Death of Satoshi

In the recent months, the Bitcoin community is discussing probably the most controversial issue the project has faced thus far - whether or not to increase the block size. This debate is hastened more and more by various "stress tests" that involve spamming the Bitcoin network. Among some of the arguments for and against the proposed changes you can hear people repeatedly mentioning "Satoshi's vision" (1, 2, 3) as a justification for their position. Is it perhaps time for us to stop appealing to the authority and start to forge our own path forwards?

What Would Satoshi Do?

Satoshi "Cyberchrist" Nakamoto

It seems that a lot of people have set out to save all of Satoshi's posts and quotes. The day he left his last post is remembered. Despite being gone from the Bitcoin community for almost 5 years, Satoshi's ideas seem to carry a lot of weight. This looks like early stages of religion with a gospel, rather than a technology revolution.

Satoshi was (most likely) a single person. As it goes with all people, nobody knows everything, nor can foresee exactly how the future will unfold. Trying to discern whether we should or shouldn't increase the block size can be viewed akin to divination.

Satoshi might've been visionary to create Bitcoin and code it, but lets not forget all the other developers that followed in his footsteps and took over when he left.

The "other" developers

The Bitcoin Core software has been developed over the years by a group of about 5 core developers, depending on how you count, and over 300 contributors. There are many talented developers and cryptographers working on the Bitcoin and related technologies, such as Vitalik Buterin or David Schwartz.

A famous photo of some of the top people involved in Bitcoin. Some speculate one of them might be Satoshi. More info.

To belittle their contribution to the project and the Bitcoin ecosystem as a whole in favour of someone that has been gone for a majority of Bitcoin's history by now is a major disservice. Even if we assume Satoshi was the smartest, most talented and most experienced developer to contribute to Bitcoin, he is still just one person.

The Death of Satoshi

In literature, one can set out to interpret a given text in two ways. First, by the intent of the works' author and what they themselves ascribe to the piece they created, and second, by reading the text on its own without considering who the author was or what they intended the text to be about. The latter is known as "The Death of the Author".

Perhaps when discussing how the Bitcoin software should be developed, we should assume the death of the author and move forward forging our own path?

I know this view might be hard for some people, after all, constitution worship and apologetics seem to be quite prevalent in some of the top countries using Bitcoin and it would be all too easy to use the same approach for Bitcoin. However, as we move forward into the future, Satoshi's posts and views will be more and more out of touch with the present day and we can't constantly go back and try to interpret meanings from them to solve all of our problems...


While Satoshi was a smart person for having came up with the idea of Bitcoin, we have to sooner or later move on to plan for the road ahead, rather than constantly look backwards.


  1. For fuck's sake, stop all this intellectual masturbation, and JUST GET BEHIND AN INCREASE THE BLOCKSIZE ALREADY, there is already working code out there.

    The deliberate spam attacks already prove that this is needed. What if, in the near to mid-term future, there is a REAL non-stop spam attack (by government players or, more realistically, saboteurs who went short BTC) ? Would any of those fancy-schmancy sidechain lightning-network blah-blah-blah ideas that have yet to implemented even have a chance of working then??

  2. Excellent points----I agree completely----Hail Satoshi and goodbye.