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Apple’s macOS has a hidden Bitcoin easter egg
April 7, 2023

Apple’s macOS has a hidden Bitcoin easter egg

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Satoshi, are you here?

A copy of the Bitcoin whitepaper, a seminal document authored by pseudonymous author Satoshi Nakamoto, can be found in every copy of Apple’s macOS since Mojave.

The file, unearthed by Waxy, isn’t exactly hidden, though it’s not very easy to be found unless you know exactly where to look for. To see it, open the Terminal app and paste the following string into it: ‘open /System/Library/Image\ Capture/Devices/’

Another way to see it is to open Finder, click on Macintosh HD at the bottom of the window, then System – Library – Image Capture – Devices. There, right click on and choose ‘Show Package Contents.’ Open Resources, and click on ‘simpledoc.pdf.’

The ‘simpledoc.pdf’ is a PDF document containing the nine-page Bitcoin whitepaper in its entirety. It appears to have been put there as one of several sample documents, including another PDF called ‘numbers.pdf,’ containing only four numbers in very large typeface, as well as a mysterious image called ‘cover.jpg,’ which is a photo that appears to have been taken on Treasure Island in San Francisco.

The discovery of the image and the Bitcoin whitepaper isn’t entirely new; designer Joshua Dickens found them in 2020, though it didn’t gain much traction online at the time.

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I found the files on my Mac which runs the latest version of macOS Ventura, 13.2.1, and one of my colleagues at MediaDownloader found it on their Mac, running Big Sur 11.7, as well. The files appear to be there in every copy of macOS since Mojave (10.14.0), which was launched in 2018.

It’s unclear why Apple would deliberately choose to include the Bitcoin whitepaper in macOS. The document, titled ‘Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,’ was originally published by Nakamoto in 2008 and contains a technical overview of the Bitcoin protocol. Apple has never, to my knowledge, publicly endorsed Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency; in fact, the company has been fairly reserved when it comes to crypto (unlike, say, Samsung, which includes a cryptocurrency wallet software on its Galaxy phones). CEO Tim Cook did say in 2021 that crypto is something the company is ‘looking at,’ though he did also say Apple had nothing crypto-related to announce at the time.

A likely explanation is that an Apple engineer tasked with coming up with some sample documents chose the Bitcoin whitepaper and the mysterious image just for fun, though we’re sure the internet will quickly come up with conspiracy theories of all sorts in a minute.


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