Tuesday, February 7, 2023, 10:07 A.M.
“Good morning!” Satoshi said cheerfully, as he opened the door to Angel’s room.
Angel was already up. She had not changed her clothes, since there were no clothes to change into. She was just brushing her teeth, for the pure pleasure of the act. There was of course not much point in guarding against tooth decay for her. She would be dead in a week anyway. Caries would have no chance to get at her in that short time frame.
But she really enjoyed it. She had enjoyed taking a short bath even more. That was a treat even for Royalty in the 24th Century. Both water and energy were in short supply. Wasting a whole tub of hot water just to get clean was out of the question in her World.
“Good morning,” Angel said. “Did you sleep well? Dream something nice?”
“Yes,” Satoshi said. “I slept well. But I don’t remember any dreams. Though I’m not quite sure. Maybe this is actually one long dream.” He smiled.
“What’s for breakfast?” Angel asked. “This will be my first breakfast ever in the Paradise Era. I expect something worth my time.”
“You won’t be disappointed. I had some people set up the breakfast table while you were sleeping. Over here,” Satoshi said, and led Angel to the living room. There was a breakfast buffet set up. Milk. Cereal. Bread. All sorts of bread, from croissants to baguettes to toast, German pretzels and Indian Naan bread, and many other variations. Coffee. Honey, marmalade, ham, sausages. There was even some Japanese-style rice and fish, with radish and nori edible sea weed to go with it.
“Thank you very much. This looks delicious,” Angel said. “You really are rich. How come? Did you choose your parents wisely? That’s what I have done, you know.”
“No, actually my parents were just normal people,” Satoshi said. “I got lucky about 14 years ago.”
“How?” Angel asked.
“I am not sure I want to talk about it,” Satoshi said. “I have always kept this strictly to myself. For well over ten years now.”
“You can trust me,” Angel said, helping herself to some cereal with milk. “I am not going to tell anyone. And I’m going to be dead in a week anyway.”
“Okay,” Satoshi said. “I’ll make an exception for you.”
“Go ahead. I’m all ears.”
“I already knew that much,” Angel said, slightly annoyed. Then, after a moment, she reconsidered.
“YOU are Saint Satoshi?” she said. “I can’t believe it. With billions of people around in your Century, the first guy I meet is THE Satoshi. And in a McDonald’s restaurant, of all places! Are you kidding me?”
“No. I’m Satoshi. Believe me. I’ve got the PGP key, if you want proof.”
“I see. So you must own a bitcoin or two. I have never studied the early history of the Bitcoin network in detail, actually. Mind telling me about it?” Angel asked.
“Well, you know that I started this project of a new Internet currency based on math in 2008. It was an interesting experiment at the time. I had no idea if it would take off.” Satoshi took a bite of his croissant.
“I could have told you at the time,” Angel said.
“I guess you could have,” Satoshi said. “Anyway, I mined some of my own coins and bought some more cheap from other people until about the summer of 2010. I got to around 900,000 when I stopped buying, a couple of months after I dropped out of the project. I’ve only got around 770,000 left, but that’s still a nice little pile of money.”
“What are they worth right now?” Angel asked. “I did not research that detail before I left my World.”
“The last quote at the Electronic Broking Services is around $123,000,” Satoshi said.
“So you’ve got what, around 9 billion dollars?” Angel asked.
“No. That would be around 94 billion,” Satoshi said, smiling. “Though I keep only minor amounts of traditional currency, only a billion dollars or two. Most of it is in Chinese yuan. They are worth less every couple of years, though the yuan is somewhat more solid than the dollar.”
“So why did you drop out?” Angel said. “People have been wondering ever since who Satoshi Nakamoto actually is in real life.”
“That’s easy. I understood that the Bitcoin network would be very big early on. If I had stayed in the project, I would now be known to everyone on the planet as the World’s richest person. Do you realize the security I would have needed? Do you understand that I would have been forever haunted by a bunch of paparazzi? What is the point of being rich if everyone knows about it?”
“I can understand that,” Angel said. “I’ve been there. I have been famous from the moment I was born. These paparazzi guys are really a pain in the ass. I could never move without serious security. Actually, that’s a big bonus for me coming back to your World as well. No one has a clue that I am a Princess here. Another reason why I am in no hurry to start my mission,” Angel said. “And thanks for trusting me with your secret.”
“You won’t tell anyone?” Satoshi was looking at her somewhat anxiously. This was a big risk he was taking.
“Of course not,” Angel said. “Why would I? You are helping me a lot. And you are actually rather cute.”
“Thanks. I knew my secret would be safe with you,” Satoshi said.
“So, let’s get to business again. Would you mind setting me up with a Bitcoin wallet and a small sum of money in it?” Angel said.
“Take one of mine,” Satoshi said. He walked over to a wall. Then he removed a cheap painting hanging there, revealing a safe. He took a couple of moments to turn the combination. Then he opened the door. He removed a smartphone and shut the safe door. Then he put the painting back.
He handed the smartphone to Angel.
“There are 777 millibitcoin stored on this device. They have never been used before. I have deposited them right out of one of the coins I mined myself. The phone is a prepaid anonymous model,” Satoshi explained.
“What? You still have prepaid anonymous phone service?” Angel asked. “I must have got my history wrong there.”
“Technically, you are right. There are some background payments involved. But if you know whom to pay, you can get away with anonymous phone service even now. Actually, it’s not exactly anonymous. It’s in the name of one of the several hundred identities I have collected over the years. I’ve got a matching foreign passport, social security number, background story, all that, right in that safe,” Satoshi said. “This is something I have been studying and investing in for a long time. Obviously I need the ability to spend my money anonymously if I don’t want to come out as the World’s richest person. Or I would need to start marketing my books so as to sell more of them, so as to explain my money. Neither of those scenarios appeal to me.”
“Thanks again,” Angel said. “I just realized you own more bitcoins than are left in my World. Wow! That’s impressive!”
“What? There are less than 770,000 left?” Satoshi sounded surprised.
“Well, a couple of centuries of people forgetting private keys, wallets lost, general chaos as global warming strikes in earnest, all of that combined will do that. There are only about 570,000 bitcoins left in the 24th Century.”
“And still nobody has come up with an attack?” Satoshi asked, rather pleased with the news that the Bitcoin network had survived three centuries.
“Yes. It is the only kind of money anyone uses now. You morons burnt up all the fossil fuel and left us with global warming. But you did leave us the Internet. And the Bitcoin network,” Angel said. “So, let me try this out”
Angel took the card out of her pocket that the woman in the McDonald’s had handed her. She held it up to the phone. The address was scanned into the device in an instant.
Angel chose the amount. 7 millibitcoin, which would work out to around $861.
“What’s that about?” Satoshi asked.
“I am paying back a loan. I got $30 from some woman yesterday in that McDonald’s. I thought I might add a little extra, since I’m grateful she helped me out. That was my first money ever in your World,” Angel explained.
“I see. By the way, I need to know more about your World,” Satoshi said. “It’s a fascinating story.”
“I’ll tell you over lunch,” Angel said. “Right now, I need to go shopping and buy myself some clothes. Care to come with me?”
Link to Part 07: The Solar Cross