The Quest to Reveal the True Satoshi Nakamoto
In the world of cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is king, yet there is plenty of mystery surrounding the identity of its creator. Bitcoin’s success continues along with the mystery surrounding the true identity behind the creator, Satoshi Nakamoto.
Over the years, many have made it their mission to investigate and reveal the real identity of the face behind the biggest cryptocurrency.
Who Is Satoshi Nakatomi?
Satoshi Nakamoto is the developer of Bitcoin, the author of the Bitcoin whitepaper as well as the creator behind Bitcoin’s original reference implementation. With the implementation process, Nakamoto also devised the first blockchain database.
Nakamoto holds 980,000 Bitcoin which is about $53,469,808,654.22 as of 3 March 2021. Nakamoto’s holdings can significantly affect the current price when traded considering the plan to mine only 21 million Bitcoin.
There have been numerous efforts to uncover the identity behind the mysterious creator of Bitcoin. Over the years, speculations have grown with the reveal of many possible candidates.
Here are some of the most popular candidates:
Len Sassaman (1980 – 2011) was one of the original cypherpunks and also a big advocate for privacy. In the year he committed suicide Black Hat Briengs revealed there was a tribute to Sassaman embedded into the BTC blockchain. One of the reasons Sassaman is a candidate is because before his passing Satoshi Nakamoto left the community saying, “I’ve moved on to other things and probably won’t be around in the future.”
Sassaman had the cryptography expertise and managed to distinguish himself as an authority in public-key cryptography. He also worked with various other popular SN candidates, such as Hall Finney. Unlike the other candidates, he is famous for his extensive pseudonymous contributions made to cypherpunk mailing lists via remailers.
The Chainlink project creator, Sergey Nazarov, has become a popular candidate. Various sources have tried proving Nazarov is the Bitcoin creator through circumstantial evidence and speculation.
This includes the fact that he purchased the domain smartcontract.com a mere six days before Satoshi’s white paper was released in 2008. Other evidence includes the length of time he has been actively involved with blockchain. This is all speculation, with no real evidence available to support claims of Nazarov being the creator.
The famed economist and mathematician John Nash has also made the running for being the Bitcoin creator. Many believe Nash assisted with the project, as countless numbers believe Bitcoin is the work of a group of geniuses rather than a single individual. John’s paper on ‘Ideal Money’ published frequently between 1994 and 2008 also made him a popular candidate.
Nash has been known to operate under false identities since the 90’s with his genius easily matching that of the real Satoshi Nakamoto. The Nobel prizewinner passed away in May 2015.
Paul Le Roux
Paul Le Roux, former programmer and criminal cartel boss, became a candidate in 2019. The former cartel boss and software programmer is currently serving a 25-year prison sentence. In 2014, he pleaded guilty to various crimes, including drug tracking, selling technology to Iran, and participating in several murders.
Le Roux is a savvy computer code writer and was named in a Bitcoin-related lawsuit in earlier days. However, despite the search to tie Le Roux to Bitcoin, all evidence is circumstantial.
The British cryptographer and cypherpunk Adam Back is the CEO and co-founder of Blockstream. Back is also the inventor of Hashcash, which is used in the Bitcoin mining process.
While Adam Back has been referred to as a candidate, his communication with Satoshi Nakamoto, along with his alternative views, quickly threw him out of the running. He was one of the first two people to receive an email from Satoshi Nakamoto. During a discussion of SN identity rumours, Back stated it would be unwise for Satoshi to reveal himself. He continued saying that even if the creator returns it is not likely that he would regain control as Bitcoin is decentralised enough to reject his views at this point.
Suspicions of Wei Dai being Nakamoto have been there since the Bitcoin Network launched in 2009. The computer engineer is the creator of the b-money system and the Crypto++ cryptographic library. Despite endless suspicion, there is no real evidence pointing toward Dai being Nakamoto. Email conversations between Nakamoto and Dai also make it less likely for Dai to be the coin creator. Despite the evidence pointing away from Dai, many continue to believe he might be the creator.
Dorian S Nakamoto was among the first candidates thought to be the mysterious creator. However, the 64-year-old Japanese American was quickly ruled out of the running. Dorian is an academic and engineer residing in California. His life skills and occupation were what instantly made him a top candidate apart from his name. Nakamoto worked on various classified projects, and his skill levels were on par with those required to create a cryptocurrency.
Nakamoto quickly denied any involvement in the creation of the coin. The Bitcoin creator later made a statement via an online forum stating, “I am not Dorian Nakamoto.”
Hall Finney is one of the most popular suspects. The console game developer was an early member of the ‘cypherpunk movement’ and discovered Nakamoto’s Bitcoin proposal through a cryptocurrency mailing list.
Finney is fascinated by the idea of decentralised online currencies, and with the announcement of Nakamoto’s software release, Finney ordered to mine the first coins. Finney was actively in touch with the creator but flatly denies claims of being the inventor behind Bitcoin. His involvement with the currency has always been secondary. Finney died in 2014 of the neurodegenerative disease ALS. In one of his final blog posts, he states that the true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto remains a mystery and that he was proud of his involvement in the legacy of Bitcoin.
Szabo was another early cypherpunk with many friends in the inner circles. Apart from his initials, his blog post hypothesising on a digital currency called ‘Bitgold’ in 2005 made him a popular candidate.
Nick Szabo is hyper-secretive and an expert in cryptocurrency. In the late 90’s he created his cryptocurrency called ‘bit gold’ and has also played a fundamental role in the development of Bitcoin.
During a study on linguistic similarities done in 2014, researchers found plenty of similarities in Szabo’s writing and the Bitcoin whitepaper. According to researchers, no other candidate was as good a match as Szabo.
When the New York Times wrote a story suggesting Szabo is Bitcoin’s creator, he quickly responded via a tweet stating, “Not Satoshi, but thank you”.
Craig Wright is an Australian academic and businessman, also thought to be the creator of the famous coin. Wright is one of the few candidates who has claimed he is the man behind the coin. In 2016, Wright came forward, claiming to be the creator of the cryptocurrency. After numerous investigations, it was found that it was all an elaborate hoax. When investigations began, Wright quickly made public announcements stating that he thought he was ready to let go of the anonymity but now sees it is not the right time. The statement came shortly after the businessman was to provide evidence proving he is the real Satoshi Nakamoto.
There are numerous suspects with no hard evidence. Firm favourites remain, Hall Finney and Nick Szabo, with the latter a particularly good match, according to researchers.
Given the continuous anonymity, there is no telling if the identity of the man/ team behind Satoshi Nakamoto will ever be revealed.