12 years ago, on 31 October 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto published a white paper on bitcoin, a document describing the „digital peering cash system“.
Interestingly, Satoshi Nakamoto registered bitcoin.org on 18 August 2008, more than a month before the white paper was published. He used the domain to host a PDF version of the whitepaper. Today, the bitcoin whitepaper is posted on more than 740 websites and is cited in more than 12,425 scientific articles – this was noted by the developer Jameson Lopp.
Initially, white paper did not generate much interest. Two days after publication, cryptographer James Donald was the first to respond to Satoshi’s message on the cryptography mailing list. And his comment was much less enthusiastic than, for example, Jack Dorsey’s words about the „beauty“ of white paper:
We really and really need this system, but as far as I understand your proposal, it is not scalable to the right size.
In order for the tokens that are passed on to have value, they must have value in monetary terms. In order to have a monetary value, they must be on a very large network – for example, a file trading network like bittorrent.
In order to detect and reject double spending in a timely manner, everyone must have a majority of past coin transactions, which is naively implemented and requires that every pirate has a majority of past transactions or a majority of past transactions that have occurred recently. If hundreds of millions of people make transactions, that is a lot of bandwidth – everyone has to know all or a lot of data.
Satoshi received several comments from people who doubted the future of the bitcoin concept. Hal Finney was the first one to support Nakamoto and later made a significant contribution to the development of bitcoin. He wrote a week after the white paper was published:
Bitcoin seems to be a very promising idea. I like the idea of basing security on the assumption that the CPU power of honest participants exceeds that of the attacker. It is a very modern concept that uses the power of the „long tail“ concept. I didn’t think Wikipedia was promising when it came out, but it became successful for the same reasons.