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Did Steve Jobs invent Bitcoin?


US tech blogger and XOXO Festival co-founder Andy Baio appears to have unearthed an inexplicable Mac quirk that has netizens wondering if the late Steve Jobs could be the mysterious Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto.

In a blog post earlier this month, Baio revealed that he had accidentally stumbled upon a copy of Satoshi Nakamoto’s bitcoin white paper on his Mac, and that the pdf appears to have shipped with every every copy of macOS since Mojave in 2018.

Twitter users have been testing Baio’s theory, and it seems to stand up, including a, admittedly small sample-sized, check on the Air currently writing this story. If you want to check for yourself, find the document “simple document” by navigating to MacIntosh HD/System/Library/Image/Capture/Devices/”.

The white paper is entitled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” and was published in 2008. In it, the author lays out the framework for the underlying mechanisms that power bitcoin and enable transactions without a third party intermediary like a bank or financial institution.

Crypto blogger and YouTuber Lark Davis was among the first to make the Jobs/Nakamoto link, pointing out that the elusive Bitcoin creator Nakamoto fell silent online in December 2010, shortly before Jobs took medical leave from Apple in January of 2011 before passing away after a long battle with cancer in October.

His poll on the matter currently stands with 28.3 per cent supporting his theory that Jobs is the secretive crypto trailblazer, while 37.9 per cent disagree and the remaining 33.9 per cent maintain it “doesn’t matter”.

The presence of the unusual file certainly isn’t proof of anything. There’s no suggestion that Jobs was an avid crypto enthusiast while he was alive, and nor was he an expert programmer. In fact both of those descriptions could be better applied to his Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, so perhaps we should be looking there for Nakamoto’s identity.

Others have pointed out that the Bitcoin template was created at the same time as Jobs was busy designing the original iPhone, and that even a genius like Jobs may struggle with creating two such game-changing inventions simultaneoeusly.

Nakamoto detectives have also pointed out that the mysterious Bitcoin creator usually used British English in his onlien postings, not something Jobs was known for.

Furthermore, it’s not a great leap of the imagination to suspect that somewhere within the Apple team there could be a crypto evangelist who slotted the white paper into our Macs as an Easter egg to liven up a slow day’s programming at Apple HQ.

On the other side of the debate, unsurprisingly given his nom de plume, Nakamoto has long been asssumed to be either Japanese, or perhaps thanks to his apparent native-level English use a lover of Japanese culture. Jobs was a well-known Japanophile – he went to Japan’s Soto School of Zen Buddhism, visited Sony’s factories in Japan in the 80s and adopted some of their methods and took each of his children on trips to Kyoto, which he also visited solo several times.

“Craig Wright,” an earlier assumed identity of Satoshi, said that he had a mentor while creating the first cryptocurrency. The identity of this individual was never revealed, but would presumably be some kind of tech guru, such as, say, Steve Jobs.

There’s no doubt that the presence of the Bitcoin document on seemingly every Mac to have shipped for at least the last five years is intriguing, but beyond that it’s all just speculation. If nothing else, you now know you have a nine page introduction to cryptocurrency lurking on your hard drive should you need to pass a lonely lunch hour.

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