More Than Just a Name: Who or What Is Satoshi Nakamoto? The Facts That We Have
There are mysteries that we all have to deal with from personal to international. One of the mysteries that still hounds the cryptocurrency world is the one that surrounds one particular name: Satoshi Nakamoto, the illustrious and yet unknown figure that stood behind the creation and introduction of Bitcoin.
While the true face of Nakamoto, among other things, remain a mystery, we will be using these articles as a way to piece together all that we do know about them. From everything they had previously written, to who the media believed was the true’ Nakamoto and whether there are still people out there who once previously bore the mantel.
We may never fully know who Satoshi Nakamoto is, but with this series, we hope to, at the very least, shrink down the number of people who could resemble the illustrious figure.
Whatever could be construed as a public record of Satoshi Nakamoto can be easily condensed into a span of fewer than two years. While a brief legacy’ the amount of buzz surrounding these records have kept forums, social media pages and financial experts ensconced in the possible answer to the question.
Not only would it be one of the internets biggest mysteries being solved, but whoever rightfully claimed to be Nakamoto would gain immediate legendary status for their involvement in the development of blockchain, the technology which is (and continues to) revolutionize the world as we know it.
Not only is there a legend to claim, but a fortune as well; one that is believed to total nearly 1 million Bitcoin. This means, by today’s valuation of Bitcoin, would mean an inheritance’ of over 8 Billion dollars, not accounting for future fluctuation, however.
One of the most comprehensive profiles we have for Nakamoto comes from their P2P foundation page, Satoshi Nakamoto is (or was) a 43-year-old male originating from Japan. This suggests that he is most active during the Japanese time cycle, but upon studying their posting behavior, it implies that they follow the GMT cycle due a habit of disappearing from 5am-11am yet being active during the earlier to late afternoon.
While that isn’t evidence enough to suggest that while Nakamoto wasn’t in Japan, but could mean that they had a highly unusual sleep pattern.
Satoshi, from their philosophy, was a firm advocate for economic or social Libertarianism specific to the world of technology. This viewpoint can be construed as Crypto-Anarchism’, decentralizing the world of commerce, handing the power in the world of personal finance back to the individual consumer.
In the announcement and release of the Genesis block, otherwise known as Block 1′ or 0, included a hidden message within its Coinbase parameter giving the headline for the news from the 3rd January 2009:
the Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of the second bailout for banks
While the use of the newspaper headline may simply function as a time-stamp for the interest of posterity with the release of the first Bitcoin block. Many crypto-enthusiasts and anarchists alike have, however, interpreted the headline as a stab against centralized financial institutions for their part in the unfurling global financial crisis and subsequent recession.
One of the other stabs that this message demonstrates, according to Nakamoto supporters, is in creating an inbuilt scarcity for Bitcoin, while governments and financial institutions are able to print a seemingly infinite volume of money at their own discretion, creating devaluation with users being powerless to do anything about it.
While Nakamoto has been personally responsible for mining and possessing nearly a million Bitcoin, he’ only ever completed one transaction simply to demonstrate that a cryptocurrency could, and does, work.
Apart from that, Nakamoto never moved his Bitcoin from his initial mining address, but there are a number of reasons for why he would have instigated this action.
How is it we can theorize that these are the plausible scenarios as to Nakamoto’s activities? Because a number of the texts of which he drafted and wrote give these very distinct impressions:
At this point in time, Satoshi announced through a Cryptography mailing list that Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System, his officially white paper detailing the idea and function of Bitcoin, was formally published on Bitcoin.com.
Satoshi makes his first public post on the website P2P Foundation: The Foundation for Peer to Peer Alternatives’. This post consisted of a link to his recently published White Paper, including some additional insight into the paper and his reasoning for developing it.
Across this span of time when he’s active on the site, he created three posts, with the last taking place on February 14th, 2009. The same account was used in March 2014, with the post including the statement that the user is not Dorian Nakamoto after being falsely outed as Satoshi Nakamoto days earlier.
This consisted of the official, inaugural post on the website Bitcointalk.org.’ This would include a series of over 575 posts across 13 months, other contributors apart from Nakamoto consist ofMike Hearn and Jeff Garzik.
