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1st Statue to Bitcoin Creator Unveiled in Budapest

Art

Photo courtesy of Satoshi statue team.

What is described as the world’s first statue of Satoshi Nakamoto, the mysterious figure behind the creation of Bitcoin, has been unveiled in Graphisoft Park, Budapest.

The unveiling at 6 p.m. on September 16 was preceded by a few words from András Györfi, an editor at Hungarian cryptocurrency web portal Kripto Akadémia, who had the original idea and led the project.

He spoke first about the significance of the statue being located in Graphisoft Park, which hosts several tech-inspired sculptures, including a piece by Ernő Rubik, famed for his cube, and a statue of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

But the park also includes memorials to other figures some would think are unrelated, although Györfi sees a relation between them all, as those who strove to improve the world through developing unconventional ideas.

“The creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto fits in the group of people perfectly,” he said. János Kocsány, CEO of Graphisoft Park, highlighted that this had been the largest gathering for a statue unveiling in the park’s history.

Although no one knows who Satoshi Nakamoto actually is, since that person has never revealed themselves in public, what is known is that a person using that pseudonym published a whitepaper entitled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” on October 31, 2008. Nakamoto proceeded to implement the bitcoin software as open-source code in January 2009, establishing what became known as the first blockchain.

It is for the latter achievement of creating the blockchain technology, perhaps even more so than inventing the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency, that Györfi decided to create a statue of Nakamoto.

“Blockchain technology is a better solution in so many areas of life, from healthcare to logistics to the delivery of relief supplies. It's a database that offers an incomparably higher level of security and protection than ever before. It's much harder to manipulate; it is even almost impossible,” Györfi said, speaking on the merits of blockchain technology.

“And all this is the merit of the founder of Bitcoin. He brought a lot of value to the world, so I thought he deserved a statue.”

The Blockchain Ledger

Blockchain is the system behind Bitcoin, the world’s first and still most valuable cryptocurrency. One could think of it as a ledger distributed between computers worldwide, with each transaction secured through the cracking of a cryptographic equation, which creates a block. Subsequent transactions create new blocks, which include information about each previous block, forming an immutable chain.

Additionally, altering these records is nearly infeasible, as it would require control over a majority of a network spread out across the globe. The efficiency and security of distributed ledger technology (DLT) is what gives cryptocurrencies their appeal, and also has implications, as Györfi mentioned.

Although the fledgling asset class has amassed nearly USD 2 trillion in total market capitalization, its volatility, complexity, and lack of any apparent inherent value keep institutional investors wary of cryptocurrencies. Despite this, there are thriving communities devoted to them developing all over the world, including Budapest.

After being inspired to create the statue, Györfi reached out to that community to pursue the idea. Eventually, this led him to collaborate with Imre Szilágyi, the founder of Blockchain Budapest, a leading blockchain conference in Hungary; Gabriella Debreczeni-Rasko at Mr. Coin, a market leading crypto exchange in Hungary; and Kornél Kalocsai, president of Blockchain Hungary, an association for crypto projects in Hungary.

Once the initial idea was agreed, the collaborators raised money via a crowdsourcing campaign, through which the statue was funded exclusively with Bitcoin and additional cryptocurrency Binance Coin. Through a former colleague, Györfi was connected with Hungarian sculptors Réka Gergely and Tamás Gilly, who designed the bust based on some of the team’s concepts and created it over the summer.

Although Györfi initially thought that the bust should sport a fedora with a card bearing the bitcoin logo, collaborator Debreczeni-Rasko suggested a different approach, given the subject’s mysterious, technological background. “He has to wear a hoodie,” Györfi recalled her saying.

Despite no one knowing what Nakamoto looks like, the team took this opportunity to symbolize that Nakamoto could be anyone. To reflect the anonymous nature of Bitcoin’s creator, the bronze bust features an aluminum composite on its face, giving it a mirror-sheen. By seeing their own face reflected in the statue, Györfi hopes that onlookers will be inspired by the idea that “we are all Satoshi.”

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of September 24, 2021.

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