The first days of Bitcoin and Dustin D. Trammell’s emails with Satoshi Nakamoto

The first days of Bitcoin and Dustin D. Trammell’s emails with Satoshi Nakamoto

Dustin D. Trammell discusses the early days of BTC with Cointelegraph Brasil.

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It is not known if Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin (BTC) alone, if they had help from others, or whether they themself are just a pseudonym for a developer collective. However, after the launch of Bitcoin on Jan. 9, 2009, Nakamoto worked to improve the software by receiving feedback and opinions from several collaborators.

Among them is Dustin D. Trammell, one of the first cypherpunks to download the official version of Bitcoin and mine the cryptocurrency. Trammell is a computer security research scientist and a specialist in virtual security. In addition to talking to Satoshi and suggesting improvements to Bitcoin, he also received some Bitcoin from the creator themselves.

Cointelegraph Brasil talked to Trammell about the early days of Bitcoin, after the virtual currency hit a new valuation record above $61,000. Here’s what the early adopter thinks about the future of cryptocurrency.

Cointelegraph: Before Bitcoin, what was the atmosphere and how did you come to learn about BTC?

Dustin Trammell: I’m not really sure… My introduction to digital currencies was literally when Satoshi published the Bitcoin white paper to the mailing list. Prior to that, most of my experience with alternative currencies was of the metals-backed physical kind, like the Liberty Dollar.

I was mostly following the cryptography mailing list as a casual interest in cryptography from my career in information security, and was mostly focused on things like new algorithms, attacks on and weaknesses in algorithms.

„I did not speak to Satoshi before they released the Bitcoin white paper. The first version I was able to review and run was the initial public release to the mailing list a few months later. Yes, I used the very first public version and every version thereafter.“

I immediately began submitting bugs and asking questions, which led to the emails that I published via my blog. I remember being on the SourceForge list, as I wanted to keep up with development, but I don’t think I ever posted to it. I was subscribed to the Bitcoin-Development and Bitcoin-List lists, although it looks from my email history like I didn’t subscribe until 2013/2014. I don’t recall being in the IRC channel or the original forum. I joined BitcoinTalk after it was created.

CT: How was mining at that time? Was it something of a “study” or did you already think that Bitcoin could be a currency as it is today?

DT: Mining was incredibly easy, although I did not realize for the first few days that you had to go into the settings and specifically turn mining on. Once I did that, I was off to the races… So, there were a few days at the very beginning when I was running the software but not mining yet. Back then, you could easily mine with commodity CPUs and you could generate a block of 50 anywhere from a few times a day to one every few days, depending on your processing power.

“Given my interest in alternative currencies and information security, I was definitely interested in the project and thought it showed promise, but at the time I wasn’t thinking this far ahead and about what it has evolved into today. If I was, I would have saved far more Bitcoin than I did.”

I used to run other „spare processing power“ programs on my computers like SETI@home, so I thought I could spare some computers to mine Bitcoin and participate in the network with my spare processing power.

Back then, I mostly sent Bitcoin to myself, consolidating coins into a single wallet from the various computers that I was mining on. I don’t recall sending any to anyone else until years later, when they were finally worth more than $0. Satoshi only sent me coins once using my IP address.

Coins were always sent by Bitcoin address on the blockchain, but to send by IP, the client would connect to that IP and then request a Bitcoin address from it to send to, and then send to that address on-chain. Satoshi’s client connected directly to mine in this way, and my client just gave it the next available address from its address pool.

I actually stopped mining at some point and forgot about Bitcoin for a year or two, and was blissfully ignorant of what was happening with the project. During that time, the value appreciated from $0 to around $9. I started paying attention again when the news story about Bitcoin being used on the Silk Road came out. This is probably when I joined the other email lists.

CT: Do you think Satoshi had already worked on creating an e-cash before Bitcoin?

DT: Not sure, but probably not. It seems that they had pulled together many different technologies and concepts to create Bitcoin. I’m not sure you could have that kind of clarity and lack of bias if you had specifically been working on digital currencies prior. I think you might have needed an outside perspective.

