John Nash, Bitcoin and Peace

24 May

John Nash, the brilliant game theorist and paranoid schizophrenic portrayed in the movie A Beautiful Mind starring Russell Crowe, died today.

There has been a lot of speculation about whether Nash invented Bitcoin or not because he gave a lecture called Ideal Money where a commodity like Bitcoin, not controllable by any government, works as a peg against currency.

Bitcoin works in exactly the same way as that theorized by John Nash in Ideal Money, which has let to the speculation that Nash is, in fact, Satoshi Nakamoto the author of the Bitcoin white paper.

The book Becoming Satoshi theorizes that Nash influenced Nakamoto, but that they are not one and the same.  Curious is the lack of reference to Nash in Nakamoto’s white paper, but under the theory presented in Becoming Satoshi, it appears intentionally deleted from the white paper to hide Satoshi’s trail (one that he then partially replays in the book).

Irrespective of whether Nash influence Nakamoto, he was a theoretical genius whose game theory influenced generations of people.  Nash’s final message, likely learned through repeatedly replaying the human condition in his own mind, was that peace was the dominant strategy – and that only through cooperation could mankind survive and achieve its true place in the stars (watch the video in this article where Nash discusses the future of mankind).

If Nash really did have anything to do with Bitcoin (or truly influenced its creator), then Bitcoin was created to help achieve peace.