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Satoshi Quotes & Memorables

Satoshi Nakamoto is the mysterious creator of Bitcoin. It's unknown if this was a single person or a group of people who generously gifted us this innovative technology, but when this happened, the world changed forever. It may never be possible to completely understand the entity known as Satoshi nor do we attempt to understand everything that it is -- as Satoshi had foresight about Bitcoin that has baffled experts all over the world.

This page serves as a historic resource, taking some of our favorite and memorable quotes by Satoshi Nakamoto sourced from publicly available information housing them here in chronological order for anyone to reference in the future.

Nov 2, 2008"Long before the network gets anywhere near as large as that, it would be safe for users to use Simplified Payment Verification (section 8) to check for double spending, which only requires having the chain of block headers, or about 12KB per day. Only people trying to create new coins would need to run network nodes. At first, most users would run network nodes, but as the network grows beyond a certain point, it would be left more and more to specialists with server farms of specialized hardware. A server farm would only need to have one node on the network and the rest of the LAN connects with that one node."

Nov 2, 2008"The bandwidth might not be as prohibitive as you think. A typical transaction would be about 400 bytes (ECC is nicely compact). Each transaction has to be broadcast twice, so lets say 1KB per transaction. Visa processed 37 billion transactions in FY2008, or an average of 100 million transactions per day. That many transactions would take 100GB of bandwidth, or the size of 12 DVD or 2 HD quality movies, or about $18 worth of bandwidth at current prices. If the network were to get that big, it would take several years, and by then, sending 2 HD movies over the Internet would probably not seem like a big deal."

Nov 3, 2008"Even if a bad guy does overpower the network, it’s not like he’s instantly rich. All he can accomplish is to take back money he himself spent, like bouncing a check. To exploit it, he would have to buy something from a merchant, wait till it ships, then overpower the network and try to take his money back."

Nov 9, 2008"The proof-of-work chain is itself self-evident proof that it came from the globally shared view. Only the majority of the network together has enough CPU power to generate such a difficult chain of proof-of-work. Any user, upon receiving the proof-of-work chain, can see what the majority of the network has approved. Once a transaction is hashed into a link that’s a few links back in the chain, it is firmly etched into the global history."

November 11, 2008"Instantant non-repudiability is not a feature, but it’s still much faster than existing systems. Paper cheques can bounce up to a week or two later. Credit card transactions can be contested up to 60 to 180 days later. Bitcoin transactions can be sufficiently irreversible in an hour or two."

Nov 14, 2008"It’s very attractive to the libertarian viewpoint if we can explain it properly. I’m better with code than with words though."

November 16, 2008"Nodes collect new transactions into a block, hash them into a hash tree, and scan through nonce values to make the block's hash satisfy proof-of-work requirements. When they solve the proof-of-work, they broadcast the block to everyone and the block is added to the timechain. The first transaction in the block is a special one that creates a new coin owned by the creator of the block."

January 3, 2009"The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks"

January 3, 2009"This is why people hate C++"

January 3, 2009"Last one out turn out the lights."

January 3, 2009"Never go to sea with two chronometers; take one or three."

Jan 9, 2009"Total circulation will be 21,000,000 coins. It’ll be distributed to network nodes when they make blocks, with the amount cut in half every 4 years. [...] When that runs out, the system can support transaction fees if needed. It’s based on open market competition, and there will probably always be nodes willing to process transactions for free."

Jan 17, 2009"I would be surprised if 10 years from now we’re not using electronic currency in some way, [...] It might make sense just to get some in case it catches on. If enough people think the same way, that becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. Once it gets bootstrapped, there are so many applications if you could effortlessly pay a few cents to a website as easily as dropping coins in a vending machine."

February 15, 2009"A lot of people automatically dismiss e-currency as a lost cause because of all the companies that failed since the 1990's. I hope it's obvious it was only the centrally controlled nature of those systems that doomed them. I think this is the first time we're trying a decentralized, non-trust-based system."

