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Bitcoin Magazine Podcast

Oct 20, 2021

"Imagine that you are a military commander trying to invade Byzantium hundreds of years ago during the Ottoman Empire. Your army has a dozen generals, all posted in different locations. How do you coordinate a surprise attack on the city at a certain time? What if spies break through your ranks and tell some of your generals to attack sooner, or to hold off? The entire plan could go awry.

The metaphor translates to computer science: How can individuals who are not physically with each other reach consensus without a central coordinator?


For decades, this was a major obstacle for decentralized digital cash. If two parties could not precisely agree on the state of an economic ledger, users could not know which transactions were valid, and the system could not prevent double-spending. Hence all ecash prototypes needed an administrator.

The magic solution came in the form of a mysterious post on an obscure email list on Friday, October 31, 2008, when Nakamoto shared a white paper, or concept note, for Bitcoin."

Join Guy Swann as he narrates "The Quest for Digital Cash", a remarkable piece written by Alex Gladstein where he dives into the history of digital money and the remarkable journey of Bitcoin in particular: evolving from just an idea in the minds of cypherpunks to a worldwide settlement network on the path to becoming global base layer money. 


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