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My first message to Satoshi...

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#1 Gavin Andresen

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 05:27 PM

I thought I'd share this fun little bit of history: this is the first message I ever sent to Satoshi on June 12, 2010:

Quote

Hey Satoshi:
I want to help make Bitcoin a success.  I've started by creating freebitcoins.appspot.com, and plan on doing a couple of other small projects like it.

But I think I might be able to help in lots of other ways.  I was the chief architect of the VRML 3D-graphics-on-the-web standardization effort (which is STILL a solution in search of a problem, unfortunately), and had the unpleasant experience of taking it through the ISO standardization process.


I've also written a lot of C++ code (I'm very proud of the code I wrote as part of the Open Inventor team at Silicon Graphics), although it's been a while (I've switched to Python).

I'm very curious to hear more about you-- how old are you?  Is Satoshi your real name?  Do you have a day job?  What projects have you been involved with before?

Anyway, Bitcoin is a brilliant idea, and I want to help.  What do you need?
He replied with "Great to have you!" but never told me his age, real name, projects he worked on before or day job...

#2 Mike Hearn

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Posted 20 December 2012 - 05:58 PM

Fun. Here's mine, 12th April 2009. Back then the only documentation was the white paper and hardly anyone had explored the code, so a lot of my questions were very newbie-ish. Also I capitalized Bitcoin wrong.










Hi Satoshi,

I read your paper on BitCoin with great interest. I found it a bit
confusing though - I believe it may be easier to follow if you provide
some examples.

Specifically, it's not quite clear to me what blocks contain. If I
understand correctly, there is only one (or maybe a few) global
chain[s] into which all transactions are hashed. If there is only one
chain recording "the story of the economy" so to speak, how does this
scale? In an imaginary planet-wide deployment there would be millions
of even billions of transactions per hour being hashed into the chain.
I realize that each PoW can wrap many transactions in one block,
nonetheless, that's a large amount of data to hash. If there are many
chains, how are transactions assigned to each chain such that it is
still difficult to overpower the network? Eg, if there are 10 global
chains, the amount of cpu power you need to beat the system is only
10% of what it was previously.

I also wonder if the assumption of 1 core = 1 vote is sound. If the
majority of nodes are on standard computers, it seems likely that an
attacker could use FPGA or custom ASICs to get significantly better
performance. What are your thoughts on using custom hardware to beat
the chain?

I found the section on incentives hard to follow. In particular, I'm
not clear on what triggers the transition from minting new coins as a
reason to run a node, to charging transaction fees (isn't the point of
BitCoin largely to zero transaction costs anyway?). Presumably there's
some human in charge of the system - eg, you decided somehow that 24
million coins was a good number to have, and would distribute some
kind of rules file saying "coins minted after this timestamp must have
an N+1 zero bits prefix", which honest nodes enforce.

How did you decide on the inflation schedule for v1? Where did 24
million coins come from? What denominations are these coins? You
mention a way to combine and split value but I'm not clear on how this
works. For instance are bitcoins always denominated by an integer or
can you have fractional bitcoins?

So many questions :) But it's rare that I encounter truly
revolutionary ideas. The last time I was this excited about a new
monetary scheme was when I discovered Ripple. If you have any thoughts
on Ripple, I'd also love to hear them.

thanks -mike











#3 Jon Matonis

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 11:04 AM

Thanks for sharing that, Gavin and Mike. It made me go back and look for my Satoshi correspondence, which unfortunately has been purged except for my last email from Satoshi on 4th March 2010. We went back and forth a bit on how bitcoin was an evolution over issuing mint functionality like Chaum's DigiCash and on what I could do to promote the protocol effort because we shared a lot of similar contacts from the "early" days. I am attaching it here partly so I don't misplace it again.