In hindsight, Satoshi didn’t seem to be trying to solve a technical problem, but rather a social problem. A systemic problem with the legacy financial system. At the time though, they were very focused on the technology, so some of the philosophical points may have been overlooked or downplayed by those not paying close enough attention.

CT: Do you think Bitcoin has found the “formula” to achieve its value, or has it just become an investment asset that will be accumulated by the same “bankers” and governments that the cypherpunks once fought?

DT: Yes, today I truly believe that Bitcoin has the potential to become the world’s next global reserve asset. It has already conquered the internet; altcoins on exchanges are almost universally traded against Bitcoin in ALT/BTC pairs.

It has the rock-solid monetary policy and proven network effect to continue driving its value to the moon against other non-scarce assets. The new financial system that is being built on top of Bitcoin is going to completely outperform the legacy systems, that there’s literally no choice but for Bitcoin to supplant them. This is Finance 2.0.

„I think it’s a bit late for bankers and governments unless they get in the game quickly. Most of the Bitcoin has already been issued and the remaining authorized supply to be issued is dwindling rapidly, with the supply of newly minted coins halving every four years or so.“

They’ll have to buy from existing holders, and most of us have no intention of selling to them. That will drive the price in fiat currencies parabolic. The first central bank to print fiat to buy Bitcoin wins.

CT: Did you imagine that one day there would be this whole industry around Bitcoin?

DT: Yes, I saw the potential for Bitcoin to become very big, and there was some discussion at the time around scaling and what layer-two solutions might look like, but this has grown far beyond my early expectations.

I wish I still had most of the Bitcoin I mined. I had a lot. I gave a lot of it away to promote Bitcoin. I bought a lot of Casascius coins and Bitbills, and gave them out at hacker and computer security conventions, renaissance fairs, parties, left them as tips at restaurants, etc. I gave it literally to anyone that would take Bitcoin.

I also bought a lot of things with Bitcoin, from real estate and a car to Bitcoin miners to random electronics. I own one of the Bitcoin nerd merit badges that cost me… 1 BTC. They would still cost 1 BTC if they weren’t sold out.

„I have mixed opinions on other projects and what potential they have. I try to keep an open mind and consider each on its own philosophical and technical merits. For example, I actually do like Ethereum, but it’s not well decentralized and ETH is horrible money. It wasn’t intended to be money, and the Ethereum monetary policy is practically nonexistent. ETH is basically a utility token that you use to accomplish things on the Ethereum network.“

I hold a little ETH because I occasionally like to do things on the Ethereum network, such as play Decentraland, and following and participating in this whole NFT/crypto art movement is somewhat interesting. But I don’t hold it as an investment, or as money, because it has no stable, predictable monetary policy. I only hold enough of it to accomplish what I want to do on the network.

I think “DeFi” [decentralized finance] has a long way to go to work out the bugs and security issues with digital ledger contract systems. For now, I’ll stick to the original decentralized-finance project, Bitcoin.

CT: What about Satoshi — do you think they still have access to Bitcoin and continue to work on cryptocurrency development, or did they really abandon everything?

DT: I have no idea. My best guess is that Satoshi burned those keys early on to prevent themselves from being tempted to reveal themselves later, or lost them… Or Satoshi is dead. There are multiple plausible Satoshi candidates that are now no longer with us. Satoshi certainly isn’t Craig Wright though.

CT: Looking at what Bitcoin was in 2009 and what it is today, what is the future of the main cryptocurrency in the market?

DT: I believe it will continue to grow and evolve, from the speculative asset and store of value that it has now become, to later the global reserve asset, to a unit of account, and finally to actual currency.

We’re getting there with the floodgates of institutional money opening up and layer-two solutions like Bitcoin Lightning and Liquid coming online, but it’ll still take a while. That said, it’ll probably happen sooner than we expect. “Gradually, then suddenly…”


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Dustin D. Trammell discusses the early days of BTC with Cointelegraph Brasil.

Crypto Scammers Impersonate Members of Olympic Committee

Crypto Scammers Impersonate Members of Olympic Committee

A series of scam emails sent from Japan have been asking people to donate to the Olympic Games’ organization in Tokyo.

