Former Bitcoin Developer Shares Early Satoshi Nakamoto Emails

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Satoshi Nakamoto is Bitcoin’s anonymous creator and absentee head of state. In the years since she (or he, or they) disappeared into the ether and left the technology in the hands of a few high-profile developers, Nakamoto’s words have become nigh-gospel for some in the Bitcoin world.

On Friday, a user going by “CipherionX” on the Bitcointalk forum published five emails allegedly between Satoshi Nakamoto and former Bitcoin developer Mike Hearn. In an email to Motherboard, Hearn confirmed that he shared the emails with the user. While Hearn himself, who was one of the earliest Bitcoin developers, has previously quoted most of the juicy bits from his correspondence with Nakamoto, it appears to be the first time much of the material has been shared in full. None of the emails are included on a popular database of Nakamoto’s writings collected from old emails and forum posts.

Read More: Why Satoshi Nakamoto Matters

The emails range from 2009 (just months after Nakamoto published the details of Bitcoin for the first time) all the way to 2011, when the anonymous creator sent their now-legendary goodbye note to Hearn: “I’ve moved on to other things. It’s in good hands with Gavin [Andresen] and everyone.”

Even if some of the best quotes are well-known in the community after being published by Hearn in piecemeal, it’s still pretty interesting to read how Nakamoto took the time to answer Hearn’s many detailed questions about Bitcoin.

For example, in one email dated April 12, 2009, Hearn posed a question about how the system could handle billions of global transactions. Nakamoto seems to have believed that Bitcoin could one day become a worldwide payment system like Visa.

“The existing Visa credit card network processes about 15 million Internet purchases per day worldwide,” Nakamoto wrote to Hearn in April of 2009. “Bitcoin can already scale much larger than that with existing hardware for a fraction of the cost.”

Hearn wrote me in an email that he shared the emails with the Bitcointalk user simply because they asked, and there’s not much more to it than that. Hearn gave up his post as one of Bitcoin’s earliest and best-respected developers last year when he exited the space entirely and declared the community too toxic to work in. He’s now developing a blockchain-based finance tool called Corda.

“I am no longer in the Bitcoin space,” Hearn wrote me in an email. And just like Satoshi Nakamoto all those years ago, he’s “moved on to other things.”

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