You may think this sounds familiar, and it should. This is what many felt around the world in late 2008, signaling an alarming downturn on global financial markets after years of steep growth. It was also then, in the midst of the global financial crisis, when a document, which would propose and lay the foundation for the Bitcoin, appeared for the first time.
Today we celebrate ten years since, what came to be known as the Bitcoin White Paper, was published on the Cryptography Mailing list — a tight community of cypherpunks, cryptographers, and hobby mathematicians.
“A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.”
In mere eight densely packed pages (the last page is dedicated to references), Satoshi Nakamoto described a decentralized system, which would:
- have mechanisms to prevent “double-spending” — a long-standing problem related to any transfer of value in a digital environment
- not need to rely on trusted third parties
- give the participants an option to stay (semi-)anonymous
- introduce a proof-of-work system to create new “coins”
Does all of this sound confusing? No wonder!
At first sight, Satoshi’s paper looks like an indigestible read, enjoyable only for a handful of people who already have a good grasp on distributed systems and cryptography. While this might be true, it does not take away from its importance. We believe that the concepts outlined in the Bitcoin White Paper can be described pleasantly to be easily understandable even for a casual reader and “everyday person.”
Our desire to share the knowledge and understanding of how Bitcoin works motivated us to work on a series of articles where we will look under the hood of these intricate systems. We will ponder about the motivations driving the origin of Bitcoin, unravel its technical properties, and investigate the impacts and disruptions it brings to the world. You can look forward to seeing these posts coming out in the upcoming weeks.
Why does all this matter?
Bitcoin and Trezor share one crucial aspect within their security and philosophical structures. They are both open-source projects — the source code is open to the world, holding no secrets, and giving everyone a chance to participate.
We believe everyone should be able to review these projects; be it a security researcher, an experienced developer, or you, an enthusiast testing the waters on the edge of unexplored innovation. The shared and decentralized ecosystem will thrive only if all parties understand the rules (at least on some level), and we will do our best to pass this essential information to you.