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The ongoing pandemic forced the postponement of the Olympic Games in Tokyo. This has triggered a series of online crypto-related scams, including an email from alleged members of the International Olympic Committee. In these emails, scammers ask unsuspecting victims for donations.

As Trend Micro reported on April 30, scammers are asking for crypto donations so that Japanese organizers can recover from the economic impact produced by the postponement of the biggest Olympic sports event in the world.

In the fake mail, an alleged member of the Olympic Committee states that the organization has to deal with the loss of money invested in airline tickets, hotels, infrastructure materials, and production booking arrangements.

Victims are encouraged to avoid Olympic Games cancellation in Tokyo

Following the same line, the online scam letter ensures that the government has been forced to collect funds to compensate for losses. This is why they claim that donations are required.

The scammers add that if the funding target, which was not specified, is not achieved, the international image of the Japanese people will be “severely damaged,” running the risk to cancel the Tokyo 2020 Olympics Games.

For this reason, the email extends the invitation for people to donate to a supposed Bitcoin (BTC) crypto wallet belonging to the International Olympic Committee. Donors, they claim, will be eligible to purchase a ticket for the Olympics Games at a discount of 30%.

Olympic games’ scam emails coming from Japan

An investigation by Trend Micro revealed that over 400 similar fraudulent emails sent from April 24 to 26th belong to IP addresses from internet providers in Japan.

Scams related to the Olympic Games are not new.

Cointelegraph reported on April 8 that the Chinese Olympic Committee has repeatedly received complaints about con artists posing as members of the so-called “World Olympic Sports Foundation”. These scammers invite the recipients to invest in unique products related to the Olympic Games.


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A series of scam emails sent from Japan have been asking people to donate to the Olympic Games’ organization in Tokyo.

Adam Back on Satoshi Emails, Privacy Concerns and Bitcoin’s Early Days

Adam Back on Satoshi Emails, Privacy Concerns and Bitcoin’s Early Days

Adam Back discusses the origins of Bitcoin, Hashcash and emails between Satoshi Nakamoto in interview with Cointelegraph

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Eleven years after Bitcoin’s release, Cointelegraph caught up with Adam Back to discuss the early years of Bitcoin, his emails with Satoshi Nakamoto, privacy and much more. 

The Blockstream CEO, who spoke to Cointelegraph at the Latin American crypto event LaBitconf in Uruguay, is a developer and cryptographer known for inventing Hashcash, a predecessor of the proof-of-work system used by Bitcoin. 

Back also dismissed the idea that he is the father of Bitcoin and said he didn’t help Satoshi create the world’s first cryptocurrency, despite confirming he was probably the first person Satoshi talked to about Bitcoin when he sent an email to Back introducing his idea.

Cypherpunks

“There were many other things that paved the way for Bitcoin, like digital money experiments driven by cypherpunk ideals. In the 1990s, when the movement really started, I was in Europe, so I only attended one of these San Francisco Bay area in-person cypherpunk meetings.

“However, the cypherpunks not only discussed e-cash but many other privacy-related topics. At that time, there was not only The Cryptography Mailing list — where Nakamoto first published — but many other lists where Nick Szabo, Wei Dai, Hal Finney and others frequently talked about e-cash. Some were physically in the Bay Area — I think Szabo, for example, may have attended the cypherpunks’ face-to-face meetings in the Bay Area along with Cypherpunks mailing list co-founders Eric Hughes, John Gimore and the late Timothy May.

“Back in 1981, David Chaum had already created the foundation for anonymous communication, and in 1983, he launched blind signature schemes. Privacy, anonymity, individual freedom and digital control were hot topics for cypherpunks, along with math and programming.”

E-cash

“Digital money was also a hot topic, and it was discussed on the Cypherpunks list and other lists like Coderpunks, Cryptography and Bluesky.”

Adam Back was one of the most active posters on the Cypherpunks list, with over 700 published posts.

“There was a lot of debate about creating digital money. Besides Chaum’s most famous DigiCash, B-Money (developed by Wei) and Bit-Gold (developed by Szabo), there are many other obscure papers on the subject, and I sent Satoshi references to a couple of them related to proof-of-work in 2008.

