§1.00 — On November 1, 2008, ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ introduced his “Bitcoin P2P e-cash paper” in an email to The Cryptography Mailing List:*
I’ve been working on a new electronic cash system that’s fully peer-to-peer, with no trusted third party.
The paper is available at: http://www.bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf
The main properties:
Double-spending is prevented with a peer-to-peer network.
No mint or other trusted parties.
Participants can be anonymous.
New coins are made from Hashcash style proof-of-work.
The proof-of-work for new coin generation also powers the network to prevent double-spending.
§1.01 — There is a future, perhaps even a probable one, in which this short text – of just 64 words – has the status of a Pre-Socratic fragment, at least, minutely examined by multiple philosophical schools, determined to extract every last micro-flicker of its significance. In this obscurely envisaged culture to come, these words compose an intricate sign of what is about to arrive, not only caught in the final moment before the shift, but self-identified as a spark – intimately linked to the spark – from which the shift came. It is trawled up from the other edge, where an accumulation of techno-cultural reaction mass is about to go nova. Caught at the very lip of the reaction pile, it is a piece of critical code.
§1.011 — Were the virtual catastrophe to be even greater than it imaginably could be, so that only the first sentence had survived – time-charred by the sheer magnitude of the event – it would still suffice as a compact summary of our entire topic, and as the germ of an intelligible retro-futural tradition. Just seventeen words now, and yet almost everything is still said, arranged in accordance with a distinct internal structure that divides neatly into three parts.
* ‘Bitcoin P2P e-cash paper’ (2008/11/01)