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14 Facts about the Bitcoin White Paper

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Whitepaper is a document describing the main features and technical specifications of a particular cryptocurrency or blockchain project.

Link to PDF document

Interesting facts about Bitcoin Whitepaper

  1. Bitcoin’s White Paper, consists of 2,736 words! It is shorter than the “Great Charter of Liberties” (3,550 words), the U.S. Constitution (4,543 words), and the latest U.S. infrastructure bill (2,700 pages). The average book contains between 70,000 and 120,000 words.
  2. The white paper generated MORE discussion upon publication! The moderators of the cypherpunk mailing list even intervened in the discussion, asking Satoshi to take his ideas and incessant conversations elsewhere.
  3. The first public supporter of Bitcoin was Hal Finney, but he didn’t respond to the email until a week after publication, on November 7. All this time, Satoshi has been dealing with critics of his work!
  4. The word “Bitcoin” appears only 2 times in the entire document and both times only in the title. It is believed that the name “Bitcoin” came to Satoshi late in the creation process. There is evidence that some of the variants were “Electronic Cash” and “Netcoin”
  5. Satoshi started writing the Bitcoin code long before he wrote the technical document for it. In one of his posts, he mentioned that he worked on the code for 2 years before the white paper was published.
  6. There is no word “blockchain” in the document. In describing the protocol, Satoshi used the name “Timestamp server” noting its function (keeping time for the network).
  7. Satoshi saw Bitcoin as an alternative to the “mint-based model” used in older digital monetary systems. This is a reference to previous work such as David Chaum’s DigiCash, which was not peer-to-peer. Rather, the network was divided into two tiers: banks and users.
  8. The most common word in the bitcoin white paper is “block”. It is used 48 times. Blocks are packets of transactions that have been time-stamped on the Bitcoin blockchain.
  9. The Bitcoin white paper includes 8 references to other works, including digital money projects such as B-money by Wei Dai and Hashcash by Adam Back. Back is the only cryptographer mentioned who is still actively contributing to Bitcoin.
  10. The official document states that “processor power” is used to generate blocks. It would not be correct (but not wrong) to say that today. Most of the generation is done by specialized computers – ASICs. They provide the “processing power” that the network needs to operate.
  11. Developers are no longer working on one of the items in the Bitcoin white paper. In the document, Satoshi makes the first “scaling proposal” for Bitcoin, called Simple Payment Verification. Later, the developers abandoned it due to its non-viability.
  12. After a series of legal attacks, the Bitcoin white paper is now posted on websites around the world, including those of the U.S. government and the City of Miami. The document is in the public domain and can be freely posted online.
  13. Since its publication, developers have kept a list of known issues in Satoshi’s document, as well as making notes about changes in terminology and how Bitcoin’s implementation differs from what he described in the white paper.
  14. The first site to host bitcoin’s technical documentation, bitcoin.org still holds the original document. It is now available in over 40 languages worldwide and anyone can go there and read it.
14 Facts about the Bitcoin White Paper

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