The surprising inclusion of Bitcoin’s white paper in macOS

1 min read
The surprising inclusion of Bitcoin's white paper in macOS

Apple has been found to have included a copy of Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin white paper in every macOS since 2018. According to technologist Andy Baio, he discovered the PDF copy of the Bitcoin white paper while attempting to fix his printer. After several tests, Baio concluded that the white paper came with every macOS version since Mojave in 2018.

The white paper, titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” was published in October 2008 by the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto. The paper outlines the mechanisms that power the world’s largest cryptocurrency by market value. The paper’s abstract reads: “A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.”

Baio suggested that the document could be located by opening the terminal and typing the command he provided [check just below this paragraph]. He also confirmed that the document should immediately open in Preview as a PDF file for those using macOS 10.14 or later.

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

Baio’s discovery has sparked curiosity as to why Apple would include a copy of the Bitcoin white paper in its operating system. Baio said he found very little evidence of the document being present in the macOS, except for a lone Twitter thread from November 2020.

Maybe it was just a convenient, lightweight multipage PDF for testing purposes, never meant to be seen by end-users,” Baio speculated.

The presence of the document, however, could be interpreted as Apple’s endorsement of the cryptocurrency. This news comes as Bitcoin continues to grow in popularity and value. As of Thursday, Bitcoin is hovering around $27,925 and has rallied 68% so far in 2023. Nearly 24% of those gains have come in March, amid broader banking turmoil and uncertainty.