- Bitcoin.org is considered the spiritual home of Bitcoin for many
- The site hosted the whitepaper when Satoshi Nakamoto launched in October 2008
- What is so special about the site and what are its origins?
www.bitcoin.org may not be a website that comes up in conversation among many of the soft-core Bitcoin supporters, but for real purists it remains a kind of Mecca. This is because Bitcoin.org is the spiritual home of Bitcoin, or at least the closest thing we have to it. It is the website where Satoshi Nakamoto first hosted the Bitcoin whitepaper on October 31, 2008 and it has been a Bitcoin beacon in many ways ever since. This means that, like Bitcoin, it has had its fair share of drama in its more than decade-long existence, which we will explore.
Who Owns Bitcoin.org?
The origins of Bitcoin.org are as murky as those of Bitcoin itself. Bitcoin.org was registered in August 2008 by an unknown person using the Anonymous Speech protocol to disguise their true identity. Bitcoin.org says that the site was “originally registered and owned by Bitcoin’s first two developers, Satoshi Nakamoto and Martti Malmi.” Today, the Bitcoin.org domain is WhoisGuard Protected, meaning the identity of the person who registered it is not public information.
11 weeks after buying it, Satoshi uploaded the Bitcoin whitepaper to Bitcoin.org and pointed to it on the Metzdowd cryptographers mailing list. The site was updated with the first ever Bitcoin client, Bitcoin 0.1, on January 9, 2009 and was home to further updates over the following two years.
What Does Bitcoin.org Do?
Bitcoin.org didn’t see much further activity until Satoshi left the Bitcoin project in late 2010, when it was handed over to what the site describes as “additional people, separate from the Bitcoin developers”. Again, this was similar to the intent behind Bitcoin itself, with the stated rationale behind this move being “to spread responsibility and prevent any one person or group from easily gaining control over the Bitcoin project.”
The site was redesigned in 2013, with an expanded knowledge base needed to reflect Bitcoin’s growing popularity, while additional Bitcoin software was added as well as a translation system. The site functions in much the same way today, offering information on Bitcoin, helping you buy it and showing you how to install and run the core Bitcoin client from your home computer.
This client is also the official Bitcoin.org wallet, which is just about the safest and most legitimate you can get, with mobile options also available for download.
As seems standard in the cryptocurrency world, Bitcoin.org hasn’t been without its share of drama. In January 2021, Australian Craig Wright took exception to one crucial aspect of the Bitcoin.org site – the Bitcoin whitepaper itself. Wright, in order to bolster his claim that he was Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto, claimed that the hosting of the Bitcoin whitepaper infringed his copyright, seeing as, in mind, it was his creation.
As a result, he demanded that the whitepaper on Bitcoin.org be taken down, a demand that was ignored by the Bitcoin.org domain owner, who went by the pseudonym Cobra Bitcoin.
This refusal to comply led Wright to do something that many in the Bitcoin space thought that the real Satoshi would never do: he took Cobra Bitcoin to court in the UK, where the site is located, to get a court to force him to take down the whitepaper. Cobra Bitcoin chose not to defend the case on the grounds that he did not want to give up his identity, leading to Wright winning a summary judgment and forcing the Bitcoin whitepaper to be hidden from view by anyone visiting Bitcoin.org from within the UK.
Bitcoin.org Remains Home for Many
Bitcoin.org remains the home of Bitcoin on the internet, and for many newcomers is the first place they visit when wanting to learn about it. In a space where technology and innovation moves at the speed of light, Bitcoin.org remains an anchor to where the whole movement started and an ode to the person, or persons, who created it.