The True(?) Story of BitCoin
Some inventions require three good women.
We have all heard that Satoshi Nakamoto invented Bitcoin. Is that the truth? I heard another version of the beginning of Bitcoin that I believe is the true story. This is what I was told. I believe this is the real but very secret story. I am going to tell it to you now.
Sandra Amoto still had her diploma from Harvard in her hand when she boarded the plane for San Francisco in 1995. She had been the star of Harvard’s computer programming department, third in her class behind a physics major and a math major. She brought with her from college all her hopes and dreams for a bright and successful future. A year later she was a sales clerk at Neiman Marcus. She realized that as a woman she was missing one of the most basic requirements for success in Silicon Valley. The only jobs she could find involved answering phones, bringing coffee and living on a minimal salary with no hope of advancement. Neiman Marcus treated her with more respect and paid her better as well.
Antonia Kaster was already in San Francisco when Sandy arrived. She had arrived a year earlier from MIT with similar credentials and similar results. She finally found a job working at the Asian Art Museum handling all their computer needs from their web page design to responding to the online orders from their gift shop. At least it kept her in the computer field, sort of.
Shia Nash was the last to arrive in San Francisco in the summer of 1997. She arrived with a job offer waiting for her in a small shop in Silicon Valley that opened in late spring of 1997. She realized very early on that not everyone who is a talented and creative programmer can handle the challenges of running a company. Her boss’s business management skills were definitely lacking. The shop closed in November of the same year. Truth was they only hired her because she was extremely pretty. She was just as unlikely of getting on a career path as Sandy and Toni. Her looks did help her find another job. It wasn’t in her field but it did pay much better. She began working as a receptionist at the Press Club. It was a high end restaurant and the tips were very good.
Shia met Sandra at the Press Club. Sandra would never have gone there on her own. She couldn’t afford it. She was on a blind date. Her date was the son of the manager of the children’s clothing department at the store. “He’s a UCLA graduate and a wonderful young man. You two would make a beautiful couple.” Under her breath she added, “and make beautiful children.” Sandy was nervous about the evening. She hated blind dates. She was also afraid she wouldn’t look good enough to go someplace this fancy. So she went shopping and bought a dress she couldn’t afford.
Finally it was Saturday afternoon and time to get ready. She took much more time than she usually would getting ready for the evening. She wanted everything to be just right. She knew that if she felt like she looked really great, she wouldn’t be so nervous. Stopping in front of the full length mirror in the hall, Sandy checked herself out. The waves in her blond hair looked just right. Her makeup brought out the blue in her eyes and her high cheekbones. Her dress hugged her body and showed off just enough of her curves.
When she opened the door, he turned out to be just as handsome as she had been told. She did agree that they made a good-looking couple. When they got to the Press Club, Shia greeted them and ushered them to a prime table by the window with a bottle of wine already on it. Her date obviously took care of everything before they left for the restaurant. Sandra was very impressed.
He asked her about her job. Sandra told him that she was a sales clerk at Neiman Marcus but that she had her degree in Computer Science and wished she could find a job in her field. His next words ended the date. “Why would you want to take a job away from a man who needs the work to support his family? With your looks you can get a job as a waitress at a place like this and make plenty in tips if you just flirt with the men you wait on.”
She explained to him what she thought of his attitudes and where he could put them. He got up and stomped out leaving her with the bill. Her waitress poured her another glass of wine. She was going to be paying for it anyway so she might as well drink it. She sighed thinking that rent was going to be late this month.
Shia heard the whole thing and sent her soup and bread on the house. Before Sandra left, they shared stories about their disappointments in Silicon Valley and the men who worked there. They exchanged phone numbers. By the time Sandy left, they were fast friends. They would call each other at least once every day to talk about anything or nothing.They got together several times a week for lunch or dinner.
Antonia met them when they were drinking coffee at a table at Starbucks. She was at the next table and heard them discussing their frustrations with the computer industry. She interrupted and told them what had happened to her. They invited her to pull up a chair and the three of them sat there talking for more than two hours. By the time they split, they knew the three of them were going to seeing a lot of each other.
Within six months they had decided to get out of the leases on their expensive but shabby apartments in lousy neighborhoods and move into a rental house together in Hunters Point. It was a haul to their jobs so they pooled their money for a cheap car that they could drive to work together.
