Education

Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? We Look at The Possible Candidates

Bitcoin was invented as a public project. Created as an open-source software and issued to the public in 2009, Bitcoin was designed with transparency in mind. Bitcoin is an open-source project functioning on an open ledger that is available to the public. But for all its transparency, one grand puzzle remains unsolved:

Who is Satoshi Nakamoto and Who Exactly Created Bitcoin?

The Bitcoin Code

First, let’s analyze what is known for sure. Nakamoto took the first step in 2007 when he wrote the Bitcoin code. Satoshi Nakamoto published his now famous White Paper in November 2008, which laid the foundation for the Bitcoin protocol. The first ever Bitcoin block was mined, on January 3rd, 2009 on the satoshi nakamoto blockchain, marking the invention of the cryptocurrency. Satoshi was profoundly involved with the Bitcoin community and co-operated with them to adjust the underlying bitcoin protocol. Nakamoto gave the reins to Gavin Andresen, after two years of involvement, and stopped engagement with the Bitcoin project in December 2010. Then, Nakamoto returned to leave a final message in the Spring of 2011, declaring in a post that he had “gone on to other things,” and that Bitcoin was “in good hands with everyone and Gavin Andresen.” That was the last time the world heard of the mysterious Bitcoin creator.

The puzzle behind the identity of Nakamoto has only increased, as the Bitcoin community enthusiastically muses who it could likely be. Nakamoto alleges to be a Japanese, born on April 5, 1975. Whether this mysterious figure is male or female, or even a single individual or a group of people remains unknown.

Is He British?

While the identity of the face behind bitcoin remains a mystery, this has not stopped supporters from reviewing his background and arriving at different conclusions. Nakamoto’s use of flawless English in his publication of the White Paper and his subsequent posts has raised doubt as to his Japanese origin.

Moreover, his exceptional use of British English in the code and comments has kindled contemplations that he is a native English speaker from a Commonwealth country.

Also, a Swiss coder and active member in the Bitcoin community, Stefan Thomas graphed the time marks of Nakamoto’s over 500 posts, revealing his or her total absence of posts between midnight am, and 6 am Greenwich Time, further notifying researchers as to his likely location.

Nick Szabo

To date, there are many potential people presumed of being the secret Bitcoin inventor. One of the first suggestions was decentralized currency partisan, Nick Szabo who issued a paper on “bit gold” acknowledged to be a forerunner to the first digital currency. Internet researcher Skye Grey, running a reverse textual analysis, discovered dozens of unique phrases that connected Szabo’s writing style to that of the initial White Paper. However, this evidence is only hypothetical, and Szabo has regularly denied that he is the inventor of Bitcoin.

Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto

Another likelihood is a Japanese American man living in California, called Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto, whose birth name is Satoshi Nakamoto. First mentioned in a March 2014 Newsweek report, Leah McGrath Goodman cited Nakamoto’s libertarian background and education as a physicist at Cal Poly University in Pomona as possible pointers of his identity. Her most significant piece of evidence was his answer to a question about Bitcoin: “I am no longer concerned about that, and I cannot talk about it. It’s been handed over to other people. They are in control of it now. I no longer have any attachment.” This resulted in a wild media excitement, which even involved a car chase. However, in a subsequent interview, he denied his previous stance, declaring that he had misunderstood the reporter’s question, considering it was related to his past classified work as a military contractor.

Hal Finney

Hal Finney is another likely person to be the secret Satoshi Nakamoto. Finney was a pre-bitcoin cryptographic pathfinder and was only the second individual – after Satoshi himself – to use the software, record bug reports, and recommend enhancements. Moreover, he was the first ever to receive Bitcoin, saying in an interview that “[he] was the beneficiary of the first bitcoin transaction, when Nakamoto sent ten coins to [him] as a test.”

Andy Greenberg, a Forbes journalist, speculated after demanding aid from writing analysis consultancy Juola & Associates that Greenberg may have been Satoshi Nakamoto’s ghostwriter. Further fuelling the speculation that Finney was concerned with the invention of Bitcoin was his link with the Nick Szabo mentioned above, and the fact that he lived only blocks away from Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto. At the time of his demise on August 28, 2014, only inconclusive evidence showed to Hal Finney as the real Satoshi Nakamoto.

Craig Wright

Another potential contender to be Satoshi Nakamoto is Craig Wright an Australian entrepreneur, and computer engineering specialist. In early November 2015, Gizmodo got an anonymous email from a person stating that not only did he know that Craig Wright was the inventor of Bitcoin, but that he had also worked for him. On December 9, moments after Wired declared that Wright was actually Satoshi, the Australian Federal Police stormed his house, and later asserting the “[the] issue is unrelated to recent media reporting about the cryptocurrency Bitcoin.” Then, Wright eliminated his internet presence until May of 2016, when he came forward and announced himself on Twitter as the inventor of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, and insisted he had the proof to support his statement.

Then, amid a flood of skepticism, Wright withdrew his statement and did not provide the “extraordinary proof” he said he has, saying that he did “not have the courage” to prove his identity.

Satoshi Nakamoto Net Worth

In an age where information is extensive, Satoshi Nakamoto has managed to keep his identity a total secret. So why is revealing Nakamoto’s identity so significant? How rich is Satoshi Nakamoto If Satoshi is certainly a single person, then he or she possesses about 5% of the world’s Bitcoin stock, placing him or her as the 52nd wealthiest person in the world as of December 12th, 2017. The indications of this wealth are much, beyond even the real world connections. If Satoshi were ever to sell the reported 980,000 Bitcoins in his or her possession, the price of Bitcoin could probably increase in volatile than it already is.

The Scaling Debate

Besides, there is significant debate as to the future of Bitcoin. Heated debates have ensued due to some of the developing pains besieging Bitcoin, especially the problem of how to deal with a rise in transaction volume on the Bitcoin blockchain. The Bitcoin network runs the risk of becoming encumbered, as the number of blocks rises. One side of the debate wants to radically transform the Bitcoin node by increasing the block size, to allow the system to execute transactions more promptly. The other side of the debate sees this as treason to the original idea behind Bitcoin, claiming that this would cause increased centralization. Knowing Bitcoin’s true inventor would create more confidence and could probably lay down the following steps in Bitcoin’s ever-improving development.

Conclusion

Finally, identifying the inventor of Bitcoin may be an impractical effort. His or her total silence since the Spring of 2011 indicates it is possible we will never hear from them again. Notwithstanding, Bitcoin, the open source cryptocurrency designed nearly a decade ago, will continue to grow despite this mystery. The Bitcoin community will be made to coexist with the puzzle that is Satoshi Nakamoto, for the better or the worst.