Satoshi; or, The Solution to Nakamoto’s Dilemma

Tominaga Nakamoto (1715–46) was a Japanese philosopher trained in the Osaka merchant academy called the Kaitokudō. His research and writings on metaphysics and cosmology in the study of nature described how the subjects were unreliable. He wrote on history, detailing how it would be the proper subject of study from which to gain insight into the present. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he challenged the view that language and text could serve as objective sources of data, maintaining that they could not be used in making universal statements. When taken in its cultural context, language is fluid and changes as people alter meanings of words.

He demonstrated how history was relative and fundamentally unreliable. The distortion in the written word over time became a central issue and area of study that Nakamoto used in his thesis that history was unstable. The constant change and variation to history is in effect an unchanging alteration to the protocol of how we as humans communicate. It is both language and the full meaning of words that we see change. Instability when coupled with human ambition and desire leads people to manipulate language. The making of myths can be seen in the Bitcoin white paper. People have argued that miners could make rules and lead us to a system without government, even though the white paper makes it clear that miners enforce the rules — the difficulty here being that an enforcer is not a creator.

Nakamoto delivered the thesis that true history was altered time and time again by those seeking to constitute what they saw was pure origin based on their own philosophy. The reconstruction through a series of overlays and changes leads to something radically different. The only stable part of history that Nakamoto noted was one of self-promotion and bragging. The one thing that never changes in human nature is the matter of contradictions and deceiving ways. But a system without the ability to change without a record of the change always leads to the truth. And a predicate can always be formed in a way that does not allow rhetorical dishonesty.

The writings of Nakamoto are rarely studied today, which they considered “the way of truthfulness” (makoto no michi). He sought methods to create moral relationships and to endow trust amongst humans [1, 2].

The name Satoshi signifies wise or intelligent history. The word and name simultaneously means clever or order, and implies a wise ancestry and a history that is connected. It is also the name of the Pokémon trainer, and has a few side connotations that I always loved. And it is also the name of one of the key characters in The House of Morgan. Primarily, it was always the juxtaposition that I liked.

Both Nakamoto and Sorai supported a common current of analysis affirming the Tokugawa system of government and rule. Known as hoken, the Tokugawa, whilst still a ward lordship, constructed a decentralised system of government. He compared it to the imperial centralised regimes that existed in China. In particular, he criticised the disproportionately unforgiving and legalistic examination systems needed for a promotion within the Chinese government and its associated bureaucracy. It was his hypothesis that they stifled both intellectual life and the development within society across China at the time. He noted that it differed radically from many of the earlier periods of China, where a more decentralised governorship had led to growth and a profound expansion.

Bitcoin is a system that creates an ordered and structured history, one where changes can occur; but within the system, if exchange occurs, the nature of the change is recorded. In Bitcoin, we have the answer to Nakamoto’s history and his dilemma and problem. Satoshi, the system of wise ancestry, is a system of blocks ordered throughout time. It is a system that records all the problems and mitigates them, because the answers are available to audit.


1. Nakamoto, T (1738). Jottings of an Old Man (Okina no fumi).

2. Nakamoto, T (1770s–1780s). Random jottings of an old man (Okina-gusa). Collection of Japanese essays (Nihon zuihitsu taisei), 3rd series, vols. 11–13. Nihon Zuihitsu Taisei Kankokai, Tokyo (1927–1931).

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