The identity of the creator of bitcoin once again caught public attention when Coinbase sent a copy of its dossier to Satoshi Nakamoto on Thursday. In it, the cryptocurrency exchange states that if Satoshi Nakamoto’s true identity were revealed, it could negatively impact the value of bitcoin. The S-1 file also references the creator’s stash of 1.1 million bitcoins, which is currently worth around $ 30 billion (around € 25 billion).
Since its inception in 2009, bitcoin has experienced significant ups and downs. Over the past year, the currency has risen more than 400% to reach record highs around $ 50,000 (€ 41,540). Bitcoin is considered the world’s leading crypto currency in terms of market value, but its creation remains shrouded in a lot of mystery. Who invented bitcoin? Was it created by more than one person? And who is Satoshi Nakamoto?
In 2008, the first bitcoins began to circulate on the web.
In August 2008, the domain name bitcoin.org was quietly registered online. Two months later, a document titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” was sent to a list of recipients.
This document is the first appearance of the mysterious character of Satoshi Nakamoto on the web, and permanently links this name to cryptocurrency.
On January 3, 2009, 30,000 lines of code enshrined the beginning of bitcoin.
A bitcoin on the motherboard of a PC can be seen in this illustration. Thomson reuters
Bitcoin works using stand-alone software that is “mined” by people seeking bitcoin through a lottery system. Over the next 20 years, a total of 21 million coins will be put into circulation. To date, around 18.5 million coins have been mined.
Satoshi Nakamoto did not work entirely alone.
Among the early bitcoin enthusiasts, Hal Finney, a developer of console games and an early member of the “cypherpunk movement”, discovered Satoshi Nakamoto’s creation through the initial mailing list.
In a blog post from 2013, Hal Finney said he was fascinated by the idea of decentralized online currency. When Satoshi Nakamoto announced its release, Hal Finney offered to mine the first coins – 10 original bitcoins from Block 70, which Satoshi Nakamoto sent on a trial basis.
Of his interactions with Satoshi Nakamoto, Hal Finney says, “I thought I was dealing with a young man of Japanese descent who was very intelligent and sincere. I have been fortunate enough to know a lot of brilliant people in my life so I recognize the signs “.
Hal Finney has categorically denied any claim that he is the inventor of bitcoin and has always maintained that his involvement in the currency was only secondary.
In 2014, Hal Finney died of neurodegenerative disease ALS, or Charcot’s disease. In one of his last posts on a bitcoin dedicated forum, he said Satoshi Nakamoto’s true identity remains a mystery to him. Hal Finney says he was proud of his heritage, and that his bitcoin stash was stored in an offline wallet, left as a legacy for his family. “I hope they will be of value to my heirs,” he wrote. To date, a bitcoin is worth almost $ 50,000 (41,540 euros).
Almost a year later, bitcoin is slowly becoming a viable currency.
In 2010, a handful of traders began to accept bitcoin in place of traditional currencies. One of the first tangible items purchased with cryptocurrency was a pizza. Today, the amount of bitcoin used at the time to buy these pizzas is valued at $ 100 million (83 million euros).
Other companies have also started to invest in this currency. In February, Tesla bought more than $ 1 billion worth of bitcoin and took steps to allow customers to pay for their electric cars with cryptocurrency.
Cryptocurrency has also started to attract the interest of tech elites. In 2012, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss bought $ 10 million (8.3 million euros) worth of bitcoin, and in less than a year their investment more than tripled. The Winklevoss twins are estimated to hold 1% of all available bitcoin.
In 2011, Silk Road, an online marketplace for illegal drugs, was launched. He used bitcoin as the main currency of exchange.
Bitcoin is inherently traceless, a quality that makes it the ideal currency for facilitating the drug trade on the burgeoning internet black market. With bitcoin, anyone could buy cannabis, LSD and cocaine on Silk Road without revealing their identity. In a way, the drug smuggling site legitimized bitcoin as a medium of commerce, even though it was only used to facilitate illicit trade.
