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Apple Removes Bitcoin Whitepaper ‘Easter Egg’ from Latest MacOS Beta

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An image of a MacBook

Barely three weeks since the viral discovery of the Bitcoin whitepaper secretly residing inside all versions of Mac operating systems (MacOS), Apple has reportedly resolved to ditch the ‘easter egg' incorporated since 2018. 9to5Mac, a website popular for leaking hardware and software specifications of upcoming Apple devices, reported on Tuesday that the giant tech firm has removed the Virtual Scanner II tool under which the paper's file was veiled.

Apple concealed Bitcoin whitepaper in MacBooks since 2018

A user named bernd178 discovered in April 2021 that every copy of MacOS unveiled since 2017 contained the Bitcoin Whitepaper.  bernd178 inadvertently found ‘gem' in the Image Capture Utility, according to a post he made to the MacOS Community Forum at the time. The function, Virtual Scanner II, resides discreetly within the tool and is not activated by default, where users can also find an unremarkable image of a San Francisco bay. When he stumbled upon the Package Content, bernd178 came across a PDF document of the original Bitcoin whitepaper by Satoshi Nakamoto. However, some fellow users seemed indifferent to the find, with users such as Barney-15E dismissing it as unimportant. The issue came to light again this year after blogger Andy Baio recently highlighted that every macOS since Mojave (v 10.14.0) in 2018 has a copy of the document.

Bitcoin ‘enthusiasts' at Apple?

In his blog, Baio asked why the BTC whitepaper was selected out of all other documents in the world, pondering whether a secret Bitcoin maximalist is working at Apple or if it was an order from higher up. Notably, Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly declared his support for crypto in November 2021 during an interview, revealing that he has invested in both Bitcoin and Ethereum and has been a crypto enthusiast for a considerable amount of time.

Little information is available on the matter, with the only indication being the filename “simpledoc.pdf”, which is a lightweight multi-page PDF that may have been designed purely for testing purposes and not intended for the public eye, according to the independent blogger. Baio was apparently tipped off anonymously by an employee who claimed the issue was raised internally almost a year prior. The same engineer liable for uploading the PDF was notified of the problem but neither took action nor provided any feedback since.

Whitepaper removed in the latest version of its OS upgrade

The discovery of the PDF file inclusion earlier this month came as a point of curiosity to many. Expectedly, Apple followers remained keen on scrutinizing MacOS 14, set to arrive later this year, for evidence of the paper. Latest reports have since confirmed that the nine-page paper will not be present in MacOS Ventura 13.4, whose beta 3 version released to developers this week. The decision to stop shipping a copy of Satoshi Nakamoto's whitepaper suggests that the inclusion of the whitepaper on Macintosh computers was probably meant for testing and not to be discovered by users.

Williams team featured an imprint of the whitepaper at the Australian GP, courtesy of Kraken

Apple isn’t the first brand outside the digital assets space to embrace cryptocurrencies, at least, on paper. As the hum of engines and the energy of Formula 1 racing enthusiasts from all over the world gathered in Melbourne, Kraken aimed to elevate the crypto space by targeting a sport that lures a massive 1.6 billion spectators throughout its 20-country run. The exchange imprinted the opening excerpt of the whitepaper shaped to fit its logo on the nose cone of the Williams. Kraken Chief Marketing Officer Mayur Gupta termed the effort as a sign of the exchange’s unwavering support and involvement in crypto's mission. Gupta added that the inclusion provides a chance to showcase the founding document that initiated this immense movement to a sport that garners attention from millions of fans worldwide. Kraken previously announced a partnership to become the Williams Racing team’s first-ever official crypto and Web3 partner.

To learn more about Bitcoin, check out our Investing in Bitcoin guide.

Sam is a financial content specialist with a keen interest in the blockchain space. He has worked with several firms and media outlets in the Finance and Cybersecurity fields.