Nov 25, 2009"The possibility to be anonymous or pseudonymous relies on you not revealing any identifying information about yourself in connection with the bitcoin addresses you use. If you post your bitcoin address on the web, then you’re associating that address and any transactions with it with the name you posted under. If you posted under a handle that you haven’t associated with your real identity, then you’re still pseudonymous."

Dec 10, 2009"The Bitcoin network has been running for almost a year now. The design and coding started in 2007."

Feb 21, 2010"The price of any commodity tends to gravitate toward the production cost. If the price is below cost, then production slows down. If the price is above cost, profit can be made by generating and selling more. At the same time, the increased production would increase the difficulty, pushing the cost of generating towards the price.

In later years, when new coin generation is a small percentage of the existing supply, market price will dictate the cost of production more than the other way around.

At the moment, generation effort is rapidly increasing, suggesting people are estimating the present value to be higher than the current cost of production."

May 18, 2010"Simplified Payment Verification is for lightweight client-only users who only do transactions and don’t generate and don’t participate in the node network. They wouldn’t need to download blocks, just the hash chain, which is currently about 2MB and very quick to verify (less than a second to verify the whole chain). If the network becomes very large, like over 100,000 nodes, this is what we’ll use to allow common users to do transactions without being full blown nodes. At that stage, most users should start running client-only software and only the specialist server farms keep running full network nodes, kind of like how the usenet network has consolidated."

June 17, 2010"The nature of Bitcoin is such that once version 0.1 was released, the core design was set in stone for the rest of its lifetime. Because of that, I wanted to design it to support every possible transaction type I could think of. [...] The design supports a tremendous variety of possible transaction types that I designed years ago. Escrow transactions, bonded contracts, third party arbitration, multi-party signature, etc. If Bitcoin catches on in a big way, these are things we’ll want to explore in the future, but they all had to be designed at the beginning to make sure they would be possible later."

June 22, 2010"Lost coins only make everyone else’s coins worth slightly more. Think of it as a donation to everyone. [...] Computers have to get about 2^200 times faster before that starts to be a problem. Someone with lots of compute power could make more money by generating than by trying to steal."

July 05, 2010"Sorry to be a wet blanket. Writing a description for this thing for general audiences is bloody hard. There's nothing to relate it to."

July 14, 2010"I anticipate there will never be more than 100K nodes, probably less. It will reach an equilibrium where it’s not worth it for more nodes to join in. The rest will be lightweight clients, which could be millions.

At equilibrium size, many nodes will be server farms with one or two network nodes that feed the rest of the farm over a LAN."

July 16, 2010"If you’re requiring more than 0 confirmations, it’s nice if you show the current balance (0 confirmations) and the available balance (1 or more confirmations), so they can immediately see that their payment is acknowledged. Not all sites need to wait for confirmations, so the dual current & available should be optional. Most sites selling digital goods are fine to accept 0 confirmations."

July 17, 2010"The network nodes only accept the first version of a transaction they receive to incorporate into the block they're trying to generate. When you broadcast a transaction, if someone else broadcasts a double-spend at the same time, it's a race to propagate to the most nodes first. If one has a slight head start, it'll geometrically spread through the network faster and get most of the nodes. [...] So if a double-spend has to wait even a second, it has a huge disadvantage."

July 20, 2010"Bitcoin is an implementation of Wei Dai's b-money proposal http://weidai.com/bmoney.txt on Cypherpunks http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cypherpunks in 1998 and Nick Szabo's Bitgold proposal http://unenumerated.blogspot.com/2005/12/bit-gold.html"

July 29, 2010"The current system where every user is a network node is not the intended configuration for large scale. That would be like every Usenet user runs their own NNTP server. The design supports letting users just be users. The more burden it is to run a node, the fewer nodes there will be. Those few nodes will be big server farms. The rest will be client nodes that only do transactions and don’t generate. [...] I outline how a payment processor could verify payments well enough, actually really well (much lower fraud rate than credit cards), in something like 10 seconds or less. If you don’t believe me or don’t get it, I don’t have time to try to convince you, sorry."

