Behind the "per-billion dollar bitcoin permanent loss": Bitcoin almost died

Author | Kai Sedgwick
Translation | Nuclear Cola
Source | blockchain outpost
Lead: "At the time, Bitcoin had no value at all. No one used this system… It was only an interesting science project on SourceForge, and it was destined to miss the public."

Today, “tens of billions of dollars of bitcoin has been permanently lost” is on the top of the microblogging hot search list, reading 130 million people. But in the comment area, we can see that there are many opposing voices. The words "MLM", "Scam" and other hostile words on Bitcoin continue to appear. A few days ago, the official Weibo accounts such as the currency security and the wave field were blocked. The major media have issued essays to attack the blockchain fraud, and the bitcoin that was implicated did not leave a good impression on the outsiders.

In fact, the loss of Bitcoin is not a news in the circle, but a fact that everyone knows. When Bitcoin was born, it was not worth the money. No one would be uncomfortable because they forgot to lose a few cents of the private key. Today, bitcoin prices are no longer the same, but it also makes many people forget how bitcoin was hard to get to the present.

Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin, but we still don't know who Nakamoto is. Bitcoin is like a mask, and it strongly opposes defining (or superheroing) any specific individual. We will use the film routine to talk about Nakamoto and what he wants to solve:

There are such individuals who represent the existing system of corruption (central bank). The mysterious hero has been strictly protecting his true identity and trying to separate his personal life from his professional life. For many years, this mysterious hero has no assistance, no return, just a fight. The mission is threatened and the enemy is closely following. This is the story of Nakamoto. Although this person has no masks and cloaks, his behavior is no different from that of a superhero.

2007: Ordinary starting point


In an email to Hal Finney, Nakamoto acknowledged, "I actually made some concessions. I wrote all the code first, then completed the paper, and finally I started thinking about it. How to solve all the problems." Nakamoto Satoshi is likely to have started bitcoin research before public pseudonym. He explained that “design and coding work began in 2007,” the specific time point may be at the beginning of the year. At the time, the word Bitcoin was not yet born. The original name of the project was “no electronic cash for third parties.”

By the end of 2007, we can basically confirm that Nakamoto has conceived the basic framework of Bitcoin: a method of “sending electronic payment transactions from one party to another without the intervention of financial institutions”. Through the hash-based workload proof mechanism, Nakamoto has made a major breakthrough in solving double expenditures. The proof of the workload will result in a time-stamped record, and the record cannot be modified unless the workload proof is re-made. This is the solution to the "Byzantine general problem."

Nakamoto's aura of light may have arrived in 2007, but Bitcoin at the time was just a concept. The project contains thousands of lines of incomplete code and lacks the necessary elements to build a decentralized currency: software that can actually run, token release schedules, block build times, and many other components. In 2007, Nakamoto was sure to be exhausted by the development of the day and night and the endless overthrowing, but he never expected that the situation in the second year would become more difficult.


2008: first contact


With the advent of 2008, Nakamoto found that his to-do list was getting longer every day. Until then, he has been focusing on the design of the electronic cash system, and in the first half of 2008, he organized his ideas into a later white paper on the Bitcoin project. At this time, he gave birth to another worry: he had to hurry to hide his way, or he would soon be exposed to public view. And this exposure would be extremely dangerous: just the year before, the founder of Liberty Reserve was sentenced to five years in prison for running the digital currency exchange Gold Age without a financial license.

Nakamoto knows that he must pick a reliable pseudonym: the pseudonym cannot be related to his true identity, but also creates a certain degree of mystery. In addition, even in the anonymous world, the name can not leave a deep impression. We may never know why he chose "Zhongben Cong", we can only confirm that this is a good name. When the people behind it are combined with this name, the superheroes in the new era are officially born, and they can no longer look back.

In addition to "Zhong Ben Cong", our hero also selected the official name for his electronic cash system: Bitcoin. On August 18, 2008, he registered the domain name at Four days later, Nakamoto bought the first contact with the outside world and sent an email to Wei Dai at the address of [email protected], which included a link to the earlier white paper of Bitcoin. We believe that Nakamoto has sent an email to Adam Back. If the guess is true, the initial contact may occur in early August.

Fall 2008: The first step of Bitcoin


The early interaction between Nakamoto and the cryptography community is cautious and polite. He is modest and low-key, so inconspicuous, so even though many people have dealt with him directly, no one knows who he is – no one cares who he is. From the second half of 2008 to January 2009, he always maintained a polite attitude in the communication: "I'm sorry, maybe I didn't figure it out" and "Thank you very much, Cong Jing" is his usual expression.

Even at this time, Bitcoin may still have not reached the expected pace. Obviously, Nakamoto has considered everything, including his own intervention and withdrawal. In addition to trying to register anonymously and using a large number of agents to conduct business, Nakamoto has even begun to adjust the language style to further increase the distance between himself and the pseudonym. Nakamoto's writing style even laid the foundation for the later Looking back now, the written expression of Nakamoto in 2008 seems to have a bit of British character.

On October 31, 2008, Nakamoto published his white paper on the Bitcoin mailing list and stated that “I have been researching a new electronic cash system that is completely equivalent and does not require a trusted third party.” But at this time There are still many issues in the Bitcoin project that have not been finalized, including a total of 21 million supplies. It seems that the supply of tokens does not seem to be finalized until the launch of the Bitcoin code version 0.1 on January 9, 2009.

After working, the success of Bitcoin seems to be a necessity. But it must be admitted that in the first few months of Bitcoin's birth, this young project may be dying at any time. Even optimists believe that the Bitcoin project can attract thousands of core diehards. As Mike Hearnn later recalled, “The bitcoin at the time was simply worthless. No one used this system… it was only an interesting science project on SourceForge and it was destined to be out of the public.”

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