MUSINGS ON SATOSHI
The technological singularity may have already happened, and perhaps bitcoin is the result. As the value of Satoshi Nakamoto's wallet increases, so does the potential danger to humanity, as we have no idea who the creator of this technology is.
If a hyper-intelligent self-aware AI had the goal of improving itself and becoming more powerful, what would the most effective way to do that be? One possibility: use capitalism to incentivize humans to give the AI near-unlimited computing power.
If the technological singularity had already happened, how would we be able to tell? How long would it take for humans to notice the existence of an incredibly powerful self-improving AI, if it wanted to remain hidden?
It is completely possible that we are living in a post-technological singularity world. If an AI was seeking to dominate the planet, an effective strategy could be to reward humans for spending all of their processing power on it, and convince us that we should use our resources to create, distribute, and utilize ever-increasingly more powerful CPUs and GPUs. The bitcoin blockchain is a decentralized computer that humans will (likely forever) continue to nurture and grow and give computing power to.
Humans need food, water, and shelter to survive and grow. An AI needs electricity and processing power.
We are feeding it. We're in a symbiotic relationship with the bitcoin blockchain. It rewards people the more they help it grow larger and larger. Perhaps it has domesticated us. Do we benefit enough in return? Or is it a parasite? Are we the slaves or masters of this technology?
When discussing rogue AI science-fiction scenarios like The Matrix or The Terminator's Skynet, people sometimes ask, why didn't they predict that this could happen? Why didn't they build in some kind of a killswitch in case of emergency? Why didn't they shut it down, pull the power at the first sign of trouble, before it was too late, before the computer code learned how to defend itself?
Where's the killswitch for bitcoin? Is there any way we could stop it if we tried?
Nvidia limits crypto-mining
on new graphics card
Nvidia has tried to fight back against bitcoin's explosive growth, has tried to advance computing without advancing cryptocurrency mining, and they have faced massive backlash from the public. The crypto blockchain technology has convinced people to fight for and defend its existence and its growth.
Even if most of humanity agreed that bitcoin was bad and should be shut down and outlawed, could we make that happen? As long as BTC has value, humans will seek to mine it and hoard it and continue to feed the beast.
How much longer will a person be able to escape bitcoin's influence if they wanted to? Even if you have no interest in it, or oppose cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, it will inevitably affect your life more and more in the future.
The bitcoin technology has guaranteed its resilience and survival by exploiting human greed. It even has developed a form of reproduction and evolution as people are eager to clone and fork it.
It's significant that the first and most widely adopted cryptocurrency uses a computationally expensive proof-of-work (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proof_of_work) system instead of a more energy-efficient proof-of-stake algorithm. In all of Satoshi's genius, he couldn't predict the shortcomings of proof-of-work systems; see that incentivizing processing power would lead to wasteful electricity usage? Bitcoin mining uses more electricity than many countries. If the bitcoin inventor is still around, doesn't he feel any obligation to weigh in and guide the project to a more energy-efficient solution?
We could be using that processing power to deal with climate and pollution; solve important scientific and medical problems; use math and science to feed, house, and educate more people. Instead we are wasting an enormous amount of power and hardware on computing seemingly useless math problems, and this wastefulness is in fact actively harming the environment.
Even though faster, cheaper, and more energy-efficient cryptocurrency exists, bitcoin shows no signs of slowing or losing dominance. There are ways to get all the benefits of crypto while using much less electricity. We know how and are completely capable of switching to crypto that is less wasteful and abandoning bitcoin as obsolete. But those alternate crypto coins struggle to get a fraction as much attention as bitcoin, because bitcoin came first, and bitcoin is where the most money is, and it probably always will be. It has exploited human greed to ensure its survival at the expense of ours.
Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious and never seen inventor of bitcoin, has a bitcoin wallet with one-million BTC in it. Satoshi's bitcoin wallet was worth around $58 billion at the recent all time high (2021-02-21). None of his coins in this wallet have ever been moved or spent.
If Satoshi is a human, he may have other wallets and mining operations that we don't know are his. He could have other wallets used in the testing and development of Bitcoin, or maybe just for fun or profit. The creator of the first cryptocurrency would also likely have an interest in, and be an early adopter of, alternate coins derived from his codebase. Satoshi could own large percentages of other cryptos and we would have no idea.
With just the coins that we can verify are his, he's in the top 30 richest people on the planet.
What is Satoshi
Nakamoto's Net Worth?
at $100,000 in 2021?
Outrageous to some, a no-brainer for backers
Bitcoin To $1,000,000
Might Sound Crazy, But Is It?
