It’s been over a decade since Satoshi Nakamoto released Bitcoin’s whitepaper and sparked the crypto revolution. Despite the time that has passed, the world is no closer to revealing the identity of this masked developer. One thing is for sure, many attempts have been made by everyone from journalists to governments to discover Nakamoto’s true identity.
What We Do Know
Thankfully, Nakamoto left behind a few clues to his intentions. For one, it’s obvious that he wanted to remain anonymous. He used a fake name and went to lengths to secure his privacy. Notably, Satoshi is a traditional Japanese name that means “one with wise ancestry”.
Many people are surprised to learn that Nakamoto was active on multiple blogs in the early days of Bitcoin. In some of these posts, he shed some light on his location and past. According to Nakamoto, he was born on April 5, 1975, and was living in Japan at the time of Bitcoin’s creation. However, online investigators have made some startling revelations regarding these posts.
For one, they noted that Nakamoto said he lived in Japan but only appeared online during traditional UK work hours. Additionally, they noted that he had excellent English language skills. These facts have led some to dispute Nakamoto’s posts. These investigators believe that this was all part of his plan to remain anonymous.
A List of Possible Nakamotos
Over the years there have been some compelling arguments put forth as to the true identity of Nakamoto. Each of these individuals has been singled out as a possibility. However, as you will soon learn, no one has yet to move a single Bitcoin from the original wallets.
When Bitcoin was launched, Nakamoto mined around 1 million coins. Most agree, to prove you’re Nakamoto, you need to have access to these funds. No one has accomplished this task yet. Here are the top Nakamoto contenders to date.
Hal Finney was an excellent prospect as he was the first person to receive a Bitcoin transaction and he worked with Nakamoto on improving the project. In fact, he was the first person to make adjustments to Bitcoin’s core code following Nakamoto.
Further fueling theories that Finny was Nakamoto was his education and history in cryptography. Finny held an engineering degree from Caltech and worked as a developer for the PGP Corporation. Despite all of these points, Finny publicly denied being Nakamoto on numerous occasions. Sadly, he died in August 2014.
When he passed, another theory came to light. Oddly, Finny lived next to another suspected Nakamoto, Dorian Nakamoto. Until this day, there are some investigators that believe the pair co-created Bitcoin in secret.
In March 2014, the quiet life Dorian Nakamoto was living ceased to exist. It was at this point that he was confronted by reporters regarding a freshly published story in Newsweek Magazine that claimed he was actually Satoshi Nakamoto. At first glance, the story seemed solid.
The fact that they shared the same last name lent credence to the theory. Additionally, like Finny, Nakamoto had a technical background that qualified him as a possible suspect. He was a physicist at Cal Poly University. Also, he had worked in systems engineering for years and as a computer engineer for multiple financial companies.
Notably, Dorian Nakamoto had participated in multiple classified projects for the US government. When he was confronted with a yard full of reporters and they began to ask him about Bitcoin he infamously stated “it had been turned over to other people” and that “he was no longer in charge“. For split second, it looked like Nakamoto was revealed.
However, after the commotion died down, Dorian explained that he had given this canned response as he believed the reporters were inquiring about his work on classified projects. He then went on to deny having anything to do with the creation of Bitcoin. Today, the internet uses Dorian’s photo in the Satoshi Nakamoto memes to commemorate the fiasco.
Nick Szabo, is another early cryptographer who was in the right place and possessed the skills to create Bitcoin. On multiple occasions, Szabo communicated with Finny on blogs and he was one of the original cypherpunks.
Even more interesting is that Szabo published a whitepaper in 2005, years before Bitcoin, where he described a new decentralized currency called Bit Gold. Notably, a few of Bit Gold’s technical concepts are shared with Bitcoin.
The Szabo theory falls apart when you delve deeper into Nakamoto’s correspondences with others. It turns out that he was not even aware of Szabo’s concept when he made Bitcoin. It was another well-known blockchain developer, Wei Dai that first brought Bit Gold to Nakamoto’s attention. Szabo has also denied being Nakamoto publicly.
Craig Wright has claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto on numerous occasions. He even filed a copyright on the cryptocurrency. However, he has not been able to prove his identity by accessing the +1 million Bitcoin’s locked in Nakamoto’s early wallets. He claims the keys were lost.
Wright first appeared as Nakamoto in December 2015 following the publishing of an interview with Wired and Gizmodo. Since that time he has gone to extremes in his claim to the Bitcoin legacy. In one instance, he even sued another crypto enthusiast for refusing to recognize him as Bitcoin’s creator.
Today, he still claims to be Nakamoto. However, his prospects of assuming this identity have faded. On multiple occasions, he has tried to use cryptographic evidence as proof he is Nakamoto. However, his claims continue to be disputed by experts.
Still No Nakamoto
After searching for over 11-years, Nakamoto’s identity still remains a mystery. Consequently, his fortune sits untouched. Is now worth billions more than when Nakamoto last appeared. Some speculate Nakamoto may be no longer with us, and others believe he is patiently waiting to reveal his identity to the world at the right time. No matter how you look at it, one thing is for sure, Nakamoto has succeeded in fueling endless conspiracy theories.