These contributors were effective in laying down the groundwork for what Bitcoin was to become. By December 12th, 2010, Nakamoto has effectively stopped operating on the site, for what reasons remains unknown.
This post is the last time that Nakamoto officially addressed the public within the forum, linking to the latest version of the Bitcoin, wallet client. Nine years on and the forum is one of the largest, most reputable forums of cryptocurrency discussion, with over 2 million users and hundreds of millions of post views.
One of the last posts from Nakamoto included the desire that Wikileaks which, at the time, had been vehemently opposed by the US governments, including banks which refused to work with them regarding providing funding.
Nakamoto stated that Bitcoin shouldn’t be used as a means of supporting the site, citing its infancy’ and fragility as some of the reasons why it is not best-suited for supporting Wikileaks.
Despite his urging against providing this support, it went on to be used, resulting in Wikileaks removing the page and description for Bitcoin. The reason for this post was to prevent Bitcoin from snuffed out by drawing too much negative press, especially in being linked to an institution which had just recently made some incredibly powerful enemies.
So who could this person be? We can get an understanding of Nakamoto’s personality from one of his email addresses when messages to and from the account were made.
His account, [emailprotected] was reportedly hacked in 2014, with one of the email exchanges being between Nakamoto and the financial expert, Wei Dai, regarding obtaining proper accreditation for the ideas of his that were used in the development of Bitcoin.
The second was to Laszlo Hanyecz, the cryptocurrency developer that is famously known for the 10,000 Bitcoin for 2 Pizzas’ challenge, which has gained a historical emphasis for being the first monetary transaction using Bitcoin.
When approached on what the exchanges between himself and Nakamoto were like, Hanyecz described them as Weird,’ describing him as a bossy’ figure who expected him to be an active contributor despite the fact that his tenure working on Bitcoin was predominantly unpaid.
Above all, Nakamoto, according to Hanyecz, tended to strongly deflect any questions about himself as a person while also demanding that the underlying code remain untampered with.
One of Bitcoins developers early on was Mike Hearn, who offered a very unique insight into what it was like to work alongside Nakamoto during the early days of the project. In one of the interactions between Nakamoto and Hearn, the latter made the email exchanges public online. The last of which was posted on April 23rd, 2011 contained the following:
Ive moved on to other things. Its in good hands with Gavin (Andresen) and everyone.
One of the final email exchanges including Nakamoto was between himself and Gavin Anderson, in which Anderson attempted to find out more about his utterly online colleague. The reply he got was laconic, direct and inciteful:
I wish you wouldnt keep talking about me as a mysterious shadowy figure, the press just turns that into a pirate currency angle. Maybe instead make it about the open source project and give more credit to your dev contributors; it helps motivate them.
The final email that Anderson sent to Nakamoto consisted of detailing an invitation to speak at an event that had direct connections with the Central Intelligence Agency. With the lack of response from Nakamoto, it could be construed that he had become, somewhat reasonably,freaked out by the sudden, meteoric rise to popularity the Bitcoin enjoyed.
Satoshi Nakamoto is one of the phantom names in the worlds of the internet and cryptocurrency that consists of a legendary status, a groundbreaking innovation and, while accompanied with a literal throne of $8 billion, the actual individual behind Satoshi Nakamoto’ remains elusive.
In this article, we put together a list of potential suspects with the profile, intelligence, or character that make them the possible man behind the mask.
While these are claims, they are unsubstantiated and theoretical, the only way to truly KNOW who Satoshi Nakamoto is through verifying their wallet address which would link the individual to the man himself.
From 2009 to 2010, Satoshi Nakamoto was directly involved in the development, coding, design, and release of what we and millions of members of the general public now know as Bitcoin’. During this same stretch of time, Nakamoto was also involved in mining a large quantity of the coins during a time that only a select number of people were involved in mining.
The only way one could prove without a shadow of a doubt that they were Nakamoto, they would simply need to complete one or a number of transactions between the accounts that the original Nakamoto used during this time.
While this has yet to happen, a great number of internet researchers, financial experts, and genuinely curious individuals have yet to cease in piecing together ideas and theorizing as to who the real Satoshi Nakamoto was and is.