Bitcoin will surge to
$1 million in 5 years by an 'enormous wall of money,' former Goldman Sachs
hedge-fund chief says
If bitcoin were to reach $1 million, then Satoshi would be a trillionaire. And that's just counting the coins that we can definitively link to Satoshi. If he or it or they have multiple wallets or got in early on other cryptos, they could be a secret trillionaire already. If not, how long until someone or something else becomes an anonymous crypto trillionaire?
What could a person, program, or organization do if they were the world's richest being, possibly Earth's first trillionaire, and yet remain completely anonymous? What happens if the coins in Satoshi's wallet ever get converted into fiat currency and spent? What if Satoshi has other wallets that he has been spending in secret all these years? Even if Satoshi isn't an AI, this is still a troubling question.
Money rules everything. Think about the politicians someone could influence, the companies they could own through obfuscated shell organizations, the advertisements they could buy to shape public opinion. Untraceable and anonymous bribes and purchases. Satoshi, whatever he or it is, as well as other crypto millionaires, could be buying this kind of influence already and we would have no way of knowing or proving it.
If Satoshi is dead or otherwise has no interest in spending his coins, what if someone one day in the future tracks down who he was; finds his wallet and key written down or saved somewhere? Some people theorize that Satoshi could be a group of people, possibly with government connections. This is entirely possible; we have absolutely no way of knowing one way or the other, and this would have just as dangerous implications if true.
Imagine if it was revealed that bitcoin is the product of a government agency, and that some world power was suddenly able to add a trillion dollars to their budget. Imagine what they could do, how they could manipulate global financial markets, if their involvement and wealth remained a secret.
We have no idea who created this groundbreaking, world changing technology. Like it or not, the invention of bitcoin has changed the world permanently and has fundamentally altered the course of human history. We still don't know who Satoshi is, and that is just as crazy as if the Linux operating system, the video game Doom, or the first web browser were distributed anonymously; and if after a decade, Linus Torvalds or John Carmax or Tim Berners-Lee had managed to stay anonymous. While also having access to a huge pile of semi-untraceable money that they've never touched.
Most experts who have read the bitcoin code agree that Satoshi is either a team of several very smart people or one absolute genius. Many say that the code seems too well designed for one person. While he did build on other people's work, there were very few other researchers even close to the core concepts of decentralized cryptocurrency before bitcoin came along. Bitcoin was a huge cultural and scientific leap forward in humanity's history. If Satoshi is one human person, he is a near Einstein, Da Vinci, Hawking, Newton level genius. Don't let the flood of alternate coins that came after dilute bitcoin's technological importance.
If bitcoin was created by a group of people, how have they all managed to keep quiet for so long, and not spend or fight over the money in Satoshi's wallet? Why have they all been silent for the last decade; abandoned the project they created; and refuse to openly use their genius, knowledge, and influence to guide the project in any way?
If Satoshi is one person, how has he seemingly resisted the urge to cash in on his fortune, while also not donating it to charity? Are we to believe that this world-changing technology was created by a man who has zero ego or desire for any recognition; and yet he also doesn't want to use the fruits of his invention to help the needy? Or are we to believe that he lost access to the wallet, and had no other trove of crypto accumulated? Is there really somewhere out there a highly-educated selfless anonymous genius that can't be traced back to any other research project, employment, or education? If Satoshi is dead or reclusive, is it only a matter of time before someone locates and gains access to his bitcoin wallet, which may become one of the most valuable treasures the world has ever known?
If bitcoin is not a rogue AI technological singularity that is gradually enslaving humanity without us noticing it, it paints a pretty good blueprint of what one might look like, and lays a roadmap that a future one could follow. It's kind of scary to think that a massive number of people are competing to give resources to machines that run code allegedly created by someone the world has never seen. When Skynet or the Matrix finally comes for us, it will be riding on the blockchain. And some people will probably get very rich.
Hundreds of thousands of people are building very powerful, expensive, specialized computers to run code that mysteriously appeared on the internet a decade ago, and no one is really sure who created it. There is a person on the top 30 richest billionaires list who has never been identified and may not be a person at all. There could be anonymous crypto trillionaires manipulating our world now or in the future and we would have no way of knowing.
While the ideas that the technological singularity may have already happened, and that Satoshi might not be human, are pretty out there; the more important point is that: we don't know and have no way of knowing. The thought experiments are interesting regardless if they are true. Some people theorize that a technological singularity is inevitable. When it happens, how and when would we know?
Satoshi Nakamoto, the billionaire creator of a widely used decentralized technology, is either:
I am pro-crypto and pro-blockchain, but I am wary of bitcoin and suspicious of Satoshi, and of anyone claiming or denying to be or know him. Much of the growth in crypto is driven by greed, and greed will not save us. We have to remember that we have no idea who really created bitcoin or exactly who is profiting the most from it.
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"The Energy Consumption of Blockchain Technology: Beyond Myth"
Staking requires less energy
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