Paul Graham is best known for his work as an extremely
successful venture capitalist, co-founding the New York City seed
fund, Y Combinator.
But, he's surprised the Internet this week with a radical, if
not well-structured take on the mysterious origins of
Graham asserts that Bitcoin was not created by a rogue and
anonymous Japanese hacker, but rather by a national
a post on the Y Combinator discussion board
, Hacker News, Graham wrote:
I've long suspected bitcoin was created by a government.
Bulletproof protocols usually require peer review, yet there have
been zero leaks from the reviewers. Pools of crypto guys who
don't leak stuff are usually employed by governments.
The part that puzzles me is why a government would do this. I
can imagine several possibilities:
1. To finance their own black operations.
2. Because they thought digital currencies were inevitable,
and they preferred bitcoin to some potentially more malevolent
form. (Could bitcoin have been worse from a government's point of
3. A friend suggested this: because they felt their currency
would never become the standard reserve currency, and they felt
it was better that no one's be if theirs couldn't be.
4. A variant of the above: the US did it because it seemed
inevitable that the dollar would eventually lose its place as the
standard reserve currency, and better to have it replaced by
bitcoin that the yuan.
I realize some of these explanations are pretty far fetched,
but so is an individual cooking up bitcoin as an intellectual
exercise. Whatever the explanation of bitcoin's origin turns out
to be, it will probably be pretty weird.
Unfortunately the thread devolves into a mix of conspiratorial
nonsense and a dearth of any convincing rebuttals.
One poster claims he and other early members of the Bitcoin
community worked with alleged creator Satoshi Nakamoto via
message boards and email.
Hal Finney wrote,
"When Satoshi announced the first release of the software, I
grabbed it right away. I think I was the first person besides
Satoshi to run bitcoin. I mined block 70-something, and I was the
recipient of the first bitcoin transaction, when Satoshi sent ten
coins to me as a test. I carried on an email conversation with
Satoshi over the next few days, mostly me reporting bugs and him
"Today, Satoshi's true identity has become a mystery. But at
the time, I thought I was dealing with a young man of Japanese
ancestry who was very smart and sincere. I've had the good
fortune to know many brilliant people over the course of my life,
so I recognize the signs."
quotes of Nakamoto
also discredit the idea that Bitcoin was created from a
government. Nakomoto's posts express contempt for the central
banking system and a wariness of financial instability. He says
Bitcoin will grant "a new territory of freedom for several
years," and touts a libertarian viewpoint.
According to the Bitcoin network's transaction database, the
first entry was a note from Nakamoto which read, "The Times
03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks."
At the moment, however, until Bitcoin's protocol is penetrated
by an outsider -- or Nakamoto himself comes forward -- the
origins of the virtual currency will remain a mystery.
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.
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