“At that time, in 1998, Wei and Szabo were already discussing their ideas about digital money and sharing their proposals on B-Money and Bit-Gold among themselves and other participants on these lists.

“There was also my 1997 contribution of Hashcash as well as many later proof-of-work articles — dozens of them after Hashcash and before Bitcoin, and a few others after Bitcoin launched. I mentioned a few in my 2002 paper about Hashcash and some earlier proof-of-work papers like Cynthia Dwork and Moni Naor’s and even earlier related papers. We can’t forget that there was also Hal Finney’s reusable proofs-of-work, or RPoW, that predates Bitcoin from 2004.

“There were also anonymous people looking to create virtual money like MagicMoney from Product Cipher and other privacy tools like Heinry Hastur’s ‘pgp stealth,’ which I later took over maintenance of.

“So, if he was on the Cypherpunks list, Satoshi wouldn’t be the only ‘anonymous’ on these lists nor even the only one trying to launch a paper about virtual money. There were many anonymous and pseudonymous people discussing topics on the Cypherpunk lists, including the e-cash topic.

“Myself, Finney and Peter Todd, who was only 15 back then in 2001, were discussing Hashcash and digital money also on the Bluesky list, with Todd also interested in creating decentralized digital money.”

The “first” virtual money transaction

“Decentralized. This is perhaps the main word about Bitcoin arising from the proposals that came before it. 

“Chaum had launched the first version of a ‚digital money‘ back in 1989. And some of us on the Cypherpunk lists tried to bootstrap value into Chaum’s DigiCash demo server, where it was possible to get coins by email and was promised not to issue more than 1 million units of it.

“On the demo server, I even sold some t-shirts (exported RSA t-shirts) and all of us who were using the DigiCash demo thought that if enough people did that it could start up with a stable value as long as it was just 1 million coins.

“Unfortunately, DigiCash went bankrupt during this experiment, and the double-spend centralized database was also a problem — because if you had coins, it was impossible to prove to anyone if they were spent after they were gone.

“The lesson learned from DigiCash was that we needed a decentralized, peer-to-peer approach, and that was part of the discussion about Hashcash, B-Money, Bit-Gold, RPoW, and other bootstrapping ideas.

“You had to create digital money in a decentralized way, without a bank interface, without permission or partnership with a bank.”

Hashcash

“This is why the concept of Hashcash and mining was attractive — as some people could mine it to create coins, and others could buy and sell them in the decentralized secondary market because there was no centralized database nor bank partnership needed.

“There were also gaps in B-Money and Bit-Gold, so they were not fully complete projects or had players and human markets fulfilling functions that Bitcoin is able to automate within the protocol.

“Hashcash was widely reported at the time in computer magazines and online publications because spam was an increasingly hot topic and there was a hassle with the arms race for which some IT people and IETF groups were trying to find solutions.

“So, Satoshi could have learned about Hashcash without ever debating anything in the cypherpunk groups.”

Emails with Satoshi

“In August (or July) 2008, I received an email from Satoshi Nakamoto with an e-cash white paper (there was no name ‘Bitcoin’ yet) and it seemed interesting.

“The questions at that time were: Will he start this? What are the principles? I suggested Satoshi should look into B-Money, which he didn’t seem to know about at that time, and this is how I think B-Money was added to the paper.

“There were a few more emails, and I also sent Satoshi Ron Rivest’s 1996 paper on MicroMint, which extracts k-way hash collisions instead of partial pre-images used by Bitcoin. It is a bit centralized, but interesting.

Probably not so many people were aware of the MicroMint paper and even less so the B-Money write-up digital currency proposal. Although I was aware of Szabo’s work, I happened to not send him a reference to Bit-Gold.”

Bitcoin software

“I didn’t help to create Bitcoin, I didn’t program anything nor participate in any programming task. Around the time the software came out, Satoshi sent it to me, but I didn’t help him with that.

“Hal Finney could have reviewed the early Bitcoin code. I have never met Hal in person, but I really liked his inventiveness and enjoyed discussing topics on the cypherpunks list or in email with him. If ‘cypherpunks write code,’ Hal was a code writer, for sure.

