Satoshi Nakamoto is the creator of Bitcoin. Basically, he’s the person who birthed the first-ever blockchain into our world. I’m saying “he” but he might be a man, a woman, or even a group of people. Satoshi Nakamoto is the pseudonymous name used by the anonymous founder. What we know about this mysterious creator is almost nothing. After more than a decade-worth of research, no one was able to confirm who is Nakatomo. So, who is Satoshi Nakamoto? And, why is he so determined to stay secret?
Who Is Satoshi Nakamoto?
In order to figure out who is Satoshi Nakamoto, let’s see what we already know about SN. It’s important to note that we don’t know if Nakamoto is a man. But, we’ll refer to him as one to avoid confusion.
Satoshi Nakamoto’s Online Interactions
First, let’s see all the interactions he made from the day he appeared to the day he vanished. He had been most active between 2007 and 2010. At the end of 2010, he started to slowly withdraw contact until he eventually disappeared in 2011. Satoshi then briefly reappeared in 2014 and that’s the last we’ve heard of him.
2007 – 2010: Satoshi’s Most Active Phase
- In 2007, Nakamoto started working on the code for Bitcoin.
- On August 18th, 2008, he bought the domain bitcoin.org and created a website using it
- On October 31st, 2008, Nakamoto published a 9-page whitepaper describing what is now Bitcoin titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”.
- On January 3rd, 2009, Satoshi launched Bitcoin by mining the first ever block known as the “genesis block”.
- From 2009 till mid-2010, Nakamoto was interacting with the community and made all modifications to the source code himself.
- At the end of 2010, Satoshi gave control of the source code and the network alert key to Gavin Anderson. He also transferred several related domains to active community members.
- On December 5th, 2010, after Bitcoin enthusiasts started asking WikiLeaks to accept Bitcoin donations, he posted a statement on the Bitcoin forum. He said:
“The project needs to grow gradually so the software can be strengthened along the way. I make this appeal to Wikileaks not to try to use Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a small beta community in its infancy. You would not stand to get more than pocket change, and the heat you would bring would likely destroy us at this stage.”
- On December 12th, 2010, Nakamoto posted his final message on the Bitcoin forum regarding an update in Bitcoin’s source code.
2011: Satoshi Nakamoto Goes AWOL
- Following this message, his email responses became irregular before stopping altogether.
- On April 23, 2011, he sent a farewell email to a fellow Bitcoin developer. “I’ve moved on to other things,” he wrote, assuring that the future of Bitcoin was “in good hands.”
- On April 26th, 2011, Andersen, who was in contact with Satoshi, told fellow coders that “Satoshi did suggest this morning that I (we) should try to de-emphasize the whole ‘mysterious founder’ thing when talking publicly about Bitcoin.”
- Then, Satoshi stopped responding to Andersen’s emails.
2014: Brief Reappearance of Bitcoin’s Genius
- In 2014, after years of silence, Satoshi reappeared to say “I am not Dorian Nakamoto” to deny the claim.
- He has not resurfaced ever since.
Do We Know Anything About Satoshi?
So, he was active for a few years before completely disappearing. But, is there anything that we know about Satoshi that could possibly be true?
Well, he noted on the Bitcoin forum that he is a 37-year-old man who lives in Japan. He registered his birthday as April 5, 1975.
Okay, good, we’re getting somewhere. Actually, not really. Because when a guy makes it his life’s mission to stay anonymous, you don’t believe everything he says.
Is His Birthday Legit?
There’s always the possibility that his birthday is actually on April 5th. However, the date made many speculate that it’s related to the anniversary of Executive Order 6102, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt banned the private ownership of gold on April 5, 1933.
Americans had to hand over their gold and this decision made the US dollar lose its value. So, was Satoshi implying that centralized systems suck? Maybe, or it was a simple coincidence.
Is He Japanese?
