Laszlo Hanyecz, a developer who worked on bitcoin as early as 2010, has discussed his interaction with the pseudonymous creator of bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto. Mr. Hanyecz describes his dealings with Satoshi as having been “kind of weird.”
Early BTC Developer Discusses Email Exchanges with Satoshi
Mr. Hanyecz, a programmer known in the bitcoin world for paying a man from Bitcointalk.org 10,000 BTC to order him two pizzas from Papa John’s in 2010, discussed his personal interactions with Satoshi Nakamoto in a recent interview.
After mining bitcoins on his laptop for some time, Mr. Hanyecz reached out to Satoshi to express his desire to contribute to the development of bitcoin. “I thought bitcoin was awesome, and I wanted to be involved, but I had a regular developing job,” Hanyecz said. “Nakamoto would send me emails like ‘Hey, can you fix this bug?’ ‘Hey, can you do this?’”
Mr. Hanyecz “Didn’t Want the Responsibility”
Despite his enthusiasm for bitcoin, Mr. Hanyecz saw his contributions to the cryptocurrency as a side project of secondary importance to his career, and felt as though Satoshi had unrealistic expectations of his involvement.
“He’d say, ‘Hey, the west side’s down,’ or ‘We have these bugs – we need to fix this.’ I’d be like, we? We’re not a team,” Mr. Hanyecz said. “I thought that it was approval from him, that maybe he accepted me as a member. But I didn’t want the responsibility. I didn’t really understand all of the forces that were going on at the time.”
On occasion, Mr. Hanyecz would express his dissatisfaction, recounting that he would say “Hey, you’re not my boss.” Despite the irritation, Mr. Hanyecz states that he “didn’t take it too seriously.”
Interactions with Satoshi Consistently Gave Mr. Hanyecz “A Weird Feeling”
Mr. Hanyecz describes the majority of his interaction with bitcoin’s creator to be “kind of weird.”
Mr. Hanyecz found Satoshi to paranoid in many of their exchanges, stating “There were a few times when I got messages that seemed off-base. I brushed them off because I was like, who cares if this guy tells me to go pound sand and go away? This wasn’t my job or anything – it was a hobby. I was trying to be friends with him. He seemed very paranoid about people breaking the software. He kept calling it ‘prerelease,’ and I was helping him get it to release.”
Looking back, Mr. Hanyecz can empathize with Satoshi’s apparent paranoia, stating that “If anything had happened to the code early on, we wouldn’t be having this conversation today.”
Satoshi Weary of Mining Centralization
According to Mr. Hanyecz, Satoshi Nakamoto was aware of the potential for mining to lead to centralization in bitcoin ownership, stating that Satoshi told him “Well, I’d rather not have you do the mining too much.”
Mr. Hanyecz stated that “[Satoshi] was trying to grow the community and get more commerce use cases. He fully recognized that mining would become a thing where a few people would get wealthy.”
Mr. Hanyecz also stated that Satoshi was careful to maintain anonymity, stating “He or she or whoever it was never told me anything personal. I asked a few questions, but he always dodged them. Those questions never got answered.”