So who on earth do some of these researchers believe is the real Satoshi Nakamoto? We piece together the names of those people believe are linked to the man, from the interesting to the downright unusual.
For anyone to be considered as Satoshi Nakamoto, it requires that person to have a clear understanding of computer programming, especially from the aspect of cryptocurrency development, these consist of:
By these criteria, the number of people that may be Nakamoto thins out significantly especially considering the balance, intellectually, which would need to be struck between the deeper knowledge of economics, cryptography and computer programming in general.
One of the potential candidates for being Nakamoto was the former graduate student, cryptography enthusiast but had also been involved in some level of C++ Programming since he was 10, Michael Clear.
While all of the dominoes were in place, making Clear a shoe-in for being the real Satoshi Nakamoto, when asked the question during an interview, Clear explicitly stated that he was not Nakamoto.
Im not Satoshi, but even if I was I wouldnt tell you.
While Clear, at the time, was startled by the question which to him came out of left field. He believed it to be conclusive enough to not realise any further questions, this turned out to not be the case, as he would encounter incessant questions on whether he was, in fact, Nakamoto and just wanted to protect his anonymity.
It got to the point where, in 2013, after two years of questions pertaining to Bitcoin and Nakamoto, that he published a blog post, explicitly denying any links to Bitcoin and being Nakamoto.
Josh originally contacted me at Crypto 2011 about a paper I was involved with related to p2p, and I met up with him out of curiosity as to why he would be interested. For about 20 minutes we talked about that.
When bitcoin came up, I remember we had a brief casual chat; I was naturally startled when he thought I could be Satoshi, and there was some humor and regrettable mistakes on my part.
Nick Szabo, a Hungarian-American computer scientist was theorized to be a potential candidate for Satoshi Nakamoto for a number of reasons. During late 2013, the slow collapse of MtGOX led researchers to look at Szabo as a potential candidate for being Nakamoto.
Like in a Mirror’, an anonymous blog post, listed out the reasons why Nick Szabo could be Satoshi Nakamoto. Across the two blog posts, the author lists the reasons why Szabo would be the founder of Bitcoin.
One of the reasons why this blog post, and Szabo by extension, gained so much credibility as being Nakamoto was due to the arguments provided by Like in a Mirror, but also due to Szabo’s own involvement with the distant cousin to Bitcoin, Bit Gold’.
While Bit Gold presented a very interesting concept when initially proposed in 1998, it never really gained traction with which to enter wider development and implementation. However, Bit Gold did, in fact, contain a significant number of features which made Bitcoin possible as a system of peer-to-peer transaction.
These include a method of Decentralisation, the Proof of Work’ system, and the implementation of Time Stamp Servers’ including proper network security mechanisms to provide an additional layer of security and validation behind each transaction.
The blog post continued on to provide an additional number of reasons why Szabo could be Satoshi Nakamoto:
While the blog series provides a significant amount of research and a well thought out argument, Szabo himself categorically denies being Satoshi Nakamoto.
While denying being Satoshi Nakamoto, Szabo is a regular writer on the subjects of programming, Cryptography and the uses of Bitcoin on his personal blog. Along with this, Szabo is also a prolific and frequent speaker / lecturer on the subject of Bitcoin and the state of play for it and other cryptocurrencies.
One of the more famous potential Satoshis was Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, who shares a significant number of unique correlations with the original Satoshi Nakamoto, the name being just one of them.
Dorian Nakamoto, originally a resident of Japan, went on to attend college in California, studying and graduating with a degree in Physics. The correlation comes from Dorian’s own experiences working with several different employees, these consist of Citibank and the U.S. Government as just a couple of the examples.
As an engineer, a great degree of his work is under both legal and personal secrecy. An article, which labeled Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto as the developer of Bitcoin was based off an initial, off the cuff comment made by himself, in which he stated that he was no longer involved’ with the Bitcoin project.
While this confirmed to the reporter who he was, Dorian points out that there was a significant degree of misunderstanding on his part, believing that it was a question regarding his work with Citibank.
Five days after the interview’, Newsweek read out a letter sent to them by Dorian, lamenting the challenges he’s faced as a result of the false accusations of being Nakamoto.