Two years later, the mysterious figure known as ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ disappeared from the web.
On April 23, 2011, Satoshi Nakamoto sent a brief email to Mike Hearn, developer of Bitcoin Core. “I moved on,” he said, referring to the bitcoin project. The future of bitcoin, he wrote, was “in good hands.”
In his wake, Satoshi Nakamoto left behind a vast collection of writings on the inner workings of bitcoin, and the most influential cryptocurrency ever created.
Who is this Japanese-American named Satoshi Nakamoto?
Dorian S. Nakamoto, a man who was not at all involved in the creation of bitcoin.
Google “Satoshi Nakamoto”, and the results will take you directly to the image of an old Asian man. This is Dorian S. Nakamoto, called “Satoshi Nakamoto” at birth. He is almost 70 years old, lives in Los Angeles with his mother and, as he has recalled hundreds of times, is not the creator of bitcoin.
In 2014, Newsweek published a feature article on the identity of the creator of bitcoin. Immediately after the article was published, Dorian S. Nakamoto was followed by reporters on his way to a sushi restaurant. He then told the Associated Press that he had only heard about bitcoin a few weeks before, when Newsweek contacted him. Two weeks later, he made a statement to Newsweek, claiming that he “had not created, invented or otherwise worked on bitcoin”.
Dorian Nakamoto’s claim was corroborated by the actual creator of bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto: a day later, the name mysteriously surfaced in an online forum to post: “I’m not Dorian Nakamoto.”
The Craig Wright controversy
In 2016, Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright claimed to be the creator of bitcoin and provided disputed code as evidence. Bitcoin Foundation Chief Scientist Gavin Andresen corroborated Craid Wright’s claim, stating that he was “98% certain” that he was behind Satoshi Nakamoto’s pseudonym.
But others disagreed, and Craig Wright’s claim sparked fierce skepticism from the cryptocurrency enthusiast community, as well as alleged interest from the FBI. Amid the sudden influx of scrutiny, Craig Wright deleted his post and issued an apology. “I’m sorry,” he wrote, “I believed I could put the years of anonymity and cover-up behind me. But, as the events of this week unfolded and I prepared to release the evidence of access to the first keys, I fell for it. I don’t have the courage “.
Nick Szabo has been repeatedly identified as the creator of bitcoin, a claim he denies.
As part of determining Satoshi Nakamoto’s identity, one person has been repeatedly cited: top-secret cryptocurrency expert Nick Szabo, who not only played a fundamental role in the development of bitcoin, but also created his own cryptocurrency called “bit gold” at the end of the 90s.
In 2014, a team of linguistics researchers compared the writings of Satoshi Nakamoto to that of thirteen potential creators of bitcoin. The results, they said, were indisputable. “The number of linguistic similarities between Nick Szabo’s writings and the bitcoin white paper is astonishing,” the researchers said, “none of the other possible authors came so close to perfect.”
A New York Times article also established that he was the creator of bitcoin. Nick Szabo, a staunch libertarian who has spoken publicly about the history of bitcoin and blockchain technology, has been involved in cryptocurrency knowledge since its inception.
Nick Szabo strongly denied these claims, both in the New York Times article and in a tweet: “Not Satoshi, but thank you.”
Here’s how the real ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ might prove his true identity:
He could use his PGP key
A PGP key is a unique encryption program associated with a given username – similar to an online signature. Satoshi Nakamoto could attach his to a message or letter indicating his identity.
He could move his bitcoins
Satoshi Nakamoto has amassed a fortune in bitcoin: it is believed that he has more than a million, which would today be valued at more than a billion dollars (more than 830 million euros approximately). Theoretically, Satoshi Nakamoto could move his bitcoins to another address.
Dorian Nakamoto, Nick Szabo and Craig Wright are not the only ones who have been suspected of being the inventor of bitcoin.
