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The White Paper

The White Paper

9781999675929
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 In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto published a revolutionary white paper that described a simple peer-to-peer electronic cash system that would later become Bitcoin, laying the foundations for the technical innovation known as the blockchain. In the decade since its publication, the nascent technology behind cryptocurrency has become recognised holding the same transformative potential of the printing press or the internet, set to impact our sense of identity and provenance as much as finance. It has disrupted traditional financial markets with a spectacular explosion in value, paved the way for thousands of similar digital currencies and laid the groundwork for a decentralised future of the web. But what does it mean for everyday life? The White Paper returns to the document that started it all, taking Nakamoto’s text as a Rosetta Stone to decode the meaning of blockchain for contemporary society. This guide to the innovative technology shows how it holds up a mirror to our understanding of the world, both timeless and mutating: from the archetypal origin story, to concepts of trust and value, and the changing shapes of power and privacy. In an acute and definitive Introduction, James Bridle, leading technologist, artist and author of New Dark Age, charts the rise of blockchain from its roots in clandestine online cultures. Delving into the first conversations between initial members of the Bitcoin community - a disparate group of cyber ideologues ranging from right-wing Libertarians to radical Web 2.0 utopian, Bridle shows how they shed light on the cryptographic imagination that points towards the future of the Bitcoin dream. Through the lens of encryption as philosophy and practice, Bridle examines the continuing debates around the meaning of money, democratic values and security in an era of surveillance capitalism. Fully annotated with key secondary texts, The White Paper presents new perspectives on the radical paper.