Easter Egg Hunt: Your macOS Is Hiding A Copy of the Bitcoin Whitepaper

Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) has apparently included Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin Whitepaper in all macOS versions since it launched Mojave in 2018.

Developer Andy Baio accidentally discovered the file when he was trying to fix his printer. He found a PDF copy of the whitepaper written by the mysterious Bitcoin inventor. Baio did what any developer would do and asked his friends to check if they could find it in their macOS, too, by opening Terminal and using the following command:

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

Et voila! It was confirmed that they had the Bitcoin whitepaper, too. Baio then learned that in 2020, a designer named Joshua Dickens also found the whitepaper, Dickens’ discovery inspired an April 2021 Apple Community post

But, they still didn’t know why, of all the documents available, they used the Bitcoin whitepaper. And this is where we go to 9to5mac.

This isn’t another U2’s Songs of Innocence album situation, it appears. 9to5mac dismisses it as an inside joke, saying that “Apple’s internal software is full of references and jokes. After all, engineers never expect that users will access these files.”

Writer Filipe Espósito says that the file was never meant to be found by regular Mac users, as it’s located in a folder for internal testing by Apple engineers, the same folder that also contains other random PDF files and images. These files are used to “​​simulate the process of scanning and exporting documents and images with the app without actually needing a scanner.”

Espósito concludes that “engineers didn’t bother to remove this tool” from the final build because it didn’t have sensitive information. It’s also likely that the file was chosen for its compact size and how it contains no proprietary information, it’s just more interesting to think of it as a sort of easter egg.

Information for this briefing was found via Waxy, 9to5mac, Twitter, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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