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Bitcoin’s creator has remained anonymous since its version 0.1 was released in 2009. There has been much speculation about who developed Bitcoin, and some say his identity has been known for years.
This article will explore the secret identity of Bitcoin’s founder – Satoshi Nakamoto.
Who Invented Bitcoin?
Satoshi Nakamoto is the pseudonymous person or persons who created bitcoin, published the bitcoin white paper, and deployed the software for its network. Satoshi stated that he started writing bitcoin’s code in 2007.
On August 18, 2008, Satoshi (or his colleague) bought the domain name bitcoin.org. A month later, he published a paper called “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” that outlined his digital cryptocurrency.
The first sentence of Satoshi’s white papers claims bitcoin as, “a purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash that would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.”
Satoshi then explains how a peer-to-peer network can solve the double-spending problem by timestamping transactions and using cryptography to secure its history. Today, we call this blockchain technology.
In January 2009, Satoshi launched the network and mined the genesis block of bitcoin, which had a reward of 50 bitcoins.
Satoshi time stamped block number 0 by adding a message that read, “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks,” quoting The Times headline on that date. A convenient, cheap shot at traditional banking too.
Satoshi was involved in Bitcoin’s development until mid-2010 and then transferred control of the source code repository and network alert key to Gavin Andresen.
Satoshi handed over other related domains to several distinguished members of the Bitcoin community and officially stepped away from the project.
Related: What is Cryptocurrency?
Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?
Satoshi’s P2P Foundation profile in 2012 indicated he was a 37-year-old man who lived in Japan. However, there have been extensive studies conducted that suggest otherwise.
Satoshi’s native-level English use and the fact that his bitcoin software was not labeled in Japanese, make people skeptical.
His frequent use of terms like “bloody hard” and the spellings of “grey” and “colour” hints at Commonwealth origin. Not to mention him referencing the UK-based newspaper The Times in his first block of bitcoin code.
However, Satoshi is touted as a genius, and we should not put deliberate word choice past him.
An active member of the Bitcoin community, Stefan Thomas, graphed the time stamps of each of Satoshi’s bitcoin forum posts.
His findings show that Satoshi rarely posted between the hours of 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Japanese time.
Either Satoshi had abnormal sleeping patterns and lived in Japan, or he lived in another time zone, and his posts were at normal waking hours.
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Digital Assets Before Satoshi
There was “internet money” before Bitcoin’s launch in 2009, such as Adam Back’s Hashcash (1997), Wei Dai’s b-money (1998), Nick Szabo’s bit-gold (1998), and Hal Finney’s Reusable Proof of Work (2004).
Satoshi’s White Paper cites this research, specifically Hashcash and b-money. Perhaps this is the “group of persons” who created Bitcoin.
Why is Satoshi Anonymous?
Satoshi has never stated why he chose to publish under a pseudonym, but we can consider a few reasons.
First, Bitcoin’s soaring popularity would have brought him an incredible amount of attention. He likely preferred to stay unknown so he could live a life free of 24/7 surveillance.
In addition to privacy, Satoshi may have considered his safety as another reason to stay anonymous. It is estimated that Satoshi may own 1 million bitcoin or approximately $32.3 billion as of writing this in January 2021.
This level of wealth may attract bad apples, especially since bitcoin is stored like cash. Satoshi’s fellow billionaires have their wealth wrapped up in stock and not on a USB kept under the kitchen sink.
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People Claiming to be Satoshi
We mentioned some possible identities of Satoshi Nakamoto earlier, but there is still doubt of their involvement in the project. Let’s turn our attention to a few potential candidates.
- Pre-Bitcoin cryptographic pioneer
- First-person (other than Satoshi himself) to use the Bitcoin software, file bug reports, and make upgrades
- Lived blocks away from a man named Dorian Nakamoto
- Writing analysis found Finney’s handwriting was the closest resemblance to Satoshi’s
- However, emails exchanged between Nakamoto and Finney suggest that they were not the same person, and Finney’s bitcoin wallet history seems to prove it. Finney died in 2014 at the age of 56.
- Decentralized currency enthusiast and creator of “bit gold” in 1998
- Known to use pseudonyms in the 1990s.
- Stylometric analysis links Szabo to the White Paper
Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto
- Literally has the same name.
- When asked about Bitcoin in the magazine Newsweek in 2014, he said, “I am no longer involved in that, and I cannot discuss it. It’s been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection.”
- He later renounced these statements and said to have misheard the interviewer’s question.
- The same day that Dorian Nakamoto retracted his comments, the anonymous Nakamoto. P2P Foundation account posted for the first time in five years, “I am not Dorian Nakamoto.”
- A Japanese American man living in California.
- A former computer engineer for financial information services companies.
- Libertarian (told his daughter to start a company “not under the government’s thumb”).
- The Australian academic “either invented bitcoin or is a brilliant hoaxer who very badly wants us to believe he did,” according to Wired.
- Hacker obtained emails from Wright and his colleague, a computer forensics analyst named David Kleiman (who died in 2013), suggesting that Satoshi was a pseudonym for Wright and Kleiman.
- These claims are regarded as false by the media and crypto community.
- Wright registered US copyright for the Bitcoin White Paper in 2019 and for the code in version 0.1.
- This does not mean that the government recognizes Wright as Bitcoin’s creator.
Others with Claimed Ties to Satoshi: Honorable Mention
- Dr. Vili Lehdonvirta (Finland)
- Michael Clear (Dublin, Ireland)
- Neal King (Munich, Germany)
- Vladimir Oksman (United States)
- Charles Bry (Munich, Germany)
- Shinichi Mochizuki (Japan)
- Gavin Andresen (United States)
- Jed McCaleb (United States)
All these individuals deny connection to Nakamoto.
Learn More: How to Buy Bitcoin
Satoshi Nakamoto FAQs
How much is Satoshi Nakamoto worth?
His estimated 1 million bitcoin are worth $32.3 billion as of this writing on January 3, 2021.
When did Satoshi Nakamoto disappear?
Satoshi’s last recognized involvement in the development of Bitcoin was in mid-2010. He passed the corresponding domains and source code over to Gavin Andresen and other high-profile Bitcoin community members.
In 2011, Satoshi sent Bitcoin Core developer Mike Hearn a short email that said he has moved onto other things, but the future of Bitcoin was “in good hands.”
Does anyone know who Satoshi Nakamoto is?
Multiple clickbait articles are claiming to identify Satoshi Nakamoto. These articles appeared on Wired, Newsweek, and the New York Times. However, nearly all candidates deny allegations and states they had no connection to Bitcoin.
Who is the real creator of Bitcoin?
The real creator of Bitcoin is the anonymous person or persons known as Satoshi Nakamoto. Since Bitcoin’s launch in 2009, the identity of this person or group is still unknown.
Final Take: Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?
The creator of the anonymous, peer-to-peer payment network is… unknown. We simply do not know the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto.
And isn’t it better that way? Isn’t it the perfect origin story for technology designed to empower the individual? We think so too.
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