Everyone in the crypto space knows Satoshi Nakamoto. Who would not know the creator of Bitcoin, the first-ever cryptocurrency in the crypto market? Definitely, there was none. But don’t be mistaken as this is not the real name but a pseudonym of the Bitcoin creator. Even in a dip, the cryptocurrency remains the most dominant among crypto assets with a market cap of $575,418,736,933. If you are one of the early adopters in the industry, you probably know a lot about BTC (bitcoin). This is basically true for every single crypto-enthusiast but how much do you know about Nakamoto? Let’s do a little digging about the mysterious crypto creator.
Although there were claims that Satoshi Nakamoto is a Japanese male based on his chosen alias, this could still be unlikely given his level of proficiency in the English language. But there were also speculations that Satoshi Nakamoto does not refer to a single person but a group of people. Laszlo Hanyecz, a developer and one of the early adopters of the cryptocurrency has interacted with Nakamoto through emails. It came shortly after Hanyecz spent 10,000 BTC as payment for two pizzas from Papa John’s Pizza. He made history after making the first BTC (bitcoin) payment transaction. In his statement with the Business Insider, he would receive regular emails from Nakamoto that seemingly wants him to involve in the Bitcoin project.
“I thought bitcoin was awesome, and I wanted to be involved, but I had a regular developing job. Nakamoto would send me emails like ‘Hey, can you fix this bug?’ ‘Hey, can you do this?”
Hanyecz admitted that he is annoyed with his emails and that he would often dismiss them. During their short encounter, Hanyecz finds the Bitcoin creator as an eccentric fellow who gave him “a weird feeling.”
He further added:
“He’d say, ‘Hey, the west side’s down,’ or ‘We have these bugs — we need to fix this.’ I’d be like, we? We’re not a team. I thought that it was approval from him, that maybe he accepted me as a member. But I didn’t want the responsibility. I didn’t really understand all of the forces that were going on at the time.”
But despite their regular encounters, Nakamoto never revealed his true identity to him. The crypto creator was always determined to maintain his privacy and anonymity even to Hanyecz.
“He or she or whoever it was never told me anything personal. I asked a few questions, but he always dodged them. Those questions never got answered.”
So close and yet so far, that’s how you can describe Hanyecz’s encounter with Nakamoto. While he remains elusive, his identity remains a secret the world is so eager to know. But who could be the real Satoshi Nakamoto?
The Search for the Real Satoshi Nakamoto
Nick Szabo is an American computer scientist, legal scholar, and cryptographer known for his research in digital contracts and digital currency. In 1988, he invented the digital currency “Bit Gold”. He also developed the phrase and concept of “smart contracts and because of this, there were speculations that he could be Nakamoto. After conducting a linguistic study on Bitcoin’s white paper in 2014, the Aston University Centre for Forensic Linguistics concluded that Szabo was Nakamoto based on their linguistic similarities. But he denied the claim and in his email to Dominic Frisby, he stated:
“I’m afraid you got it wrong doxing me as Satoshi, but I’m used to it.”
Even Nathaniel Popper is very much convinced that Szabo is the real Satoshi Nakamoto. In an article that he wrote for The New York Times titled “Decoding the Enigma of Satoshi Nakamoto and the Birth of Bitcoin”, he stated “that much of the most convincing evidence pointed to a reclusive American man of Hungarian descent named Nick Szabo. With an intensive investigation to reveal Nakamoto’s identity, what was the most compelling reason why Popper believed that Szabo was Nakamoto after all? He further added:
“Mr. Szabo’s most notable contribution was a Bitcoin predecessor known as bit gold that achieved many of the same goals using similar tools of advanced math and cryptography.”
Hal Finney a pre-bitcoin cryptographic pioneer was once believed to be Satoshi Nakamoto but was later dismissed after meeting with journalist Andy Greenberg from the “Forbes”. He showed Greenberg the exchange of emails between him and Nakamoto and his bitcoin wallet history reflecting his first bitcoin transaction from the crypto creator.
Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto was also under the suspicion as the real Satoshi Nakamoto. This came after a seeming admission on his part based on a reply he made in an interview with Leah McGrath Goodman of Newsweek. When asked about bitcoin, Nakamoto replied:
“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.”
Although this created a buzz, it was immediately nipped in the bud after Nakamoto’s P2P Foundation account posted a message stating: “I am not Dorian Nakamoto.”
Elon Musk, founder and CEO of Tesla, was also suspected as the real Satoshi Nakamoto but he strongly denied it in a 2017 tweet.
Not true. A friend sent me part of a BTC a few years, but I don’t know where it is.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 28, 2017
But recently, he made cryptic tweets about Satoshi Nakamoto’s nationality sparking yet another interest in the Bitcoin creator.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 9, 2022
Although everyone theorized to be Satoshi Nakamoto denied the claims, one person has made the claim to be the real Satoshi Nakamoto. Could he be the real one?
The Real Satoshi Nakamoto Emerges: Is He Real or a Hoax?
In 2016, Craig Wright, an Australian computer scientist, publicly revealed himself as the real Satoshi Nakamoto and presented technical proof of his claim. In a report by BBC, he digitally signed messages using cryptographic keys that were created and linked to blocks of bitcoins created or “mined” by Satoshi Nakamoto. He even showed the blocks of the 10 bitcoins he sent to Hal Finney in January 2009. Gavin Andresen a chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation was totally convinced that Wright was Nakamoto, the bitcoin creator.
“I believe Craig Steven Wright is the person who invented Bitcoin.”
One of the founding directors of the Bitcoin Foundation, Jon Matonis also supported Wright’s claims after conducting a review of relevant data on three distinct lines: cryptographic, social, and technical. He stated:
“It is my firm belief that Craig Wright satisfies all three categories.”
But the public has been divided on whether to accept Wright as the real Satoshi Nakamoto or dismiss him as a “wannabe” or a “hoax”.
Charles Hoskinson, Ethereum co-founder, and Cardano founder stated that Wright’s claim as Satoshi Nakamoto “lacks foundational knowledge, character, has a totally different communication style and Satoshi wasn’t down with the patents.” Vitalik Buterin, one of the most influential personalities in the crypto space called the self-proclaimed Bitcoin creator a fraud in his face during a 2018 conference. Buterin even compiled a GitHub repository of links to articles and quotes from other crypto experts containing evidence that dismiss Wright’s claims. Wright filed a libel suit against him. Wright also filed a similar lawsuit against other major crypto personalities which include Peter McCormack, “Hodlonaut,” Roger Ver, and Blockstream’s Adam Back. But all cases were later abandoned or dismissed.
The dwindling price of BSV (Bitcoin SV) speaks volumes and clearly reflects the community’s trust and confidence in Wright’s claim as the Bitcoin creator. After recording its all-time high at $491.64 on Apr. 16, 2021, its price is now down to $50.61 losing 90% of its value.
Whenever a Satoshi-era dormant bitcoin wallet reactivates, the community would always have the assumption that this could belong to Satoshi Nakamoto. In March, a bitcoin wallet holding 500 BTC was reactivated after being dormant for more than a decade. In April, three dormant bitcoin wallets were reactivated each containing 50 BTC. According to reports, these wallets were already in use even before Hanyecz made the first bitcoin payment transaction. Though these activities were always associated with Nakamoto, none was proven so far.
There must be compelling reasons why would the famous Nakamoto decided to conceal his identity and never revealed it to anyone even to people he closely worked with. Could it be that he is afraid of being in the spotlight hence the reluctance to reveal himself? Or was he trying to keep a low profile to avoid disclosing his wealth? Was he avoiding public scrutiny given the issues on bitcoin and bitcoin mining? Will Satoshi Nakamoto’s identity remain buried forever? The mystery is still unsolved and all efforts to unravel it were in vain but there’s no doubt his contribution to the industry is second to none. Today, his BTC (bitcoin) creation has become the most adopted cryptocurrency even marking a national adoption spearheaded by El Salvador.