“WikiLeaks has kicked the hornet’s nest, and the swarm is headed towards us.” With those 13 words, Satoshi Nakamoto stepped into oblivion, leaving a blizzard of unanswered questions that would enshroud his disappearance. That ominous message was to prove his penultimate forum post, dispatched a day before his final entry. What happened to put Wikileaks in the crosshairs of Bitcoin’s creator?
Wikileaks Shines a Light on Bitcoin
Satoshi’s words were freighted with such a sense of foreboding that many believe they signified the writing on the wall; a sign that Nakamoto’s tenure as Bitcoin figurehead had reached its inevitable end. His remark that Wikileaks had “kicked the hornet’s nest” referred to the possibility of the controversial whistleblower website turning to bitcoin, after the U.S. government forced companies like Visa, Mastercard and Paypal to blockade the organization. According to an earlier post by Satoshi, the bitcoin project needed “to grow gradually so the software can be strengthened along the way,” and the association with Wikileaks came too early in its development.
As a disoriented Julian Assange attempts to fight extradition to the U.S. in the British courts, having earlier claimed to have made a 50,000% return on bitcoin in the years following Satoshi’s disappearance, it’s interesting to look back to that period – December, 2010 – when Satoshi’s retreat began and Wikileaks’ investment in bitcoin started being seriously discussed. This was a true fork in the road, significant not only to the history of bitcoin but also to state surveillance and those who would kick back at it.
The Man Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest
You might wonder why Bitcoin’s founder was so alarmed by the news that Wikileaks was seeking to raise funds using the decentralized payment system.