“There has been some speculation about who may have helped Satoshi review the Bitcoin code prior to release because of the email that he sent to the list in November 2018. But it seems that Satoshi programmed Bitcoin first before writing the paper and probably he, himself, made several revisions to the code, and later others — like Hal, for example — may have helped review comments or bug reports or doing small bug fixes, just as when you write text and ask someone to review the grammar.”

Source: https://satoshi.nakamotoinstitute.org/emails/cryptography/6/

Bitcoin released with privacy issues

“Unlike Hal Finney and others, although Satoshi sent me the software before the official release, I didn’t start running it at the very beginning. Shortly after its release, Hal tried using Bitcoin and wrote a summary of how it worked on the mailing list, and after that I went back to analyzing Bitcoin.

“It seemed to me that Bitcoin had serious privacy limitations compared with Chaum’s 1981 protocol.

“I am interested in privacy tech, encryption and protocols, so I was interested in improving Bitcoin’s privacy and fungibility. So, I later proposed confidential transactions and Schnorr signatures and also some other ideas.

“Gradually, Bitcoin was gaining momentum and was no longer just a proposal but a real decentralized digital money actually working. To solve the privacy issues not implemented in Bitcoin, we then proposed the creation of sidechains such as Liquid in 2013 to help features be implemented, to gain experience and confidence with them, and to validate tradeoffs. And later I founded Blockstream with Greg Maxwell, Pieter Wuille and others to develop that technology and make it end-to-end usable.”

Email

Cointelegraph asked if we could see the emails between Back and Satoshi, but Back was hesitant. Instead, he referred us to a tweet he sent last year stating his belief that Satoshi’s anonymity is “a Bitcoin feature” and that if he had any pieces of evidence that could help deduce Satoshi’s true identity he would “delete/shred them.”

“I’ve never revealed my emails to Satoshi and maybe I never will. Netiquette dictates not sharing emails without permission and I did not ask if Satoshi would be okay revealing personal emails.” 


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Adam Back discusses the origins of Bitcoin, Hashcash and emails between Satoshi Nakamoto in interview with Cointelegraph

Crypto Criminals Send Scam Emails Impersonating British Financial Watchdog

Crypto Criminals Send Scam Emails Impersonating British Financial Watchdog

Scam emails impersonating the U.K.’s FCA are offering recipients a „guaranteed chance to earn“ on digital currencies

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Cyber criminals have been sending scam emails claiming to be from the United Kingdom Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and promoting crypto assets investments, financial market-focused platform FT Adviser reported on July 22.

The letter impersonating the FCA is entitled „Guaranteed chance to earn“ and features the watchdog’s logo and branding. After reading that „Bitcoin is still a long way off its peak price of $20,000, which it reached in 2017, but some cryptocurrency experts believe it could hit an even higher value by 2020,“ it offers recipients to follow a link dubbed „Click her“ [sic].

The FCA has reportedly confirmed that it has no relation with the aforementioned emails. The agency also warned that it would never ask the public to provide it with their bank account details. The FCA said:

„The correspondence is likely to be linked to organized fraud and we strongly advise you not to respond to the criminals in any way. Look for signs that the email, letter or phone call may not be from us, such as it listing a mobile or overseas contact phone number, an email address from a hotmail or gmail account, or a foreign PO Box number.”

FCA asks the public to remain cautious

In May, the FCA reported that cryptocurrency investors in the U.K. lost over $34 million due to cryptocurrency and forex scams from 2018–2019. At the time, the FCA considered a ban on “high-risk derivative products linked to cryptoassets,” with the watchdog’s executive director Mark Steward saying:

“Scammers can be very convincing so always do your own research into any firm you are considering investing with, to make sure that they are the real deal.”

Recently, the FCA announced that it will soon publish a consultation paper on a potential ban on cryptocurrency derivatives such as Bitcoin futures and other crypto-related trading products.


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Scam emails impersonating the U.K.’s FCA are offering recipients a „guaranteed chance to earn“ on digital currencies