One day in the spring of 1998, they were complaining about their lack of money, a very common point of discussion. “When the country needs more money, they just print it up. Wish we could do that,” said Sandy. At least one of them said that every time this subject came up.
This time something new happened. Shia asked, “Have you ever heard of David Chaum?”
“The name’s familiar but I don’t remember why.”
“They were giving lectures about him when I was at MIT. He came up with an idea for digital money that can be traded on the internet. It sounded pretty exciting to me at the time. No need for real physical money. No need for banks. It’s all done on the web.”
“Someone should develop this and make it work for real,” Toni piped in.
Sandy stood up and declared, “We’re someone. We have some skills and no way to use them. We should just see if we can come up with something.”
On that day, April 23, 1998, Bitcoin was born.
Of course, it wasn’t that easy to accomplish. The three women without experience or close to enough training had a lot of work to do.
They began with days and weeks spent discussing what their product would be able to do. That was the easy part.
How could they do it? Their limited knowledge got them started but they knew they needed to learn a lot more to accomplish this. They began at the many great colleges nearby. They poured through catalogs and each signed up for courses that might help.
That got them closer to their goal but, as they developed their ideas, they realized they needed the kind of information that only comes from working in the field. They already knew that wasn’t going to happen.
They were attending every lecture they could find about any related subject that was open to the public. Most were dull and of no use but they got information from some, questions from others, and sources for information at others. After one lecture on DigiCash, as Shia was leaving, a thirty-something man walked up beside her. “What’s your interest in cryptocurrency?”
Shia smiled and replied, “I just read an article on the computer and it sounded interesting. Do you understand what they are talking about?”
“I do. I’ve worked with David Chaum on his theories. If you would like to learn more about his work, I would be happy to buy you dinner.”
Shia agreed and kept him talking about cryptocurrency for the whole meal. All she had to do was look impressed by his intelligence and ask a few silly questions. She got a lot more from that meal than just some good food. Unfortunately for him, he did not get what he wanted from the dinner.
The three women spent the next ten years going to courses and lectures, raiding every university library, and occasionally getting answers to questions from unsuspecting men who were working in the field.
They obsessed over their work. By 2004, they had cut off almost all of the other people in their lives. All they wanted to talk about was what they were doing and they only talked about that to each other. They worked just enough to pay the bills. The rest of the time was spent working on the research and development to bring their concept to reality. By now there weren’t many people who knew more about what they were attempting than they did. They just needed to find a way to solve the last few problems they had encountered. Most of them were handled with hard work by the beginning of 2005.
The last question defeated them for another year. How could they make the operation so secure that no one could cheat it or hack it? They worked for almost a year trying to find the answer until one day in early 2006, Sandy who was actually the best programmer screamed, “I’ve got it!” Tori and Shia rushed to her. She went to one of their dry erase boards and started to explain her idea. It took a whole day for her to explain her idea to her partners. It made sense but of course it needed a lot more development. Blockchain was ready to incorporate into their work by the middle of 2007.
Now all their work could be turned into the BitCoin we have today. After all the time spent in development of the programming necessary, it was time to figure out how to launch it. This provided a new challenge for them.
Who should they name as the developer? Three women who didn’t have any valuable credits couldn’t get the respect they needed to get it taken seriously.
Toni was the one to come up with a solution. She suggested that a mysterious Japanese man would get much more notice. They could remain unknown and control things from anywhere they were. No one needed to be in Japan.
Her experience at the Asian Art Museum helped them name him. She used part of each of their names to come up with the name of the ‘developer.’ The first two or three letters of their first names came together as Satoshi
(SAndy, TOni, SHIa).The beginnings of Toni and Shia’s last names and the end of Sandy’s name came together as Nakamoto (NAsh, KAster, aMOTO).
She showed the name to Shia and Sandy. “Can you figure out how I came up with this name?”
It only took a couple of minutes before Sandy said, “I get it. Satoshi is a combination of Samsung and Toshiba and Nakamoto combines Nakayama and Motorola.”
Toni laughed so hard she could barely breathe. It took her almost five minutes before she could catch her breath and say, “I hadn’t noticed that.”
Satoshi Nakamoto was now the official developer of Bitcoin. The rest is history.
This is the story I was told about the beginning of Bitcoin. It might be the truth. It might not. Take it or leave it.