Satoshi Nakamoto is the anonymous name used by the creator or creators of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. Despite the name being synonymous with cryptocurrency, the real person the name represents has never been found. This has led to the belief that it may not even be by one individual, and may possibly be by a group or entity.
What is known is that Satoshi Nakamoto published a paper in 2008 that kickstarted the development of cryptocurrency and a financial revolution.
Nakamoto proposed a decentralized approach to transaction, culminating in the creation of blockchains. In a blockchain, timestamps for transactions are added to the end of other timestamps based on proof-of-work. This gives blockchain a historical record that cannot be changed.
There is a series of communications from Nakamoto in 2009. This was conducted electronically, but the lack of personal and background details meant it was difficult to find the identity behind the name.
Satoshi Nakamoto’s involvement with Bitcoin ended in 2010. The final correspondence from Nakamoto was in an email to another crypto developer, which said that they had “moved on to other things.”
Since cryptocurrencies have increased in popularity, there has been interest in the true identity of the creator. However, nobody knows for certain.
Satoshi Nakamoto, if they are still alive today, would be worth over $50 billion. Due to the number of Bitcoins they own, they have significant market power in the world of crypto.
Here are the three most popular suggestions regarding the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto:
In March 2014, Newsweek identified Dorian Nakamoto as the creator of Bitcoin. The report was controversial in both crypto and tech community, as this was the first time a major publication tried to identify the creator.
There are a few similarities, both holding libertarian beliefs and the connection with a Japanese name.
Dorian has denied these allegations strongly, and was later quoted as saying, “I got nothing to do with it.”
Newsweek found themselves in legal hot water also by publishing an image of Nakamoto’s home.
Despite this, the report still benefited Dorian – there was a fundraiser after this time that raised 100 bitcoins on his behalf.
Though most people who are suspected of being Satoshi Nakamoto usually remain quiet or deny the allegation, Craig Wright, an Australian scientist, has reacted differently. In 2015, Wired published a piece on Wright stating that they had “obtained the strongest evidence yet of Satoshi Nakamoto’s true identity.”
Wired’s evidence hinged on Wright’s blog, where there were several references to a “cryptocurrency paper” before the initial bitcoin paper leaked.
In addition, there were leaked emails and correspondence with Wright’s lawyer that referenced a “P2P distributed ledger.” Furthermore, leaked transcripts of meetings with attorneys and tax officials quoted him as saying: “I did my best to try and hide the fact that I’ve been running bitcoin since 2009. By the end of this, I think half the world is going to bloody know.”
Many of these claims have been thrown into doubt – In a follow-up story, Wired noted several inconsistencies in Wright’s story. There are examples of blog entries being backdated. Even Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, who is otherwise reticent about politics in the cryptocurrency world, came out against Wright, publicly calling him a fraud.
Wright has remained unfazed by the criticism and has used the attention to become a prominent member of the crypto community.
Nick Szabo is a computer engineer and legal scholar. He has been credited with pioneering the concept of smart contracts in a 1996 paper. He 2008, Szabo came up with the idea of a decentralized called Bit Gold, which was before the Bitcoin paper was released. The whitepapers for both are very similar in style and content.
Author Dominic Frisby makes the case that Nick Szabo is Satoshi Nakamoto in his book, Bitcoin: The Future of Money? Frisby consulted a stylometrics expert who concluded that Szabo’s writing style was similar to known writings from Satoshi. Another clue is that both Szabo and Satoshi reference economist Carl Menger. In addition, Frisby learned Szabo had worked for DigiCash, an early attempt to bring cryptography to digital payments. In the author’s eyes, this strongly suggested Nick Szabo is Satoshi Nakamoto.
Other popular suggestions:
Hal Finney – Computer scientist and strong member of the cyperphunk community. Finney wrote extensively about Bitcoin, and was the first recipient of Bitcoin.
Vitalik Buterin – A Russian-born Canadian programmer known as one of the primary founders of Ethereum.
Elon Musk – Business Magnate who is suspected by many to be Satoshi.
John McAfee – Eccentric computer programmer who created McAfee and sought the Libertarian Party nomination.
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