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Quick Review: The Book of Satoshi

Op-ed - Quick Review: The Book of Satoshi

Earlier this year, Phil Champagne released a book called the Book of Satoshi.

Phil is the managing director of Wren Investment Group and has a background in computer software and electrical engineering. The Book of Satoshi presents the most relevant discussions in which the creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, participated.

The beginning chapters introduce the idea of Bitcoin and mining, how and why it works, and a brief introduction to cryptographic concepts behind it. All of the terms necessary to understand the majority of the book are clarified in these chapters. After the informative intro, the first ever post about Bitcoin by Satoshi Nakamoto is presented.

In the rest of the book, the rest of Satoshi’s most relevant posts and email conversations are provided in chronological order; on many of them Satoshi addresses concerns of the early readers of the posts on different topics, ranging from questions on mining to the formation of the current Bitcoin logo. Satoshi provides his view of the technological and economic implications of Bitcoin throughout the forum posts.

Preceding each chapter is a brief summary of the post contained in it, putting it into proper context for the reader. This helps unravel the tale of the continuous development of bitcoin technology. As the book progresses, the timeline of Bitcoin’s early growth and development seems to come together; at the end of the book, the original whitepaper that introduced Bitcoin to the world is presented. I found this to be a clever place to insert the paper. After revisiting the paper, I realized that the book as a whole allowed me to more thoroughly understand its intricacies. Overall, the book provides information that readers from any professional background can get something from.

The Book of Satoshi’s pseudo-encyclopedic structure allows the reader to jump across different topics depending on the info they’re seeking. After reading the book, it becomes clear what Satoshi wanted to fulfill with Bitcoin: a system that attempts to free individuals from the many problems inherent in our broken financial system.

By the time the reader completes The Book of Satoshi, he or she will be considerably more knowledgeable about many aspects of Bitcoin. The most asked concerns about bitcoin technology will be fresh in their mind; this calls for great conversation starters about the technology.

To conclude, here is an excerpt contained in the book from a forum post in August 27, 2010, in which Satoshi attempted to clarify the function of Bitcoin currency by providing a small thought experiment.

“As a thought experiment, imagine there was a base metal scarce as gold but with the following properties:

  • boring grey in colour
  • not a good conductor of electricity
  • not particularly strong, but not ductile or easily malleable either
  • not useful for any practical or ornamental purpose

and one special, magical property:

  • can be transported over a communications channel

If it somehow acquired any value at all for whatever reason, then anyone wanting to transfer wealth over a long distance could buy some, transmit it, and have the recipient sell it….”

This is Bitcoin.

The book website is here.