On the day of the 48th birthday of Satoshi Nakamoto, tech blogger Andy Baio discovered that a PDF copy of the Bitcoin whitepaper, originally published in 2008, has been "apparently shipped with every copy of macOS since Mojave in 2018."
Baio stumbled upon the hidden whitepaper trying to fix a problem with his printer. The Bitcoin whitepaper is found in the Image Capture utility as a sample document for a hidden device called "Virtual Scanner II," whose purpose is unclear, but it may be related to the "Import from iPhone" feature.
Upon further investigation, Baio found that the link to the Bitcoin whitepaper was present in every modern copy of macOS from Mojave (10.14.0) to the current version, Ventura (13.3), meaning that millions of Apple computer users have had access to the whitepaper without even realizing it.
This discovery has sparked interest and excitement in the Bitcoin community. The whitepaper is considered to be the foundation of the Bitcoin network and is revered by many as a groundbreaking work of computer science. It is rare to find such an important document hidden in plain sight, especially in an operating system used by millions of people worldwide.
The discovery of the hidden whitepaper has also raised questions about the motives of Apple. Some think Apple intentionally added the Bitcoin whitepaper to macOS as a deliberate nod to the cryptocurrency community. Others have suggested that it was simply an oversight or an accident.
But whatever the reasons for the appearance of such an Easter egg, it looks like now is the time to ask yourself:
Then don't trust, verify™:
– and read (yes, do yourself a favor) that nine-page doc that started the change in the monetary system underway for the last 14 years.
Or, for those not comfortable with Terminal, open Finder, click on Macintosh HD (at the very root level), then open the System → Library → Image Capture → Devices folder. Control-click on VirtualScanner.app and Show Package Contents, open the Contents → Resources folder inside, then open simpledoc.pdf.
That feels pretty cool, actually: