Along the Danube River close to a Hungarian business park in Budapest, you’ll find a bronze, gleaming, almost featureless statue. This statute is so blank and glassy that you can see your own reflection as well as your surroundings.
Unveiled in September 2021, this statue has been erected as a tribute to Satoshi Nakamoto, the anonymous founder of Bitcoin. The anonymity of Nakamoto has been captured brilliantly by the statue’s creator.
The hooded figure and blank face perfectly highlight the unknown, mysterious nature of the infamous Nakamoto.
13 years on from the development and execution of Bitcoin and we are no closer to knowing the truth behind the crypto’s founder. What’s more, it’s believed that Satoshi Nakamoto is a pseudonym meaning the founder or founders have used this name as a cover for their own.
But how is it possible for one of the most famous people in the world to remain so anonymous? Has anyone ever come close to finding their true identity? Let’s look at what we do and don’t know.
Who Is Satoshi Nakamoto?
Nakamoto is an enigma to say the very least. This guy has managed to simultaneously become the most famous yet most mysterious player in Bitcoin. This tech genius changed digital currency as we know it all while staying publicly silent.
While many would have jumped at the chance of going down in history as being Bitcoin’s creator, and leaving a legacy known the world over, Nakamoto has chosen to remain so private that this mystery in itself has become almost as popular as Bitcoin.
The Bitcoin Whitepaper
However, what is known is that it was Satoshi, in 2008, who published a paper called Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System. This paper was the pushing point and started the development of Bitcoin.
This paper detailed using the peer-to-peer network as a solution to the problem of double-spending. Double-spending is the problem in which a digital token or coin could be duplicated in multiple transactions.
This problem occurs because digital currencies don’t exist physically like cash currency and therefore, digital transactions don’t necessarily take the currency from the original owner’s possession.
Nakamoto’s proposed solution to this issue was for a decentralized approach to transactions using a blockchain network. In the blockchain, a historical record is created via time-stamps based on proof-of-work. This is done for every transaction and cannot be manipulated or changed, thus removing the possibility of double-spending.
If double-spending could be eliminated on a secure network, like the blockchain, then the digital currency could cut out any third parties, for example, a bank that normally regulates the transactions. Resulting in a safe, secure, digital currency that gets rid of double-spending and doesn’t need to be regulated by a government or authority.
Nakamoto’s paper was so effective at solving the issue that it only took two months between the release of the whitepaper to the minting of the world’s first Bitcoin.
Nakamoto Moves On
Undoubtedly, the blockchain, Bitcoin, and consequently thousands of other cryptocurrencies would not have started when they did without Nakamoto’s whitepaper.
Of course, there are numerous people in the world just as capable or even more capable than Nakamoto, but at the time, it seemed he was the only one with the solution.
After the release of the paper, several crypto developers got to work alongside Nakamoto to develop his idea and create the whole Bitcoin network.
However, all the correspondence was carried out electronically via email only. Added to this that he (or she), never offered up any background or personal information and this meant that no one ever knew who they were.
Nakamoto’s involvement in the project ended rather abruptly in 2010. Barely a year after it all began, Nakamoto sent an email to one of the crypto developers to say he had “moved onto other things” and would no longer be involved.
Nakamoto was never heard from again, and while Bitcoin went on to thrive without him, people have never stopped looking for who this mystery mastermind is.
Possible Identities of Satoshi Nakamoto
Ultimately, the real identity of Nakamoto has never been found. However, this hasn’t stopped people from relentlessly looking, and at times, thinking they had uncovered the truth. Below are all the men who, over the years, have been briefly thought to be the man behind the metaphorical mask.
1. Dorian Nakamoto
Dorian Nakamoto, full name Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto is a Japanese-American engineer living in California. In March of 2014, Leah McGrath Goodman, incorrectly named Nakamoto as the founder of Bitcoin in a Newsweek article.
However, after further investigation, the 64-year-old was eventually ruled out with Nakamoto saying he had never even heard of Bitcoin.
2. Nick Szabo
Szabo is a legal scholar and computer scientist. Like Hal Finney, he was active in the cyberpunk scene and became involved with and interested in unregulated digital currency.
Back in 2005, he wrote a blog post in which he talked about a future digital currency called Bitgold which would be unregulated and not reliant on third parties.
He has repeatedly denied he is Nakamoto and has previously commented that he is used to journalists ending up at his name during their investigations.
3. Hal Finney
Just a few blocks away from Dorian Nakamoto, lived Hal Finney. Quite the coincidence, but it seems just a coincidence nonetheless. Although it has been suggested that perhaps Finney got the inspiration for the pseudonym from his neighbor’s name.
Finney was big on the developer scene and had a huge part to play with the initial development of Bitcoin.
Finney was also the first person to receive Bitcoin from Satoshi in January 2009. Despite all these factors, Finney regularly denied being the founder of Bitcoin.
Unfortunately, Finney passed away in 2014, so if he was the only and only Nakamoto, it’s unlikely we’ll ever know.
4. Craig Wright
Wright is an Australian Businessman and has a slightly more colorful life than the other contenders. Wired and Gizmodo both released articles saying Wright was possibly the real Satoshi Nakamoto. However, after deeper investigations, it was concluded that Wright had created his own elaborate hoax.
Furthermore, in December 2021, the estate of the late David Kleiman (a former colleague of Wright), brought a civil claim against Wright. The claim stated that Wright and Kleiman co-created Bitcoin and Kleiman’s estate was entitled to half of Wright’s roughly 1.1 million Bitcoin - with an estimated value of more than $50 billion.
However, the jury voted against Kleiman and Wright did not have to split his assets.
If the jury had not ruled in Wright’s favor, then Wright would have needed to use the Satoshi wallets in order to carry out the transactions. This, of course, would have been proof that Wright was Nakamoto.
While there is no proof that Wright is Nakamoto, and his claims have been discredited by many, Wright still insists he is the creator of Bitcoin.
Important Points to Takeaway
- Satoshi Nakamoto is believed to be a pseudonym and not the founder’s real name
- It’s possible that Nakamoto is more than one person
- Nakamoto is the creator of Bitcoin, the creator of the Blockchain and penned the original Bitcoin whitepaper
- Nakamoto stopped working on the project in 2010 citing the fact he had “moved on to other things”
- More than a decade after the release of Bitcoin and Nakamoto’s real identity has never been found
- It’s safe to assume that the creator of Bitcoin is a millionaire, possibly billionaire given today’s price of the crypto added to the belief that Nakamoto gave himself control of 1 million Bitcoin
- Several people have been identified as possibly being the man behind the name. However, as of yet, they have all proved false and the search continues
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