August 5, 2010"Forgot to add the good part about micropayments. While I don’t think Bitcoin is practical for smaller micropayments right now, it will eventually be as storage and bandwidth costs continue to fall. If Bitcoin catches on on a big scale, it may already be the case by that time. Another way they can become more practical is if I implement client-only mode and the number of network nodes consolidates into a smaller number of professional server farms. Whatever size micropayments you need will eventually be practical. I think in 5 or 10 years, the bandwidth and storage will seem trivial."

August 7, 2010"It's the same situation as gold and gold mining. The marginal cost of gold mining tends to stay near the price of gold. Gold mining is a waste, but that waste is far less than the utility of having gold available as a medium of exchange.

I think the case will be the same for Bitcoin. The utility of the exchanges made possible by Bitcoin will far exceed the cost of electricity used. Therefore, not having Bitcoin would be the net waste."

August 7, 2010"Proof-of-work has the nice property that it can be relayed through untrusted middlemen. We don’t have to worry about a chain of custody of communication. It doesn’t matter who tells you a longest chain, the proof-of-work speaks for itself."

August 9, 2010"Bitcoin generation should end up where it's cheapest. Maybe that will be in cold climates where there's electric heat, where it would be essentially free."

August 11, 2010"Simple escrow: customer loses, but the thief doesn't get the money either. [...] Imagine someone stole something from you. You can't get it back, but if you could, if it had a kill switch that could be remote triggered, would you do it? Would it be a good thing for thieves to know that everything you own has a kill switch and if they steal it, it'll be useless to them, although you still lose it too? If they give it back, you can re-activate it.

Imagine if gold turned to lead when stolen. If the thief gives it back, it turns to gold again."

August 11, 2010"It would be nice to keep the blk*.dat files small as long as we can.

The eventual solution will be to not care how big it gets.

But for now, while it's still small, it's nice to keep it small so new users can get going faster. When I eventually implement client-only mode, that won't matter much anymore."

August 27, 2010"I think the traditional qualifications for money were written with the assumption that there are so many competing objects in the world that are scarce, an object with the automatic bootstrap of intrinsic value will surely win out over those without intrinsic value. But if there were nothing in the world with intrinsic value that could be used as money, only scarce but no intrinsic value, I think people would still take up something.

(I'm using the word scarce here to only mean limited potential supply)"

September 23, 2010"Bitcoin would be convenient for people who don't have a credit card or don't want to use the cards they have, either don't want the spouse to see it on the bill or don't trust giving their number to "porn guys", or afraid of recurring billing."

September 30, 2010"[...] The article could be as simple as something like:
"Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer decentralised /link/electronic currency/link/."

The more standard Wiki thing to do is that we should have a paragraph in one of the more general categories that we are an instance of, like Electronic Currency or Electronic Cash. We can probably establish a paragraph there. Again, keep it short. Just identifying what it is."

October 3, 2010"Sigh… why delete a wallet instead of moving it aside and keeping the old copy just in case? You should never delete a wallet."

October 4, 2010"It can be phased in, like:

if (blocknumber > 115000)
maxblocksize = largerlimit

It can start being in versions way ahead, so by the time it reaches that block number and goes into effect, the older versions that don't have it are already obsolete.

When we're near the cutoff block number, I can put an alert to old versions to make sure they know they have to upgrade."

October 6, 2010"SVN rev 161 has a refinement to recursively determine if your own unconfirmed transactions can be spent. This is needed because you should be able to spend your own change right away.

The new recursive determination is: 0/unconfirmed can be spent if it's yours and all its dependencies are either in a block or also yours."

December 11, 2010"It would have been nice to get this attention in any other context. WikiLeaks has kicked the hornet's nest, and the swarm is headed towards us."

December 12, 2010"There's more work to do on DoS, but I'm doing a quick build of what I have so far in case it's needed, before venturing into more complex ideas."

Sources

  • Bitcoin whitepaper and annotated paper via Bitcoin.com
  • Bitcoin whitepaper draft version via Gwern.net
  • Original Bitcoin source code from 2009 via github.com/trottier/original-bitcoin
  • Pre-release source code from 2008 via github.com/benjyz/bitcoinArchive
  • All other quotes sourced from mail-archive.com, p2pfoundation.ning.com and bitcointalk.org