The identity of Bitcoin’s elusive creator has never been definitively proven but that hasn’t stopped people from spinning theories about who Nakamoto really is.
Satoshi Nakamoto is the psedyonym adopted by Bitcoin’s creator, it could be the name of a single person, or a group.
Bitcoin has existed for over ten years, yet no one has uncovered the real identity of Nakamoto.
Initial design sketches of Satoshi Nakamoto statue that was unveiled in Budapest in 2021. The statue depicts a hooded, featureless figure that references the anonymous creator of Bitcoin.
What do we know about Nakamoto?
In August 2008, an anonymous individual registered the domain name bitcoin. org. That October, an author under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto published Bitcoin’s whitepaper, “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.” The whitepaper explained how the digital currency, Bitcoin, would work.
In January 2009, the first version of the Bitcoin network was launched and the very first Bitcoin was mined. Encoded in the Bitcoin genesis block read a message from Nakamoto: “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.” The message’s reference to The Times newspaper led to suggestions that Nakamoto may have been based in the United Kingdom.
Between November 2009 and December 2010, Nakamoto was engaged in discussions with users of bitcointalk.org . The forum’s posts have been meticulously analysed by those hoping to glean an insight into Satoshi’s real identity.
In 2010, Nakamoto gave control of Bitcoin’s source code to software developer Gavin Andresen, stating in an email: “I’ve moved on to other things. It’s in good hands.”
Nakamoto’s activity ceased soon after that last email.
In 2019, Satoshi’s P2P Foundation was fleetingly reactivated to state: “I am not Dorian Nakamoto,” to disprove speculation that suggested the Japanese-American man was Bitcoin’s creator. Nakamoto has since remained silent.
The Bitcoin wallets associated with Nakamoto have not been accessed nor the funds within them spent since 2019.
Good or Bad Satoshi?
It is estimated that Nakamoto owns 1 million bitcoins which is worth more than $42 billion today. There are two main theories that attempt to explain Nakamoto’s disappearance:
The Good Satoshi hypothesis suggests that Nakamoto simply wanted to let Bitcoin go so that it could develop on its own.
The Bad Satoshi hypothesis argues that Nakamoto wanted to take the money and maintain privacy.
Many people have claimed to be Nakamoto, in an attempt to gain wealth and power within the crypto space. However, such attempts have been dismissed as elaborate hoaxes by cryptocurrency experts.
There have been many attempts to reveal Satoshi Nakamoto’s real identity. Nakamoto never spelt their name with Japanese kanji characters. So, it’s impossible to make a clear direct translation of the name. However, attempted translations suggest the name could mean “clear thinking,” “logic,” “reason,” or “justice.”
Some refer to Nakamoto’s use of British English linguistic quirks and spellings, and the reference to The Times in the Genesis block and suggest their origin may have been British.
One researcher tracked the times of Satoshi’s activity on bitccointalk. org suggesting a “steep decline” in activity between 5am and 11am GMT.
Finney was a cryptographer and software developer and was the first individual to receive BTC. He interacted with Nakamoto regularly on bitcointalk.org . He died in 2014, which some suggest explains why Nakamoto’s BTC supply remains untouched.
An American computer scientist who coined the term “smart contract,” a major component of Ethereum. Some have suggested similarities in Nakamoto and Szabo’s writing styles. “The number of linguistic similarities between Szabo’s writing and the Bitcoin whitepaper is uncanny,” the researchers reported. Szabo denies claims that he is Nakamoto.
Craig Steven Wright
Australian scientist, Craig Wright was suggested by Wired Magazine as being a Nakamoto candidate, claiming it had “obtained the strongest evidence yet of Satoshi Nakamoto’s true identity.”
The “evidence” included references to a “cryptocurrency paper” published on Wright’s blog months before Bitcoin’s whitepaper was circulated, as well as leaked emails referencing a “P2P distributed ledger.”
These claims have since been called into doubt as Wired followed up the report to highlight several inconsistencies in the story. The blog entries were also apparently backdated.
Wright continues to claim that he was the creator of Bitcoin, but he is yet to provide any publicly accepted evidence.
A systems engineer was named as Bitcoin’s creator by Newsweek. However, he denied any connection to the cryptocurrency and Nakamoto’s P2P Foundation account announced that “I am not Dorian Nakamoto.”
Musk was briefly named a possible candidate in 2017 but he denied it.
For now, the mystery of Satoshi Nakamoto’s identity endures. What do you think happened to Nakamoto?
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