The man behind Bitcoin: Satoshi Nakamoto

Often enough, people that are new into the world of bitcoin don’t really know that the currency itself is several years old already. The origins of bitcoin go back as far as 2008, when a man that went under the name Satoshi Nakamoto published a paper on a cryptography mailing list. The paper was called Bitcoin: a peer to peer electronic cash system, much known by the old members of the bitcoin community. A year later, in 2009, the first bitcoin software was introduced, enabling users to start using bitcoin.

Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?

The man behind BitCoin

Despite knowing for a fact that he’s responsible for bitcoin, the truth is that no one really knows his identity. There’s plenty of speculation that has been going on for years now, but we’ll talk about those later. First, let’s talk about what we do know about Nakamoto. The first thing that we know is that bitcoin was a joint effort. He maintained a relationship with other developers through forums and e-mails, taking advice from plenty of people to improve his source code. This went on for a while until communication between him and his team started to fade, eventually stopping. Then, in 2010, he gave control of the repository and alert key functions of the software to Gavin Andresen, a very prominent figure in the bitcoin community. Additional to this, he gave away the domain and several other domains. Eventually, after all of this, Nakamoto stopped communicating until completely disappearing.

Nakamoto claims he is a 37 year old man living in Japan, but according to plenty of people, this is most likely a lie. His English skills were near perfect and there was no documentation of the bitcoin software written in Japanese. He claims to be Japanese, but the evidence suggests otherwise.

Potential identities

You might’ve noticed that there’s a big mystery surrounding the identity of the man that made bitcoin, and if there’s one thing that the internet loves to do, is solving a mystery. Because of this, Swiss coder and active member of the community Stefan Thomas decided to check the timestamp of each one of Nakamoto’s forum posts. The purpose of this was to find a pattern, and it was found. A chart was made that showed that almost no posts were made between 5 am and 11 am GMT, suggesting that Nakamoto was sleeping during this time frame. Using different time zones for comparison, it’s very likely that Nakamoto lives somewhere in America that falls within the Eastern Time zone and Central Time Zone.

The man behind BitCoin

We may know where Nakamoto possibly lives, which is great, but that doesn’t really get us anywhere regarding his real identity. Some people even play with the idea that Nakamoto may not be a single person but a team of people. There is a consensus among plenty of prominent coders in the community that think the bitcoin code is considered to be too well designed for it to come from one person. Dan Kaminsky, a security researcher read the code and said that if Nakamoto is not a team of people, he has to be a genius.

With all of this said, plenty of people have been attributed to being the face of Nakamoto over the course of the years.

  • Back in 2011 Joshua Davis wrote an article in The New Yorker pinning down a group of individuals as being the possible identity of Nakamoto. The candidates that stood out the most were Dr. Vili Lehdonvirta, a Finnish economic sociologist, and Irish student Michael Clear. However, shortly after the article was published both of them strongly denied any involvement.
  • Later in October of the same year, Neal King, Vladimir Oksman and Charles Bry were listed as the possible identities of Nakamoto because of a claim made by Adam Penenberg. As an investigative journalist, he found that they jointly filed a patent application containing the phrase “computationally impractical to reverse”. This phrase was also used in the bitcoin paper. Additional to this, the domain was registered three days after filing the patent. However, the three of them denied being Nakamoto.
  • Back in May of 2013, Shinichi Mochizuki, a Japanese mathematician was pinned as Nakamoto’s identity by speculation from Ted nelson. However, these were denied in an article in The Age Newspaper, without any source attributed to the denial of the claim.
  • Somewhere late in 2013, Nakamoto’s identity was also linked to Ross William Ulbricht, owner of the Silk Road website. This came from a paper written by Dorit Ron and Adi Shamir, two Israeli mathematicians, based on an analysis they made of the blockchain. Later on however, the claim was retracted.
  • Then, in April of 2014, Nick Szabo was linked to the bitcoin whitepaper through a stylometric analysis done by investigators from Aston University. Being a decentralized currency enthusiast, Szabo published a paper on “bitgold”, considered a precursor to bitcoin. However, this claim didn’t really go anywhere because even the investigators themselves considered it to be a really unlikely possibility: “The study doesn’t point to Mr. Szabo in a conclusive manner. It’s just that of all the people we’ve studied he is the most likely candidate. It’s just another clue.”

Out of all these claims however, the most well-known one comes from a man named Dorian Nakamoto.

Who is Dorian Nakamoto?

Who is Dorian Nakamoto

Back in March of 2014, Leah McGrath Goodman wrote an article in the Newsweek magazine, which identified Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto as a Japanese American living in California, fitting the bill for Nakamoto’s Identity. However, Dorian Nakamoto responded by completely denying everything. “I didn’t create, invent or otherwise work on Bitcoin. I unconditionally deny the Newsweek report.” He even went as far as filing a lawsuit against Newsweek due to harassment from Newsweek journalists. They’d camp out in front of his house and would chase him by car whenever he left his home. As a way to show some support to Dorian Nakamoto, the leader of the bitcoin community Andreas Antonopoulos started a fundraising campaign.

This report made by Newsweek is what led to a global interest in the identity of Nakamoto. But what makes this truly interesting is that the real Nakamoto broke his already 3 year long silence through a post in the p2pfoundation website, stating “I am not Dorian Nakamoto.”

To this day, we still don’t know what Nakamoto’s true identity is, and it might remain as one of the biggest mysteries on the internet. For all we know, he might be a team of people under a pseudonym, but if that’s not the case, he is a genius, responsible for creating a revolutionary protocol and causing one of the most interest economic phenomena in recent years. It is also believed that Nakamoto possesses approximately one million bitcoins.

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