The white paper for Bitcoin is commonly seen as one of the most important and inspirational computer science papers in modern history. Bitcoin launched a billion dollar industry and thousands of follow up research papers. However, it is worth looking at the paper with more of an eagle eye as we ask how accurate was that Bitcoin white paper? And perhaps most importantly, how much does it actually answer? So to start with we’re going to go through Bitcoin inaccuracies in its white paper and then explain the things it was accurate about.The inaccuraciesAside from a few features in the early versions of the Bitcoin code, such as a built-in e-commerce system and a pay to IP address which never got released. Despite these, there are some features of Bitcoin which are just plain wrong and no crypto firm would repeat them today.One of the many inaccuracies includes the flexibility of transactions. This was an unintentional issue but has led to restless nights for features such as payment networks as well as the infamous attack on Mt. Gox. In today’s world, a design issue would use something like a witness to double check transaction IDs are unique and predictable. ECDSA is another inaccuracy of the white paper. The signature algorithm was a better choice than RSA for example. and Satoshi probably wasn’t aware of this option and so Schnorr would probably be a more advanced signature scheme such as BLS.The accuraciesAs said by CoinDesk,
“One mark of a truly successful idea is that it people forget how people looked at the world before that idea came around. Many of the most fundamental contributions of Bitcoin seem somewhat obvious in hindsight, but were not at all at the time.”
However, it is easy to forget that crypto was a research backwater for most of the 2000s and after many failed attempts to build a working system, not many papers were published on the topic. Many simply believe there isn’t a viable market for a non-state currency. One of the accuracies include a simplified payment verification, the division between full nodes and light, or SPV, nodes have proven to be quite powerful and the block structure embedded into Bitcoin has made this a natural way of looking at the system. What are your thoughts? Let us know what you think down below in the comments!