--- On Thu, 3/4/10, Satoshi Nakamoto <[email protected]> wrote:

From: Satoshi Nakamoto <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: Introduction
To: "Jon Matonis" <[email protected]>
Date: Thursday, March 4, 2010, 9:55 PM

Nice blog.  That's the first I've seen that focuses on this subject.  I wish there was something like that when I originally researched this three years ago, there was scant to nothing back then.  I think I'll be a regular reader.

Bitcoin would be right up your alley.  Its advantage is that it's P2P. There isn't a central mint or company running it.  As long as there are users, it survives.

I'm sure you've already found the FAQ and Forum at bitcoin.org.

The logo is here:
http://www.bitcoin.o....php?topic=64.0

Was there anything particular you were interested in?

#4 Maciej J. Bańkowski

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 02:23 PM

View PostMike Hearn, on 20 December 2012 - 05:58 PM, said:

Fun. Here's mine, 12th April 2009. Back then the only documentation was the white paper and hardly anyone had explored the code, so a lot of my questions were very newbie-ish. Also I capitalized Bitcoin wrong.

Mike, you have raised some very important questions in your email.
What was Satoshi's response?

#5 Georg Engelmann

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Posted 22 December 2012 - 03:22 PM

I'd like to see the email headers.

#6 Brian Goss

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 03:28 AM

View PostMaciej J. Bańkowski, on 22 December 2012 - 02:23 PM, said:



Mike, you have raised some very important questions in your email.
What was Satoshi's response?
Mike -- yeah...those questions were _ridiculously_ insightful...what did he say? How would you answer them now?  Any other crazy wise insights you'd care to share?

#7 Mike Hearn

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 08:49 PM

The questions were all about topics that were long since documented or resolved. So there isn't much in his response that is interesting by todays standards. Here it is anyway.


Hi Mike,

I'm glad to answer any questions you have.  If I get time, I ought to write a FAQ to supplement the paper.

There is only one global chain.

The existing Visa credit card network processes about 15 million Internet purchases per day worldwide.  Bitcoin can already scale much larger than that with existing hardware for a fraction of the cost.  It never really hits a scale ceiling.  If you're interested, I can go over the ways it would cope with extreme size.

By Moore's Law, we can expect hardware speed to be 10 times faster in 5 years and 100 times faster in 10.  Even if Bitcoin grows at crazy adoption rates, I think computer speeds will stay ahead of the number of transactions.

I don't anticipate that fees will be needed anytime soon, but if it becomes too burdensome to run a node, it is possible to run a node that only processes transactions that include a transaction fee.  The owner of the node would decide the minimum fee they'll accept.  Right now, such a node would get nothing, because nobody includes a fee, but if enough nodes did that, then users would get faster acceptance if they include a fee, or slower if they don't.  The fee the market would settle on should be minimal.  If a node requires a higher fee, that node would be passing up all transactions with lower fees.  It could do more volume and probably make more money by processing as many paying transactions as it can.  The transition is not controlled by some human in charge of the system though, just individuals reacting on their own to market forces.

Eventually, most nodes may be run by specialists with multiple GPU cards.  For now, it's nice that anyone with a PC can play without worrying about what video card they have, and hopefully it'll stay that way for a while.  More computers are shipping with fairly decent GPUs these days, so maybe later we'll transition to that.

A key aspect of Bitcoin is that the security of the network grows as the size of the network and the amount of value that needs to be protected grows.  The down side is that it's vulnerable at the beginning when it's small, although the value that could be stolen should always be smaller than the amount of effort required to steal it.  If someone has other motives to prove a point, they'll just be proving a point I already concede.

My choice for the number of coins and distribution schedule was an educated guess.  It was a difficult choice, because once the network is going it's locked in and we're stuck with it.  I wanted to pick something that would make prices similar to existing currencies, but without knowing the future, that's very hard.  I ended up picking something in the middle.  If Bitcoin remains a small niche, it'll be worth less per unit than existing currencies.  If you imagine it being used for some fraction of world commerce, then there's only going to be 21 million coins for the whole world, so it would be worth much more per unit.  Values are 64-bit integers with 8 decimal places, so 1 coin is represented internally as 100000000.  There's plenty of granularity if typical prices become small.  For example, if 0.001 is worth 1 Euro, then it might be easier to change where the decimal point is displayed, so if you had 1 Bitcoin it's now displayed as 1000, and 0.001 is displayed as 1.