I did not create, invent or otherwise work on Bitcoin. I unconditionally deny the Newsweek report The first time I heard the term bitcoin was from my son in mid-February 2014. After being contacted by a reporter, my son called me and used the word, which I had never before heard. Shortly thereafter, the reporter confronted me at my home.
I have no knowledge of nor have I ever worked on cryptography, peer to peer systems, or alternative currencies My prospects for gainful employment has been harmed because of Newsweeks article
Newsweeks false report has been the source of a great deal of confusion and stress for myself, my 93-year old mother, my siblings, and their families This will be our last public statement on this matter. I ask that you now respect our privacy.
Making a start to his career as a programmer with Atari working on video game design, Hal Finney has since become an individual considered by many to be the real Satoshi Nakamoto.
Ever since starting off on his career of computer programming, Finney became significantly interested and involved in the field of Cryptography, being on of the early joiners of the mailing list and social group, Cyberpunks.
One of the other organizations that Finney was involved in was Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) since its establishment in 1991. What tipped people off to his potential was his development of PGP 2.0, a system which incorporates features such as file encryption and authentication, as well as encrypted communications.
These features made PGP 2.0 the first truly secure version of the program, all based on the handy work of Hal Finney. Effectively, Finney had created the system we have come to know as peer-to-peer networking before there was even a name for it.
One of the reasons that Finney became heavily involved in Cryptography was due to being inspired by the developer David Chaum, a fellow Californian who wished to apply Cryptography to the world of online finance, specifically when addressing online transactions and finance management.
During his time at the University of California, Chaum had created one of the first systems of peer-to-peer transactions, called Ecash, which had some of the features we see in Bitcoin, but was tethered to the ongoing value of the US Dollar and never really gained significant traction.
Finney set about to expand upon what Ecash had attempted to be, adding a proof of work concept to the currency which was reusable back in 2004. This feature among others would be those applied in order to create Bitcoin in 2008.
Finney was a keen member of a number of cryptography forums and mailing lists, being one of the first users of the client software which Nakamoto had released. Within days of releasing this software, Finney made history by being the recipient of one of Bitcoins first transactions, in which he received 10 Bitcoin from Nakamoto.
Regrettably, Finney was later diagnosed with ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, from which he died in 2014. Until then, Finney continued to be an active participant in conversations regarding cryptocurrency, using his final post to recap on all of his personal experiences interacting with Nakamoto.
When Satoshi announced the first release of the software, I grabbed it right away. I think I was the first person besides Satoshi to run bitcoin. I mined block 70-something, and I was the recipient of the first bitcoin transaction when Satoshi sent ten coins to me as a test. I carried on an email conversation with Satoshi over the next few days, mostly me reporting bugs and him fixing them.
Today, Satoshis true identity has become a mystery. But at the time, I thought I was dealing with a young man of Japanese ancestry who was very smart and sincere. Ive had the good fortune to know many brilliant people over the course of my life, so I recognize the signs.
During the final year of his life, Finney was subjected to an unfortunate extortion attempt against him, in which he was ordered by the anonymous hacker to complete a transaction of 1,000 Bitcoin (Worth $400,000 at the time) or they would release sensitive personal information about Finney to the public.
Over the years, Finney’s family would face constant extortion attempts, all of which amounted to no payout simply because Finney was not Nakamoto and that any Bitcoin Finney had extracted and collected over the years were used up in order to pay for his burdensome medical expenses.
Unfortunately, Craig Steven Wright is one of the more infamous individuals to be on the list of potential Satoshi Nakamoto’s. The Australian computer scientist and businessman had led media outlets on an obscure hunt for after he came forward to a number of news broadcasters that he was the real Satoshi Nakamoto back in 2015.
In the past, Wright had been involved in the creation of the worlds first online casinos, including a Bitcoin-based bank which never completely materialized. This was due to a number of issues surrounding obtaining regulatory approval in order to do this, something that cryptocurrencies still face on a regular basis.
What does separate Wright from other individuals on this list is that he offered up Cryptographic proof that he was, in fact, Nakamoto, claiming to have access to the keys that he used in order to extract and complete some of the first Bitcoin transactions.
According to his interview with BBC, Wright claimed that he would provide this evidence as extraordinary proof for an extraordinary claim. Signing a message using a key known to be used by Satoshi Nakamoto.
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