April 5th: Happy Birthday to Bitcoin Founder Satoshi Nakamoto
The world does not know much about Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious figure (or group) that created Bitcoin. Nakamoto deliberately kept identifying information a secret. While Nakamoto did not reveal much about their identity, many believe the illustrious founder left “eggs” for the community to find, including a “birthday,” April 5th.
Nakamoto listed April 5th as their birthday. Interestingly, April 5th is also the day that, in 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 6102 to seize gold from American citizens.
April 5th, 1933 – the day the U.S. set to confiscate gold
EO6102 was an Executive Order that the Federal Reserve addressed to everyone living in the United States at the time. The decision aimed to prevent the hoarding of gold and eliminate constraints on the Federal Reserve amidst an economic depression.
The government forced people to deliver gold coins, bullion, and certificates to the Federal Reserve. Further, the government added a firm deadline of May 1, 1993. In exchange, they received around $414 USD (adjusted for inflation) per troy ounce.
The decision remains contentious to this day, with many citing the event as an example of government overreach. Many are also critical of the harsh consequences for individuals that did not follow the executive order, as failing to comply was punishable by up to $197,000 USD (adjusted for inflation) and/or up to ten years in prison.
It seems to be no coincidence that the “founding father” of Bitcoin (sometimes referred to as digital gold) chose the day that the acting president signed Executive Order 6102 as a “birthday.” In many ways, the event is symbolic of Bitcoin’s origin and its overall intention.
Digital gold: Bitcoin as a store of value
The asset most directly comparable to Bitcoin is gold, and it is clear that Satoshi Nakamoto took inspiration from gold’s usage as a store of value. While several key differences separate gold and Bitcoin, both share many similarities.
Like gold, Bitcoin has a finite supply. Just as miners will mine the world’s gold supply one day, it will eventually be impossible to ‘mine’ more bitcoin. This will leave a total of slightly under 21 million bitcoin created in total. The destruction or loss of Bitcoin also lowers the spendable supply as those coins can never re-enter the economy.
One factor separating gold and bitcoin is that no one knows how much gold is left on Earth. While finite, miners often find new gold stores in different locations. With Bitcoin it is easy to observe how much miners have mined and how much miners can still create.
Currently, miners have mined 3/4ths of all bitcoin. However, calculations show the supply will not run out until around 2140 due to the block creation rate continually halving.
Where advocates praise Bitcoin is with its ability to deliver an electronic store of value, as bitcoin’s limited supply and underlying blockchain technology allow for a form of value storage that is outside of the reach of governing figures.
Celebrating the day Satoshi Nakamoto was “born”
While Satoshi Nakamoto has long since stepped away from Bitcoin and left the platform entirely in the hands of the community, the mysterious figure will forever remain an iconic part of Bitcoin’s legacy.
The idea behind many digital currencies is decentralization, meaning Bitcoin is not the property of its creators, but instead the property of its users. The platform continues to change and adapt in the absence of its original inventor. With the world watching, Bitcoin’s future is anyone’s guess.
What’s clear is that Satoshi Nakamoto delivered a store of value theoretically free from manipulation, intermediaries, and even governments.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons
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