The second information he handed us is that he might be Japanese. In fact, Bitcoin enthusiasts were quick to deny the claim of Satoshi being Japanese. They noted that his English level is too advanced not to be his native language.
Moreover, a Swiss software engineer, Stefan Thomas, analyzed the timestamps for each of Satoshi’s Bitcoin forum posts. The chart showed that Satoshi never posted anything between 5 am and 11 am Greenwich Mean Time. This was between 2 pm and 8 pm in Japan standard time.
So, he couldn’t be living in Japan unless he has a really odd sleeping schedule. Many speculated that he is actually British.
So, Is He British?
He used British English in the whitepaper he published as well as in his posts and emails. He used terms and expressions like “bloody hard”, “maths”, “colour”, etc.
Plus, Satoshi quoted a saying from the Times newspaper “The Times 0./Jan/2009 Chancellor on the brink of second bailout for banks”. It’s the same quote found in the physical newspaper released in London. However, it’s different than the one online.
So, people are saying he had to see the physical copy in London back then. However, the Times website had screenshots of their physical newspaper on their website. He could’ve easily seen that.
Wait, What if He’s Canadian?
Also, he seemed to use both US and UK spelling. So, some people are assuming that he’s in fact Canadian. Canadians use both British and American spellings.
What’s his nationality? We can’t know for sure. One can only speculate.
Is Bitcoin’s Creator a Solitary Genius or a Group of People?
Wait, so who is Satoshi Nakamoto? The anonymous founder of Bitcoin might be Japanese, British, or Canadian. But, most importantly, he might not be one person but a group of developers.
I mean, there is at least one person behind Bitcoin. After all, someone had to publish the whitepaper, reply to emails, and post on the Bitcoin forum. However, some people, like Bitcoin developer Laszlo Hanyecz, believe that the level of coding at which Bitcoin was created would have needed more than just one person.
According to him, it is highly likely that it was created by a team of coders. Some even said Satoshi is actually the following four companies: Samsung, Toshiba, Nakamichi, Motorola. But that feels like a reach.
Who Could Be Satoshi Nakamoto?
After years of research, the true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto remains unknown. It is one of the biggest mysteries in the technology and finance world. However, the community accused many of being Nakamoto. One even claimed to be Satoshi. There are more than 20+ suspects but none have been able to prove it.
However, we’re going to look into the 5 main suspects only. They are Nick Szabo, Hal Finny, Dorian Nakamoto, Craig Wright, and Wei Dai.
Nick Szabo is a professor of economics at George Washington University. He was the first person to propose the concept of smart contracts in 1994. Prior to the launch of Bitcoin, he was working on developing “Bit Gold”.
He described it as “a protocol whereby unforgeable costly bits could be created online with minimal dependence on trusted third parties.” We’re going to explore the arguments pointing towards him being Satoshi Nakamoto, as well as the arguments against him.
- Has a background in cryptography and digital currency.
- Has been very active in the crypto world since the 1990s.
- Invented smart contracts which are now the key component of Ethereum.
- Writing style is similar to Satoshi’s.
- Has been involved in the early days of Bitcoin: Bit Gold, which he developed, is considered to be the precursor to Bitcoin.
- Previously worked for DigiCash which was an early attempt to bring cryptography to digital payments.
- Both Satoshi and Nick reference economist Carl Menger.
- Codes differently than Satoshi despite having similar writing style.
- Was focused on creating smart contracts and developing Bit Gold several years prior to Bitcoin. Szabo wouldn’t have had the time to work on both projects.
- Has denied being Satoshi Nakamoto and pointed the finger at two other people Hal Finney and Wai Dai.
Hal Finny was an American software developer who many suspected was, in fact, Satoshi Nakamoto. He was the one who received the first ever Bitcoin transaction from Satoshi.
Finny sadly passed away in 2014 as a result of complications of ALS. He had denied being Nakamoto. So, we shall not speak ill of the dead. We’ll just lay out the arguments pointing toward him being Satoshi. And the arguments denying he’s Satoshi.
