Earlier this month, it was discovered that Apple had included a copy of the Bitcoin whitepaper in every release of macOS since the 2018 release of macOS Mojave. However, now that's coming to an end. 9to5Mac found that in the most recent beta release of macOS Ventura (13.4 beta 3), the copy of the paper stashed deep in the system file is gone.
It's unclear why the whitepaper, authored by the presumably pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, ever ended up in shipped versions of macOS in the first place. The document was in a folder within the Image Capture software, including a tool called VirtualScanner.app, which was also removed from the beta. Virtual Scanner II may have been an internal tool for testing scanning without any actual hardware.
Why the Bitcoin whitepaper? It may have been a test document that was never supposed to be seen by the public. Whether it was an in-joke among developers or just an easy file to use will never be known for sure.
If you haven't yet updated, you can still find the document with the following command in Terminal:
open /System/Library/Image\ Capture/Devices/VirtualScanner.app/Contents/Resources/simpledoc.pdf
Presumably, the document and affiliated application will be removed from the final version of macOS Ventura 13.4.
Whether an in-joke or a vestige of testing, it makes sense that Apple is extracting the document from macOS. After technologist Andy Baio posted on his blog about the document, the press covered it thoroughly (including Tom's Hardware). At the moment, Apple has no business in cryptocurrency (outside of wallet and exchange apps allowed on its App Store), and the PDF emboldened conspiracy theorists claiming that Nakamato was actually Apple co-founder and long-time CEO Steve Jobs.
In November 2021, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that while he personally owns cryptocurrency "as part of a diversified portfolio," the company had no intentions to buy any.
Most Mac owners won't notice the change, but it was a fun gag while it lasted.