Timechain is Satoshis Original Vision for Blockchain and Bitcoin


In the year 2019, the term blockchain is so ubiquitous that the Oxford dictionary has felt compelled to include its definition, and text processors no longer highlight it as a typo. However, as presented in the 2008 pre-release source code of Bitcoin (which circulated on the cypherpunk mailing list), the first name of blockchain was actually timechain.

Prominent Canadian bitcoiner Francis Pouliot has recently highlighted a series of lesser-known facts in a Twitter thread, and its strange to see how little the general public knows about the early phases of Bitcoin. For mostly ideological reasons, there is a crowd of people who choose to believe that Satoshis cryptocurrency was a quickly-coded project which arrived as a response to the 2008 financial crisis.

While it might be true that the release could have been rushed to synchronize with the Chancellor on the brink of second bailout for banks headline, these bits of information reveal a thorough review process that usually isnt allowed to obstruct the way of a romanticized story.

The original definition of "TIMECHAIN" (what plebs call "blockchain") by Satoshi himself.

Spoiler: a chain of blocks

— Francis Pouliot ₿ (@francispouliot_) March 14, 2019

The idea of the blockchain being called a timechain back in late 2008 is a clear reminder that Satoshi wasnt exactly certain about his decisions, the technology was still in its infancy, and there really isnt something prophetic about the work of the mysterious cypherpunk (or group of cypherpunks). Its innovative, but it arrived at this stage and to the conclusions of the whitepaper through constant trial and error that we seldom talk about.

Furthermore, the Bitcoin terminologies in this pre-release source code reveal another peculiarity: the BTC unit was referred to as coin, while the satoshis were called cents. In the age where Lightning allows users to send amounts smaller than one Satoshi (the hundred millionth part of a bitcoin), this comes as an interesting historic fact which reveals the original intentions of the creator.

Features included in the original Bitcoin design that have been removed

Timechains and cents aside, there is more information to be discovered in this early prototype of Bitcoin. For instance, a section described in the source code as // Add atoms to user reviews for coins created indicates that some kind of rating system was intended to be included. According to cryptographer and early Bitcoin developer Mike Hearn, Satoshi wanted to add an integrated P2P eBay-style market which establishes a reputation system thats based on the amount of individual mining performed. Interestingly, this addition was completely dropped and never mentioned again – yet another proof that the creator was undecided and willing to ...

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Tags: Blockchain, Bitcoin, Coin, block, The Oxford English Dictionary, Chain, Francis Pouliot, block