Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?
Satoshi Nakamoto anonymously invented Bitcoin in 2008. Ever since their real identity has remained secret. Was he Hal Finney? Is he Nick Szabo, Dorian Nakamoto or is he Adam Back? And no, Elon Musk is not Satoshi Nakamoto 🤣.
Satoshi Nakamoto's Bitcoin white paper regarding the application of Bitcoin cryptocurrency marked the beginning of a new era; the era of Bitcoin. Despite cypherpunks' initial low-key reception about Bitcoin's applicability as a distributed currency, Bitcoin has since become a household name.
To understand who Satoshi Nakamoto is, we first have to take into account what we know about the character before comparing him to real-life individuals who meet the criteria:
Satoshi Nakamoto profile
Satoshi Nakamoto is possibly British or an individual with a British background.
This can be deduced from the writing style in which he used to present Bitcoin’s, White Paper. We also know that Satoshi Nakamoto tends to leave a double space after most of his periods when he writes.
Has a good grasp of C++, the language Bitcoin software was composed in
Has a good grasp of Austrian economics and cryptography
Wrote with a double-space after every full stop.
Many have tried to crack this riddle and we too have compiled a list of the most compelling candidates who are likely to be Satoshi Nakamoto.
Satoshi Nakamoto Candidates
Hal Finney is one of the key members who helped develop Bitcoin’s software during the early days. Furthermore, Finney is an expert cryptographer who has been working on the development of cryptocurrency since the 1990s. To further justify our choice of candidate, Finney has been an active correspondent of Satoshi Nakamoto ever since Satoshi established the Bitcoin forum. Incidentally, Harold Finney also stopped putting in emails on the forum in 2009, around the same time that Satoshi stopped publishing and writing emails on the forum.
However, this theory fails to hold up because Hal Finney fell ill and was diagnosed with ALS in 2009. A probable reason why he became inactive on Bitcoin’s public forum. He also denied being Satoshi Nakamoto even in his last moments, in 2014. To date, there is no conclusive that Hal Finney was Satoshi; or that he 100% was not.
The next individual thought to have been Satoshi is Dorian Nakamoto. First, there's the similarity in the Nakamoto name, but that alone could be a mere coincidence.
Dorian Nakamoto lived just a couple of blocks from Harold Finney. Another interesting coincidence perhaps.
Dorian computers were found to have a background in computer science, working in the field for years. Just like Finney, Dorian denied being Satoshi. In his statement to the press, Dorian went as far as to say that he had never even heard of Bitcoin before he was accused to be Satoshi. He insisted that it was a coincidence that Satoshi and he shared the Nakamoto name.
Nick Szabo, fits into most of the qualifications and basic understanding that Satoshi would have.
Nick is highly proficient with computers and even has a computer science degree.
Nick is also an expert in the fields of law and economics.
Nick Szabo has also been actively studying and participating in crypto since the 1990s.
He is credited with inventing Bit-Gold, a crypto software that complements the Bitcoin software in its application. What’s more, he is also credited with inventing smart contracts on Bitcoin and other crypto platforms. Smart contracts protect the anonymity of crypto users such that your crypto transactions are only available to the relevant stakeholders.
The network address that Satoshi uses in most of his corresponding emails matched Nick’s area code
Nick played a proactive role in crypto and Bitcoin.
This educational, technical & professional background is the perfect base for creating a powerful cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. Satoshi would not only need to know how to code but should also have a deep understanding of how currency works, in relation to the economy.
In spite of this background, Nick Szabo fails to fit into these aspects of Satoshi's profile:
- Nick has no British background.
- He writes in American English and does not put double spaces after his periods.
- His preferred coding language is python and is not proficient in C++.
Elon Musk seemed to back this theory. For Nick to be Satoshis he had to use these elements to purposely obfuscate his true identity. Although it's possible, it's highly improbable to pull it off perfectly.
Craig Wright, an Australian scientist, was first suspected of being Satoshi Nakamoto in 2015 for these reasons:
- He has a couple of undergraduate degrees that match the skillset and mentality needed to develop Bitcoin.
