Exploring Satoshi Nakamoto’s Original Peer-to-Peer Ambitions for Bitcoin

A few weeks before the Bitcoin network was officially launched on January 3rd 2009, its mysterious pseudonomous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, shared a pre-release version of the code on the metzdowd cryptography mailing list with a couple of users that gives us special insight into his original ambitions for the pioneering cryptocurrency project we know as Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Gaming

Most crypto enthusiasts today may believe Bitcoin was always intended to function as a “store of value” in the form of a “digital gold”. More seasoned cryptocurrency veterans recognize that Bitcoin used to function as both a medium of exchange as well as a store of value, in the form of “digital cash”. But few users today appreciate the extent of Satoshi Nakamoto’s original ambitions for Bitcoin as a peer-to-peer ecosystem of sorts.

Peering into the original code gives us a few clues:

   "m_buttonDealHand = new wxButton(this, wxID_DEALHAND, wxT("&Deal Hand"), wxDefaultPosition, wxSize(150,25), 0);
    bSizer174->Add(m_buttonDealHand, 0, wxALL, 5);

    m_buttonFold = new wxButton(this, wxID_FOLD, wxT("&Fold"), wxDefaultPosition, wxSize(80,25), 0);
    bSizer174->Add(m_buttonFold, 0, wxALL, 5);

    m_buttonCall = new wxButton(this, wxID_CALL, wxT("&Call"), wxDefaultPosition, wxSize(80,25), 0);
    bSizer174->Add(m_buttonCall, 0, wxALL, 5);

    m_buttonRaise = new wxButton(this, wxID_RAISE, wxT("&Raise"), wxDefaultPosition, wxSize(80,25), 0);
    bSizer174->Add(m_buttonRaise, 0, wxALL, 5);"

If “Deal Hand”, “Fold”, “Call” and “Raise” aren’t enough for you to solve the puzzle, here’s your final clue:

"CPokerLobbyDialogBase::~CPokerLobbyDialogBase()"

Satoshi Nakamoto had intended to build Peer-to-Peer gaming in the form of Poker directly into the Bitcoin client. Two years removed from the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 (UIGEA), legislation from the United States which sought to hinder American citizens from patronizing online gambling businesses by clamping down on payments, clearly Nakamoto had his mind of circumventing state censorship by enabling internet users to bypass payment processors altogether and play directly with each other.

Bitcoin Marketplace

Years before Silk Road brought media attention on the revolutionary properties of Bitcoin as a means of internet payment, Satoshi Nakamoto himself had his own plans for a peer-to-peer marketplace within the Bitcoin network itself. As early Bitcoin supporter and developer Mike Hearn put it:

“User reviews is because he [Satoshi Nakamoto] originally intended Bitcoin to have an integrated P2P eBay style market. The idea was that user ratings/reviews would be weighted by how much mining you had done. It was never finished and eventually the code to support it was taken out”

Bitcoin Ecosystem

So not only did Nakamoto intend Bitcoin to be a P2P digital cash, but his original code makes clear that he intended Bitcoin to be so much more; a kind of peer-to-peer ecosystem between users, enabling them to play games, buy and sell items and review each other based on a reputation system–some might describe this P2P ecosystem as a kind of digital Utopia.

Fast forward more than 10 years to the Bitcoin of today and unfortunately it becomes painfully obvious how Nakamoto’s dreams have been crushed. But an anonymous team of developers calling themselves the 1984 Group is keeping his dreams alive in the form of a new, decentralized and fully peer-to-peer ecosystem offering the full array of what Nakamoto had originally envisioned for Bitcoin, called the Utopia P2P Ecosystem.