Several people have been associated with the creation of bitcoin. But so far, they have all denied having created it. Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk has notably been suspected of being the creator – a theory he categorically denied in 2018.
Satoshi Nakamoto’s Wikipedia page identifies at least 13 potential candidates as the creator of bitcoin. It’s been over ten years since it was created, and we’re still not close to confirming who invented it.
Why would the inventor of the world’s largest cryptocurrency choose to remain anonymous?
Bernard v.n NotHaus, the creator of the Liberty Dollar. Youtube
It turns out that experimenting with new forms of money is not without consequences. In 1998, Bernard von NotHaus, a resident of Hawaii, dabbled in a new form of currency called “Liberty Dollars” with disastrous results: he was charged with breaking federal law and sentenced to six months. house arrest, with a three-year probation period.
In 2007, one of the first digital currencies, E-Gold, was shut down under controversial circumstances by the US government for money laundering.
In January, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen suggested steps that could be taken to “reduce” the number of bitcoins.
There is a good reason why the inventor of bitcoin wants to remain anonymous: by preserving his anonymity, he avoided negative legal consequences.
In addition, one of the founding principles of bitcoin is that it is a decentralized currency, not tied to any visible institutions or individuals. In his initial bitcoin proposal, Satoshi Nakamoto writes: “What is needed is an electronic payment system based on cryptographic evidence rather than trust, allowing two willing parties to transact directly with each other. without needing a trusted third party “.
According to a public statement by America’s leading digital currency trading platform, Coinbase, if Satoshi Nakamoto decides to come forward, the value of bitcoin could plummet.
Why would anyone bother to create a decentralized currency without taking advantage of it?
Much of the mystery that surrounds Satoshi Nakamoto concerns his motivations. Why would anyone bother to create a detailed and shiny decentralized currency, only to then disappear altogether?
A closer look at one of Satoshi Nakamoto’s first bitcoin notes sheds light on its possible motivations.
In February 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto wrote: “The fundamental problem with traditional money is all the confidence it takes to make it work. You have to trust the central bank not to degrade the currency, but the story of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust. We have to trust the banks to hold our money and transfer it electronically, but they lend it in waves of credit bubbles with barely a fraction in reserve. We have to give them our privacy, trust them not to let identity thieves empty our accounts … “.
On bitcoin-related forums, it has been speculated that Satoshi Nakamoto could be “a libertarian” and hate “the rich and corrupt politicians”. Other supporters of bitcoin suggest that the timing of its emergence is a clear indication of its raison d’être: the currency, which was created in the years after the housing bubble burst in 2007, may have was invented as a way to disrupt the corrupt banking system.
Here are the certainties we have on ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’:
They are geniuses
In a 2011 New Yorker article, a prominent internet security researcher described bitcoin’s code as an impenetrable execution approaching perfection: “Only the world’s most paranoid and thorough coder was able to avoid making mistakes . “
They speak fluent English
Satoshi Nakamoto has written extensively on bitcoin, with nearly 80,000 words on the subject in two years. His work reads like that of an English speaker.
They could be British
Judging by their spelling and use of British colloquialisms, they are believed to have originated from the United Kingdom. The timing of his posts seems to indicate this fact as well: it has been pointed out that Satoshi Nakamoto posted during the day in the UK.
It could be more than one person
The infallible brilliance of bitcoin’s code has made many people wonder if this isn’t the work of a team of developers. Bitcoin security researcher Dan Kaminsky says Satoshi Nakamoto “could be either a team of people or a genius.”
What does the creator of bitcoin think about his success?
Joshua Davis, who spent four months researching the possible identity of the creator of bitcoin for a New Yorker article, says he’s deeply curious about what the creator of the cryptocurrency thinks about his success: “Every time I see a article on increasing the value of bitcoin, I wonder if Satoshi sees that too. What is he thinking? Is he proud? Does he think that at some point, one day, he is will finally unveil? ” If “Satoshi Nakamoto” has not yet revealed himself, it is unlikely that we will ever know who he is.