It Started With A Post To An Obscure Mailing List

Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous developer of the original Bitcoin protocol, first informed the world of his new creation on an obscure cryptography mailing list. The types of people that subscribed to this mailing list at the time comprised of a very small and specific niche. These cryptography enthusiasts were the lucky few that were introduced to Bitcoin before anyone else. Satoshi did this intentionally because he had pulled some important concepts from the study of cryptography and knew that this community would immediately latch onto the idea and help him develop it further. He found his initial niche market required for any new product, service or technology to take off.

Cryptography’s main tenet is rooted in studying and deploying techniques that allow for secure communication over the internet unobstructed the prying eyes of third parties. Cryptographers value privacy in all aspects of their lives and communication over the internet is no different. They tend to believe that governments and corporations abuse their powers and spy on their citizens and stakeholders in the name of security. In their eyes, cryptography is one tool in the toolkit to fight this constant battle. Before Bitcoin, cryptography secured such things as credit card transactions online and some forms of peer to peer communication. Because cryptography was already used to secure private communications over the internet, it is no surprise that it became a foundational pillar for securing private value transfer over the internet. Satoshi combined the principles of cryptography with other fields of study to create Bitcoin. Cryptography is the reason why Bitcoin transactions remain secure and virtually ‘unhackable’ today.

In its early days Bitcoin was mostly mined, held and transacted by this small ‘hobbyist’ or niche community of cryptographers, computer scientists, mathematicians and scientists. There was a lot of overlap in the likes and interests of this group with what Bitcoin had to offer. This baseline level of demand created a price floor for Bitcoin to prepare for its first hype cycle. As these people continued to discuss Bitcoin online, and tell their friends and family about it, a second group gravitated towards Bitcoin.

Libertarians and Anarchists Gravitate Towards Bitcoin

The features of Bitcoin align well with the ideologies of libertarians and anarchists. Both groups believe in free markets and little to no government intervention in the day to day interactions and trade between people. They believe that the market should decide exchange rates and interest rates while government intervention in market dynamics remains at a minimum. Until Bitcoin arrived on the scene, the influential libertarians and anarchists of our time propped up gold as the best form of money. They wanted to return to the gold standard of the first part of the 20th century. After the arrival of Bitcoin and upon further examination of its properties, most people that ascribe to these ideologies now see Bitcoin as superior to gold in all regards. It is transportable across borders, transferable to anyone with a wallet and infinitely divisible. It empowers people to transact amongst themselves without any third parties knowing what they are up to. Because of these features, Bitcoin became widely adopted amongst this community from 2010-2012, well before it entered the mainstream. Our next blog post will focus on Bitcoin’s initial foray into the mainstream and what types of ‘Hodlers’ that led to.