Part of understanding the history behind Bitcoin is understanding what didn’t contribute to it. In his latest Medium article, “Bit Gold is Not BitCoin”, nChain Chief Scientist Dr. Craig Wright comments on Bit Gold, Nick Szabo’s attempt at a futuristic currency, and how it is nothing like Bitcoin.
Wright, who has proven without a doubt to CoinGeek that he was the main architect of Bitcoin, and conceived and used the pseudonymous name of Satoshi Nakamoto, can talk about the origins of Bitcoin with confidence. Bit Gold does not even share the same economic vision, and doesn’t show a strong understanding of the precious metal it gains its name from. Third parties were often called on to be part of the gold system, and ended up controlling it. He writes, “The standard metal value could easily be weighed. In fact, even when a coin had been stamped, merchants would weigh gold coins.”
Wright notes that, although Bit Gold on a very surface level seems reminiscent of Bitcoin, it very much wasn’t. “The way Bit Gold worked, if you can even argue it worked for it never did, was in many ways the opposite of the way Bitcoin would work,” he says. He goes on to explain why, as well:
“We start with a challenge string. There is no challenge string in Bitcoin. The concept of proof-of-work (PoW) was not new. The earliest variance of it goes back to the 90s, and Hal Finney’s replaceable proof-of-work system was one that functioned and was coded well. So in bit gold, a user creates their own PoW. They send it off to be registered and timestamped.”
He also comments on Bit Gold’s system of allowing users to create their own money, by also creating their own POW. “Individuals don’t run nodes in Bitcoin,” he notes. “Miners validate transfers between individuals. Szabo sought a system that was far closer to Wei Dai’s b-money than to Bitcoin. Because Bitcoin is not anything like it.”
Wright fears that some may have been fooled into believing in a link between bit gold and Bitcoin, simply because they never really took the time to understand what the latter really was. Szabo’s concept, which lacks so many of the distinct characteristics of what Bitcoin would grow to be, simply didn’t work and never offered the promise to work well. Wright concludes, “He has basically written a false concept and misled people into believing that he could be Satoshi. It is me.”
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