"WikiLeaks threw the nest of hornets and the swarm went to us." On these 13 words, Satoshi Nakamoto went into oblivion, leaving behind a series of unanswered questions that would surround his disappearance. This disturbing message was to prove his penultimate message on the forum, sent a day before his final entry. What happened to put WikiLeaks in the line of sight of the creator of Bitcoin?
Read also: History of Bitcoin Part 18: The first bitcoin wallet
Wikileaks illuminates Bitcoin
Satoshi's words bore such a presentiment that many thought they meant writing on the wall; a sign that Nakamoto's mandate as a Bitcoin personality had come to an inevitable end. His remark that Wikileaks had "hit the hornet's nest" suggested that the controversial whistleblower website might turn into bitcoin, after the US government forced companies like Visa, Mastercard and Paypal to block the organization. According to a previous article by Satoshi, the bitcoin project had to "develop gradually so that the software can be strengthened along the way," and the association with Wikileaks intervened too early in its development.
Disoriented Julian Assange attempts to fight extradition to the United States In the UK courts, after claiming to have achieved a return on bitcoin of 50,000% in the years following the demise of Satoshi, it is interesting to revisit this period – December 2010 – when Satoshi's retirement began and the Wikileaks investment in Bitcoin began to be seriously discussed. It was a real turning point in the road, important not only for the history of bitcoin, but also for state surveillance and for those who would like to get their money's worth.
The man who kicked the nest of hornets
You may be wondering why the founder of Bitcoin was so worried about the news that Wikileaks was looking to raise funds using the decentralized payment system. After all, bitcoin was designed to bypass gatekeepers and eliminate the need for a central authority – and this was a perfect use case to prove its merits.
In reply Satoshi told a forum member touting Bitcoin's embrace by Wikileaks, published exactly one week before its publication on the forum, and said: "No, do not do it" … Bitcoin is a small beta community that is in its infancy. You would not want to get more than money in your pocket, and the heat you would bring would probably destroy us at this point. "
The problem was very clear, as Satoshi saw it: the government's undesirable interest in the emerging digital currency was the last thing it needed at that time. And as just about every payment gateway refused to process donations to Wikileaks, Julian Assange's solicitation of donations by bitcoin seemed like a matter of time. Satoshi wanted to at least discourage such an approach – and he told Assange, as told in a Reddit 2014 Ask Me Anything Session (AMA) and also in his book "When Google meets WikiLeaks":
WikiLeaks has read and accepted Satoshi's analysis and has decided to postpone the launch of a Bitcoin donation channel until the currency is better established. The WikiLeaks donation speech in Bitcoins was released after the first big currency boom on June 14, 2011.
It is interesting to note that the besieged organization paved the way for bitcoin donations just two months after Satoshi's last correspondence – a E-mail to the collaborator Gavin Andresen.
The rest, as they say, belongs to the story: Wikileaks received tens of millions of dollars in bitcoins between 2011 and 2018 (the exact figure is still disputed), Assange spent years at the Embassy from Ecuador to London before being stopped, in the absence of Satoshi, Bitcoin had to hit a lot more nests of hornets to emerge, each time, louder.
Bitcoin History is a multi-part series of news.Bitcoin.com depicting the crucial moments in the evolution of the world's first and best cryptocurrency. Read part 18 here.
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