My belief system aligns well with Nakamoto Tominaga’s. He promoted the doctrine of simplicity and honesty. It is not, as some such as Gandhi have promoted, the abandonment of technology but rather the use of technology as capital. Rather than seeking simply to escape from work, we find ways to improve what we are doing and extend it, to create more, to build, and to evolve.
The irony of those attacking and calling what I’m doing a lie is that they do not even seem to understand the value of truth.
I always liked the Japanese way of thinking, the only philosophical theories of the Indian and Chinese Buddhists too profound and abstract to infiltrate into the minds and thoughts of the common people within early Japan. It led to a simplification but also, for quite some time, a difference in how intellectuals were perceived. As with the Roman Republic, the people at the time were not anti-intellectual but rather avoided the trap of intellectual society as they created based on logic and simple truths.
Tominaga was the Eastern Voltaire.
Nakamoto always said, “concealment is the start of lying and stealing.” I will say, anonymity in its truest form is the heart of crime and deception. Those seeking to tell you that anonymity is in any way like privacy are seeking to draw you into the shadows. They are the wolves who seek your fleece.
To create Bitcoin, I used the very system of thought it is designed to collapse. Those with socialist tendencies, and yes, anarchy is in all forms aligned to socialism, tend to think in terms of religious mysticism. If you have read Nakamoto Tominaga’s surviving works, you may come to understand the same. All of what I have said and done is hidden in plain sight. Such was the nature of my company, Panoopticrypt. It means, all that is hidden.
When you understand the difference between privacy and anonymity and how the latter destroys the former, you start to understand the deceptive call that the mystic makes on society in the pervasive and insidious call to a utopia.
Although I liked Tim, I knew in the 90s that I needed to find something else. I knew it would be my life goal, after reading Wei Dai’s juvenile and ill-conceived call for b-money:
I am fascinated by Tim May’s crypto-anarchy. Unlike the communities traditionally associated with the word “anarchy”, in a crypto-anarchy the government is not temporarily destroyed but permanently forbidden and permanently unnecessary. It’s a community where the threat of violence is impotent because violence is impossible, and violence is impossible because its participants cannot be linked to their true names or physical locations.
Bitcoin was designed to scale to create something more than the casino that is finance. It is not the exchange that people called the market that allows growth in the creation of capital but rather the exchange of goods between individuals for consumption. A market is not the casino we call the exchange. Such lies need to end.
My revolution is not cypherpunk.
I took all they had, and I created something more. Bitcoin destroys anonymity in all its forms. It allows privacy, takes all that such people sought to do, their foolhardy desire to create a utopia, and changes it allowing Main Street, those that seek to work and create. The proletariat. The middle class. The average person seeking to create a life. It builds a society for them.
It is nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune but as you take arms and oppose them. Not to die or to sleep, not to end. To see not calamity and long life, the whips and scorns of time are hard and challenge the patient merit as the unworthy take acts of pale thought against us.
The bare bodkin is insufficient to pierce the armour of the man with a passion to change the system corrupting us. Social media need no longer make conscious cowards of the soul, for when we go forward we will know that those who seek to attack us must face reality and cannot hide in the shadows of the great pith and little movement.
In the present world of finance, what Tominaga would have called a world of decadence, a place where many people are cheating and stealing and creating ICOs, it is intolerable that in allowing those who teach the lies, the utopian view that code is law and that a world can exist without order, we should let it occur and not stand to oppose it. Those people who say that they are bringing freedom as they seek what they call a democratisation of finance protect the corruption that seeps through it rather than oppose vices.
They all imitate a habit of secrecy. They create rules and hierarchies. They enact systems that are deplorable but operate through secret instructions and techno-mystical religious dogma designed not to create, not to build capital but to enable the transmission of secrecy. They tell you they seek truth, yet in reality they obscure and they cheat.
Bitcoin ends all of it. Not in minutes, not in days, and not quickly. None of it occurs in “Internet time.”
The path forward is already set in stone. And right now, I don’t care whether you believe me. I have my own way of doing things, and most importantly, the first part is to understand that code is not law.
In the period coming up in the growth and development of what I’m creating, you come to understand who I am and what I have created and why. In time, there won’t even be any doubt, but it is my time and my way to choose.
Most importantly, I’m not going to do anything in any way that aligns with the lies that are taught by the crypto community. I am going to teach you how flawed, how insidious, and how evil the heart of code as law really is. I’m going to teach you about the frauds that they propagate, the lies that they use, and the totalitarian ends that they seek to bring as they try to enslave you.
The end of the long road that one steps on in seeking a world where code acts as law is one without humanity. Code is inflexible, there is no heart or soul in code. The strength of the law is that it can be flexible. It is not fixed and unalterable, and can bend.
I was a part of the movement that was the cypherpunks. Not because I agreed but because it needed to be stopped. When you understand Bitcoin, when you understand a sound system of money that acts to allow exchange privately but with an immutable evidence trail, you will start to understand why I created Bitcoin.
I created Bitcoin to ensure that the world the ignorant seek to create, the totalitarian utopia by those seeking a world based on an inflexible code-is-law algorithmic system, never evolves.
I spent 20 years designing Bitcoin. I started in 1998, and went through more iterations than I can ever hope to imagine and remember before finally coming up with something that worked. Welcome to freedom; it comes through a system that consumes utopians and spits them out. The system within Bitcoin is stronger than you believe, and it was designed to not work in many other ways. It takes naïve idealism, and crushes it if it does not evolve into something of considered thought.
It no longer matters whether you like it; Bitcoin was carefully considered, and no blockchain-based system ever allows you to create the totalitarian utopia that is the ultimate dystopia of a world where code is law and order is crushed in anarchy.