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waxwing /
2024-03-18 15:04:57

waxwing on Nostr: Did you ever stop and *really* think about what it means to "do a Satoshi Nakamoto"? ...

Did you ever stop and *really* think about what it means to "do a Satoshi Nakamoto"?

Context for my weird question: I have met many, many bitcoiners over the years. Many of them take a stab at keeping privacy by doing some combo of: not revealing name, not revealing location, not revealing face. Etc. So often, if I happen to meet them in person, they end up revealing the things that they were hiding online. Quite literally a mask came off (pre covid!) once we started drinking - a simple, funny anecdotal example of what I mean. Many complain about photos being taken, many focus on always using a pseudonym. I'm sure most people reading recognize these patterns of behaviour.

I can see the purpose, up to a point, so this is not criticism. It's a little like me doing coinjoin "here and there" - you don't expect to defend yourself against a hyper powerful aggressor, only against a casual criminal looking for an easy score.

But if you do want *real* defence against *strong* attackers, you have a huge problem. These half-measures will be useless, perhaps worse than that, if you get overconfident, because the determined investigator only needs *one* strand to pull on, and the measures I describe above, which are almost always rules only half-stuck to anyway, don't cut it, at all.

Which brings me to my point: is it even possible to "go all the way"? Clearly it is; Satoshi Nakamoto is not the only person who's ever done it, but it's pretty damn rare at the very least.

Imagine what it would mean. If you are engaged in a serious project, that takes let's say at least a year's worth of full time work, then you are going to do that for no reward. Not just, no money, people do that quite often when it comes to things they genuinely enjoy, but no recognition, no social context, not even "oh I won't bother you because I know you're busy with that project". Nobody will say that because nobody will know. Imagine doing a full, intense 8 hour day of work (more likely, split over many days) and knowing that there will *never* be a direct reward of any form, for that. And then doing it again, and again.

What's more, you don't just "not get a reward". You have to do almost double the work, to ensure that at every step, every pushed commit or technical discussion, does not expose anything at the network trace level, or the language, vocabulary etc. Managing tricky pseudonym accounts, handling the headaches of Tor etc. I'm not trying to say it needs super-genius level tech skills, I'm trying to say it's a massive amount of effort.

Could you do that? I daren't even ask the question of myself, because I'm almost sure it's a no. But to *imagine* where that kind of motivation would come from, that's what fascinates me.
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