Planting Bitcoin — Gardening (4/4)

The Revolution Begins


In my last article, “Soil,” I covered the Cypherpunks or the “Soil” in which he planted the Bitcoin seed giving it the best chance for survival.

I’ve paired this song to “Gardening” because I think it fits the feel of the piece and adds additional depth. If you enjoy listening to this, please follow my playlist on Spotify.

Early Development

“The project needs to grow gradually so the software can be strengthened along the way.” — Satoshi Nakamoto

Satoshi chose to be anonymous, which fit the ethos of the Cypherpunks. People can project hopes and dreams on an anonymous individual, ensuring maximal narrative fit. That’s why a book is often better than the movie. His anonymity was a critical component of the founder story — dev worship is a dangerous thing for an open source project aiming for decentralization. Volunteers need to rely on trusting the objective reality of the code, rather than focusing on the merits of the project leader.

Bitcoin GitHub history visualized up to March 27, 2014

The Gardener Leaves

Satoshi showed a great level of restraint and took a long-term perspective on issues, as when Satoshi resisted the calls for bitcoin to market itself as a funding mechanism for Wikileaks after PayPal famously froze its account. This, Satoshi argued, would only bring down legal and regulatory hammers that much faster. Satoshi recognized the need to carefully cultivate Bitcoin.

Social Scalability

Satoshi was able to walk away because Bitcoin had trust minimization baked into the protocol. This is what made it socially scalable.

“Bitcoin is a social breakthrough, not a technological one” — Alex Hardy

Bitcoin needed to be the universal language for money. You are communicating with strangers worldwide, which you neither know nor trust that agree you own an abstraction of value.

HODLing, the Hero’s Journey

“In the beginning of a change the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot.” — Mark Twain

Satoshi built Bitcoin for the believers in a new financial system, the HODLers, the revolutionaries. The ones who were disenfranchised with the existing financial system. The ones who would be attracted by the prospect of sudden and spectacular change in their life.

“Protocols die when they run out of believers.” — Naval

The faith in a new financial system is what binds everything together. Bitcoin is not just a software project. It’s a method of coordination for a large group of people who face powerful adversaries. Bitcoin isn’t just a technological breakthrough, it’s also a social one.

‘The secret to happiness is freedom; the secret to freedom is courage’ — Thucydides

Those who opt-in to Bitcoin, are trading something abundant for something scarce, trading the past for the future, trading financial dependence for financial sovereignty.


Satoshi architected the perfect genetic code necessary to a new species of money, Bitcoin. He then waited for the precise moment to plant the new species, the 2008 Financial Crisis. At that moment, he distributed the whitepaper to the only group that cared — the Cypherpunks. And finally, he nurtured Bitcoin to a stage where it no longer needed him.

“Let the future tell the truth, and evaluate each one according to his work and accomplishments. The present is theirs; the future, for which I have really worked, is mine.” — Nikola Tesla

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Growth @Krakenfx . Frmr: @InterchangeHQ (acq by @Krakenfx ), Global Data/Rider Growth @Uber , First PM @Blockchain , Co-Fndr @ZeroBlock https://danheld.substack

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