- He has claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto, although he initially denied the role.
- Wright’s claims were once supported by Greg Anderson. Greg Anderson worked closely with Satoshi. This cooperation might have given him an understanding of his mindset. This was also after the fact that Craig was able to perform a digital signature on one of Satoshi’s known addresses.
- Wright's Australian background makes his writing style arguably almost similar to British English.
- Craig Wright had written about Cryptocurrency and its applicability in modern times, just before Satoshi Nakamoto launched his white paper on Bitcoin.
Just like some of our other candidates, there are a couple of inconsistencies that could lead us to believe that Craig Wright is a fake Satoshi.
It was discovered that the posts on his blog page had been backdated.
When he was called out on the same, he furiously attacked the mass media and even vowed not to appear on television again.
“I don’t work and invent and write papers and code by coming in front of TVs. I don’t want money, I don’t want fame, I don’t want adoration. I just want to be left alone. I am going to come in front of a camera once. And I will never, ever, be on the camera ever again for any TV station. Or any media, ever.”
Interestingly, Craig continued to appear in public forums and even claimed that his communication is purposely distorted to misdirect the public.
In 2021, Craig was unable to prove in court that he is Satoshi.
He went as far as to FUD Bitcoin, vowing to sell his entire bitcoin stash. At the time of this threat, Satoshi's Bitcoin stash was estimated to be worth $50 billion.
We believe that Craig Wright is a fraud and a showman. We are not likely to be wrong.
Perhaps the real Satoshi Nakamoto is indeed Adam Back. He is our most likely candidate who is more likely to be Satoshi Nakamoto. Adam fits the criteria that we selected for Satoshi and checks out on almost all of these aspects.
Adam Back was among the early pioneers of digital currency alongside great names such as Wei Dai, David Chaum, and Harold Finney.
He also holds a Ph.D. in Distributed computer systems; an elaborate skillset for Bitcoin’s developer.
Adam had already invented a pilot digital currency system known as Hashcash as early as 1997.
Is it just a coincidence that a similar system is used in the Bitcoin mining process?
Adam has a near-perfect similarity to Satoshi in their writing style.
They both use British English and even have the same double-spacing after periods in a sentence.
Adam codes proficiently in C++, and is his preferred coding language
In Bitcoin’s white paper, there is a mention of the newspaper, The Times, a British publication
Adam is originally from London. He is also known for his habit of making political statements in code.
Adam seems to have knowledge about early Bitcoin bugs that were never public in any of the changelogs in Nakamoto’s code.
Reviewing early Bitcoin forum threads, Satoshi seems to have communicated with other early Bitcoin contributors. However, there is no communication between Adam and Satoshi. If Adam was Satoshi it would make sense that he wouldn't need to speak to himself 🤔.
In spite of these clues pointing to Adam as being Satoshi Nakamoto, there are reasons why he may not be
Adam back has always denied that he's Satoshis Nakamoto. And why would he?
Adam founded and runs Blockstream
Blockstream purposely fights to keep the block size limit at a minimum, all the while profiting from it. This is just one inconsistency that might disqualify him from actually being Nakamoto. It is clear from Satoshi’s white paper that he intended for Bitcoin to evolve over time and scale.
Hal Finney, Dorian, and Adam Back have all denied being Satoshi Nakamoto. If one of them is Satoshi Nakomoto it would make sense for them to deny being Satoshi if anonymity is their goal. There's however, a chance that the real Satoshi Nakamoto is someone else entirely, dead or alive. Satoshis Nakamoto's true identity thus remains a mystery.
No: Elon Musk isn't Satoshi Nakamoto
Some individuals has erroneously suggested that Elon Musk is the Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin was not created by Elon Musk.
On podcast #252, Lex Fridman, an AI researcher, asked Musk about his thoughts on Satoshi Nakamoto's identity.
Elon Musk replied:
"Well, you can look at the evolution of ideas before the launch of bitcoin and see who wrote about those ideas." "It seems as though Nick Szabo is probably more than anyone else to blame for the development of those concepts," Musk continued.
First published on Apr 8, 2022