Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin White Paper: A 12-Year Old Summary of Robust Unstructured Simplicity

Cryptocurrency supporters all around the world are celebrating the fact that today is the 12th anniversary of the Bitcoin white paper, a summary of the invention created by the pseudonymous inventor Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin’s inventor published the paper on’s Cryptography Mailing list and ever since then, the financial world hasn’t been the same.

12 years ago, Satoshi Nakamoto decided to let the world in on Bitcoin, the peer-to-peer electronic cash system that took the world by storm. The very first time Nakamoto published the paper was at 2:10 p.m. Eastern Standard, on There’s a lot we don’t know about Bitcoin’s inventor and to this day the anonymous creator’s identity is still unknown. However, we do know that Nakamoto was a legendary genius and could have been a single person or even a group of people.

Bitcoin’s inventor specifically chose to publish the “Bitcoin P2P e-cash paper” paper on mainly because of the Cryptography Mailing list, a pipermail message service that was operated by a group of visionaries and cypherpunks.

The cypherpunks had been trying to create reliable digital money since the 1990s and several experiments like Wei Dai’s b money circulated on the message service. We also know that Satoshi wrote the codebase for Bitcoin before the famous white paper was published.

Then on October 31, 2008, on the eve of Halloween, Satoshi wrote:

I’ve been working on a new electronic cash system that’s fully peer-to-peer, with no trusted third party.

The system Nakamoto created, has given birth to a massive counter-economy worth close to $400 billion, just in the market capitalization of all 7,000+ cryptocurrencies alone. Since the paper was first introduced, it has been cited 12,425 times to-date and mentioned in tens of thousands of articles during the last 12 years. Minus the paper’s citations, the Bitcoin white paper is 3,457 words in length and is…

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