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I Think I Know Who Invented Bitcoin

The time I met Samoto, Naka, and Toshi.

Throughout history, value has taken many forms, and people have used many different mediums of exchange to represent money. Today, Bitcoin is the internet of money. It's an alternative to a current system and a money solution. It's decentralized, meaning no bank or government is in control of your funds. Only you can control your money.

I used to be one of those people who have absolutely no idea about what a cryptocurrency is. That changed when it occurred to me that I might have met the founder of Bitcoin. In July 2008, I traveled with my mom to Cape Town, South Africa, to visit her dear cousin. I was only ten years old at the time. As a very energetic kid with an odd need to talk to every single stranger, I would often find myself engaged in conversations my mom would quickly intervene.

One sunny day, my mom and her cousin, Darlene, decided we'd hike Table Mountain. And so we did. After about two hours of an exciting hike, we found ourselves on top of one of the world's Seven Wonders of Nature. I remember the day being gorgeous. The view from the top was breath-taking, truly spectacular. My mom is a big photography enthusiast, so she got busy taking pictures with Darlene. It was now time for me to have fun, so as always, I started looking around, hoping to find anything to catch my eye. I wandered off from the fam and headed into the other end of the mountain. For there, on one of the benches facing a glorious view of the ocean, I spotted three strangers having a very heated conversation. It was my time to shine. As a very confident 10-year-old, I walked up to them and said hi.

By Christian Perner on Unsplash

They were young, probably in their twenties, maybe thirties. Three girls. At first, they made faces that suggested something in line with a confusion. But then, one of them smiled and asked me how I was doing. I was glad they spoke English. It would be a bit awkward otherwise. I was a very straight forward child, so my response was: "What are you guys talking about?" They all looked at each other and started laughing. I felt like I was mature enough to be a part of that conversation. "What's so funny," I said. Another girl asked me what my name was, and I said, Marcel. "What are yours," I decided to for once go with this whole meeting each other first thing. They all shared their names with me, and I remember them even today because they were the strangest names I've ever heard. Samoto, Naka, and Toshi. "Why are your names so weird," I followed. They said: "These are our nicknames. Don't you have a nickname?". I've never felt less cool about not having a nickname, so I asked what their real names were. They just said it was a secret. To avoid an awkward pause, I asked them what they were so vividly chatting.

"You know what, Marcel, one day you'll realize that many things in life just suck," said one of the girls. I was like, I already know that Toshi. "We were discussing how we could change one of the things that bother us a lot. Do you have any idea what a decentralized currency is?" Samoto asked. "Samoto, I am ten years old. I don't care about this stuff," I responded. "Well, we were thinking of creating a solution to the current payment system, a cryptocurrency that could change the world. Maybe when you're grown up, you'll be able to take advantage of it," one of them said, among many other technical explanations that I neither understood nor remember.

By Executium on Unsplash

"How will you do all of that," I asked. "That's what we're trying to figure out. You're the only person we ever told about this idea. Can you keep a secret," Naka asked. Suddenly, I hear my mom screaming my name. "Marcel! How many times have I told you not to wander off?!" she shouted. Then, she immediately apologized to Naka, Samoto, and Toshi, for whatever reason. Samoto giggled and said: "That's okay. He's a cool kid." I felt like a part of the exclusive Table Mountain Squad. "Good luck with your idea," I said. They waved back to me, and we walked away.

When a few years later I first heard of Bitcoin as a teenager, I couldn't help but notice its unknown inventor's name- Satoshi Nakamoto. It essentially is a portmanteau word made out of Samoto, Toshi, and Naka. "My Cape Town buddies from back in the day? It can't be," I thought. Well, from what I remember, it pretty much sounds like Bitcoin is everything the three of them were aspiring to create. Did they then? Did Toshi, Naka, and Samoto end up finding a way to change the world? Did they figure it out on top of Table Mountain?

By Benjamin le Roux on Unsplash

In October 2008, a document was published online by someone calling themself Satoshi Nakamoto. It suggested a way to create a system for a decentralized currency called Bitcoin. It was only three months after I met Naka, Toshi, and Samoto in Cape Town. I mean, what are the odds?

My theory is that those three smart, ambitious girls came up with an idea to create digital money that solved the double-spend problem without the need for a central authority. I'm sure that they are proud of what they've achieved. I hope they are sipping cocktails now at a location as fabulous as Table Mountain. They remind me every day that if you put your mind to something, you can make it happen. Cheers to you, girls! Bitcoin is doing better than ever.

Marcel Grabowiecki
Marcel Grabowiecki
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Marcel Grabowiecki

Look at you doing what you once thought you couldn't do.

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