Thirteen years ago, a person or group known as Satoshi Nakamoto published a paper describing a new software system known as bitcoin. Today, bitcoin is worth more than $1 trillion, and it has sparked a phenomenon that proponents believe has the potential to rewire the entire global financial network.
However, even if Satoshi Nakamoto’s bitcoin is one of the most discussed and searched topics on the internet, Nakamoto remains a mystery. There is very little information about his existence, Here’s what we found.
Who, exactly, is Satoshi Nakamoto?
Creator(s) of bitcoin sent a nine-paged whitepaper to a group of cryptographers outlining a new form of “electronic cash” called bitcoin On Oct. 31, 2008, with identity crediting to the name “Satoshi Nakamoto”.
Nobody cared about Nakamoto’s identity at the time. The majority of those in that group were skeptical of the bitcoin concept itself. Hal Finney, Nick Szabo, David Chaum, and Wei Dai are among the cryptographers and developers. They already had tried similar systems, but all had failed.
Nakamoto launched the bitcoin network on January 9, 2009. Mr. Finney was one of the few who was intrigued by it, and the two collaborated remotely in the early weeks to get the network up and running. The first bitcoin transaction was made between Nakamoto and Mr. Finney.
Nakamoto wrote on internet forums and privately exchanged emails with developers for about two years as bitcoin slowly grew. Nakamoto stopped publicly posting in December 2010, and he stopped communicating with developers in 2011. Gavin Andresen, a software developer, took over as project leader after Nakamoto stepped down.
Is there any information about Nakamoto as a person?
No, not at all. Nakamoto never mentioned anything personal in his public messages, or even in private messages that were later released. Nothing biographical. Every single message he wrote online was about bitcoin and its code.
Nakamoto used two email addresses and one website, but the identity of the person who registered them is censored in some way.
In an age in which it is impossible to be anonymous, Nakamoto still remains a ghost.
There is over 18.89 million bitcoin currently mined. Does that mean Nakamoto is really rich?
Well, Yes! Nakamoto’s bitcoin is currently estimated at 55 Million USD in value.
According to Forbes’ real-time billionaire’s list, this would place Nakamoto among the top 30 richest people in the world.
It is assumed that Nakamoto controls those one million bitcoin—and only Nakamoto. To move them, a person must have the “private key”—a long, unique string of letters and numbers that controls access.
The person moving them would have a strong claim to be Nakamoto.
So how come they haven’t been sold?
The cryptocurrency community assumed that Nakamoto remained anonymous in the early years and left those bitcoin alone, primarily out of fear. It didn’t seem out of the question that the creator of bitcoin could be arrested. However, in recent years, most governments, with the notable exception of China, have accepted bitcoin to varying degrees.
It’s been a decade since Nakamoto vanished. It is possible that the creator of bitcoin died without passing on the private keys to anyone else. It is also possible that Nakamoto misplaced the keys and is unable to move the bitcoin.
But someone has to be Nakamoto, right?
Yes, and over the years, virtually anyone who did work that was even remotely similar to bitcoin—including Mr. Finney, who died in 2014, and Mr. Andresen—has been identified as Nakamoto. All have denied it, and there has been no evidence to the contrary.
A group of students and researchers at Aston University in Birmingham, England, conducted a linguistics analysis in 2014 and concluded that Mr. Szabo was most likely Nakamoto. Others have also claimed that he is Nakamoto. Mr. Szabo has denied the assertion.
Craig Wright, who is he?
Mr. Wright is an Australian programmer based in London who claimed to be Nakamoto in recent years. In the bitcoin community, his claims were quickly dissected and rejected. He promised to move some of the early bitcoins to prove he was Nakamoto. He hasn’t done so as of yet.
Most people in the bitcoin community will continue to dismiss Mr. Wright’s claims unless he can prove ownership of the Nakamoto bitcoin.
And it’s unlikely that anyone will be accepted as bitcoin’s true creator until those bitcoins are moved.
Despite the fact that Bitcoin is decentralized, with no single leader or control point, the community is so obsessed with its creators that the movements of one person or people can have some level of control over the system.