- One of the earliest known contributors to the Bitcoin project, having interacted with Satoshi Nakamoto via email and the Bitcointalk forum.
- Similar writing styles as Finny and Nakamoto both used similar language and sentence structure.
- Had lived only a few blocks away from Dorian Nakamoto who many have speculated to be Satoshi.
- Finny received the first Bitcoin transaction.
- Had to step away from the Bitcoin world due to his battle with ALS. Many have claimed that given his condition he wouldn’t have had the time to create such a complex system.
- His writing style was a bit different from Satoshi’s despite the similarities.
- Out of character for Finney. He had a reputation for being honest and direct. Some argue that he wouldn’t have had a reason to create a pseudonym and hide behind it.
Wei Dai is a Chinese crypto engineer and cryptocurrency researcher who many suspect is Satoshi Nakamoto. He’s a prominent figure in the crypto space to the point that they named the smallest denomination of ether after him. There are arguments for and against him being Satoshi Nakamoto.
- Proposed, in 1998, a digital currency system called “b-money” that shares many similarities with Bitcoin. B-money was designed to be decentralized and secure, with users mining new coins by solving cryptographic puzzles.
- Created a system called “hash cash” in 1997. It was used to prevent email spam by requiring senders to perform a small amount of computational work before sending an email. The concept of proof-of-work, which is used in Bitcoin mining, is based on hash cash.
- Has a similar writing style as Dai’s B-money proposal had similar writings to Nakamoto’s whitepaper.
- Known to be an expert in cryptography and encryption which are key components in Bitcoin.
- No evidence of involvement in the early development of Bitcoin.
- No public statements or actions: Wei Dai has not made any public statements or taken any actions that suggest he is Satoshi Nakamoto while other candidates have.
- Has denied being Satoshi Nakamoto.
Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto
Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto is a Japanese-American man living in California who many suspected is in fact Bitcoin’s founder. A Newsweek journalist in 2014 wrote an article pointing towards him being Nakamoto. They even posted a photograph of his house.
They thought he was Nakamoto first because of his name, and second because of his background in cryptography and job history. He had worked on multiple classified projects for the U.S. government as a software engineer for multiple companies.
However, Satoshi Nakamoto himself resurfaced specifically to deny being Dorian as the latter faced harassment and stalking. Dorian also denied being the founder of Bitcoin. And think about it, if the founder of Bitcoin wanted to be anonymous, why would he use his own name?
Craig Wright is a former Australian academic and entrepreneur who told CNBC that he is Satoshi. He was indeed unable to provide sufficient evidence to back up his claim. The Bitcoin community also quickly discredited him. Vitalik Buterin, Ethereum’s founder, called him a fraud.
Because, again, would a founder who is so determined on staying anonymous uncover his identity on CNBC?
So, Who Is Satoshi Nakamoto And Should We Care?
There have been many speculations and false claims about who is Satoshi Nakamoto. 15 years later, the founder of Bitcoin remains anonymous. We haven’t heard from him since 2014. But, the question is, why is everyone so interested in knowing who is Nakamoto?
Of course, because he created a monetary system that’s so revolutionary. So, who wouldn’t be interested in knowing who is the genius behind the first-ever blockchain? But, that’s not the only reason.
Satoshi Nakamoto is the proud holder of 1 million Bitcoins, 5% of Bitcoin’s entire supply. That amount is estimated to be $26.8 BILLION! This insane amount of Bitcoins is stacked away, frozen until further notice. But, what if, one day Satoshi wakes up and dumps 26.8 billion into the market?
Yes, Bitcoin would plummet and everything will tumble down. But, would the creator ruin his own creation? Well, we don’t know who Satoshi is to know whether he’d do such a move.
This is why everyone is on the hunt for Nakamoto. Look closely around you peeps, he could be right next door. Who knows, maybe my own father is Satoshi!