Ripple is interesting in that it's the only other system that does something with trust besides concentrate it into a central server.

#8 Kyle Jerviss

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 04:24 AM

I don't talk about this much, but I actually wrote a letter to Satoshi back in the Winter of 2008.  Sadly, I can't find a copy of the original letter, since I gave it to my mom to put in the mail, but it was roughly like this:

Dear Satoshi,

This year for Christmas, I would like a new bike and a baseball glove.  My stupid little sister wants a pony, but I think she'd be happy with just another stupid doll.

Kyle
Age 6

P.S.  Last year, I checked my stocking twice, and I didn't find the decentralized p2p electronic currency system that I had asked for.  I hope you don't forget it again this year.

#9 Georg Engelmann

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 11:12 AM

View PostKyle Jerviss, on 27 December 2012 - 04:24 AM, said:

I don't talk about this much, but I actually wrote a letter to Satoshi back in the Winter of 2008.  Sadly, I can't find a copy of the original letter, since I gave it to my mom to put in the mail, but it was roughly like this:

You found Bitcoin before it actually started?

#10 Lorenzo Petrone

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 12:28 PM

Satoshi Claus

#11 Piotr Piasecki (ThePiachu)

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:38 AM

Too bad Satoshi left the Bitcoin scene before I had the chance to talk with him. Oh well. I just hope he read my acknowledgements to him in my master thesis:

Quote

Finally, I would like to thank Satoshi Nakamoto, whoever you really are, for changing
the world with your project. Hopefully your vision of free money will one day come true.


#12 Enrique Delgado

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:58 PM

There is only one thing that fascinates me more than the concept and underlying technology, "The story".
It'll make a great movie one day or get a reporter killed.

I suspect "Finding Satoshi" will not get made anytime soon. But, when it does, I'm going to the premiere. Truth is stranger than fiction.

Just glad, he, she, them or it... are white hats with altruistic intentions (I hope).

#13 Brian Goss

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 06:06 AM

I can't imagine he would be _that_ hard to find. There's just no incentive for anyone to really try. Why would someone waste their time trying to find someone who doesn't want to be found?

#14 Lorenzo Petrone

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 02:20 PM

View PostBrian Goss, on 25 February 2013 - 06:06 AM, said:

I can't imagine he would be _that_ hard to find. There's just no incentive for anyone to really try. Why would someone waste their time trying to find someone who doesn't want to be found?
Curiosity.
That's a strong incentive.

#15 Alex Bogdan Semenciuc

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 02:14 AM

Nice read, I wish Satoshi all the best wherever he is.

#16 Brian Goss

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Posted 02 March 2013 - 02:08 AM

I don't know if anyone really cares to find him (I don't), but I strongly suspect he was present at the scientific meeting that was incorrectly formatted in the reference section of his white paper. You only cite like that if you were there...and you basically only go to meetings like that if its nearby or you are presenting... real nerds know that!

It should take less than 8 hours in a good library to compile a short list of names with Satoshi's identity on it.

#17 Mike Hearn

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 07:36 PM

Which meeting? All I see in the references sections are papers.

#18 Brian Goss

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 10:44 PM

View PostMike Hearn, on 03 March 2013 - 07:36 PM, said:

Which meeting? All I see in the references sections are papers.
#2, the Benelux one.

#19 Brian Goss

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Posted 11 March 2013 - 08:52 PM

View PostBrian Goss, on 04 March 2013 - 10:44 PM, said:


#2, the Benelux one.
Nevermind. Someone on the Bitcoin talk forum pointed out that it's pre formatted wrong on common citation  management programs.