The legend of Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin, has reached nearly mythical proportions. At a time when the world was reeling from financial crisis after financial crisis, this unknown, unassuming man introduced a radical idea: what if instead of depending on governments — and the men and women who run them — to determine our financial fate, we could find a technological solution? A solution that defies convention: a cryptographically secure digital currency that can be trusted because it is trustless, that can be stable because it is digital, and that was created by man but isn’t beholden to man’s whims. Initially Satoshi was ignored, ridiculed, and dismissed, but that only deepens the mythology behind the man. Despite these obstacles, his solution — Bitcoin — has become a legitimate currency that has the potential to change the world of economics and finance forever.
Satoshi’s mysterious disappearance a few years ago only heightens the fervor surrounding him. Within the Bitcoin community, if someone can show Satoshi’s support for his ideas, then he is sure to get widespread acceptance. Likewise, any effort to change one of Satoshi’s fundamental principles — such as the 21 million bitcoins money supply — is sure to be rejected with extreme prejudice. This widespread devotion to Satoshi has been largely beneficial to Bitcoin, for devotion to Satoshi usually means devotion to his vision. But like any devotion, it can be misapplied, and what appears to be faithfulness to Satoshi’s ideas can actually become a deviation from them. Bitcoin is in danger of this happening right now.