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Former Kickstarter CTO finds Bitcoin white paper hidden in Mac operating system

Bitcoin hidden under cup
Satoshi Nakamoto is the anonymous author of the document that outlined the design of Bitcoin.
Nuthawut Somsuk—iStock/Getty Images

The legend of Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous creator of Bitcoin, lives on: in an Apple computer near you.

Andy Baio, former CTO of Kickstarter, posted Wednesday on his more than two decades old blog that he’d found the Bitcoin white paper—the nine-page document outlining the design of the world’s first cryptocurrency—squirreled away on his MacBook.

“I’ve asked over a dozen Mac-using friends to confirm, and it was there for every one of them,” he wrote. All versions of Mac’s operating systems created after 2018 had the white paper preloaded, he said.

Baio landed upon the PDF when he was trying to scan documents from a combination printer-scanner onto his computer, he told Fortune. He found the white paper, authored by Nakamoto, after trying to connect the scanner to his MacBook, which wasn’t initially appearing on his laptop. On a recently released MacBook, Fortune was able to independently access the PDF in the same location.

The discovery is but the latest in popular culture. Beyond die-hard Bitcoiners—Nakamoto’s text is seen by some as a quasi-religious screed—the white paper has shown up on Formula 1 cars and is sold as wallpaper. The author remains an almost mythological figure, whose mysterious origins and unknown identity have spawned reams of speculative journalism. (Even Elon Musk, the embattled CEO of Twitter and Tesla, has guessed at his identity.)

Baio said he believes the inclusion of the white paper in the tech giant’s software wasn’t an explicit decision by the company.

“In its early history, Apple developers used to hide Easter eggs in the operating system,” he told Fortune. “But I get the impression this wasn’t something that management would have approved of—basically the decision of a single engineer.”

He said an anonymous source told him that someone at Apple flagged the white paper’s inclusion in its operating systems internally, but the task of removing it was assigned to the very same engineer who had initially placed it.

“With this new attention to it,” Baio added, “I’ll be surprised if it isn’t removed in the next beta.”

A spokesperson for Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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