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Bitcoin white paper is hidden in every modern Apple Mac

17 Apr, 2023
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Is Steve Jobs Satoshi Nakamoto? The truth behind Apple's bizarre Bitcoin easter egg

This April, many people around the world celebrated Easter by hunting for hidden eggs in their gardens. At the same time, the tech world was rocked by a surprising Bitcoin (BTC) - related discovery that had remained secret for at least five years. And no, it wasn't an April Fools' prank!

On 5 April, technologist Andy Baio broke the news that a copy of the Bitcoin white paper has been included in every copy of macOS since 2018's Mojave, meaning that anyone who has a modern Apple computer has had a crypto secret on it all this time. In a blog post, Baio recounted how he found it by exploring his Mac's printer/scanner features while trying to fix his printer (a relatable story for any Mac user). He encountered a device called "Virtual Scanner II", which displayed a photo by default. But when Baio changed the media type from "Photo" to "Document", he was greeted with a PDF of Nakamoto's white paper.

Baio then reached out to fellow Mac owners to confirm if the same document was on their devices. After a wave of corroborating evidence, he now claims that the file is found on every macOS version from Mojave (10.14.0) onwards, including the current Ventura version.

Satoshi revealed?

Baio's discovery sent shockwaves throughout the tech community. For one thing, Apple hasn't exactly been known for being a crypto-friendly company. In fact, Apple's insistence on imposing its 30% App Store fee for crypto apps has made the Cupertino company unpopular with some blockchain developers, so many eyebrows were raised at finding that this particular document was being shipped with all modern Macs.

On the most extreme end, some crypto influencers speculated that Satoshi Nakamoto, the elusive inventor of Bitcoin, was none other than a pseudonym of Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple and tech superstar.

Lark Davis, a Bitcoin blogger with over a million followers, highlighted in a tweet that Satoshi disappeared in December 2010, and Steve Jobs passed away less than a year later in 2011. However, the fact that the white paper appeared on Mac computers seven years after the Apple co-founder's death makes it impossible for him to be the one responsible for inserting the document into the OS. Plus, he was probably quite busy developing the iPhone at the time. The other Apple founder, Steve Wozniak, has previously praised Bitcoin for being "pure gold mathematics" but has also gone on record as stating that we don't know who the creator of Bitcoin could be.

Barring the possibility of a conspiracy of Bitcoin maximalists infiltrating the company to carry out Satoshi's secret plan throughout all those years, it's more likely an in-joke among tech-savvy testers. Baio himself posits that the Bitcoin white paper was "just a convenient, lightweight multipage PDF for testing purposes, never meant to be seen by end users."

Baio's advice for accessing the Bitcoin white paper on an Apple Mac

Any device — whether it's an iMac, Macbook Pro, Air, or other — can access the Bitcoin white paper if running macOS Mojave 10.18 or later. Baio suggests that users who want to check this for themselves can simply open a macOS terminal and enter:

open /System/Library/Image\
Capture/Devices/VirtualScanner.app/Contents/Resources/simpledoc.pdf

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