Satoshi Nakamoto is the alias used by a person or group who authored the Bitcoin whitepaper. Satoshi is the creator of the first release of the Bitcoin protocol and blockchain database. The alias was used in email and forum correspondence from August 2008 through April 2011.
Satoshi’s first appearance in the world was the publication of the Bitcoin whitepaper to several mailing lists on October 31, 2008. Beginning in 2007, Satoshi wrote the initial codebase for Bitcoin and released it on Sourceforge on January 9, 2009. On January 3, 2009, Satoshi created the ‘Genesis Block’ of Bitcoin containing the text, “The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.” This text is in reference to the headline of the front page of “The Times” newspaper from England and Satoshi’s dissatisfaction with Fractional Reserve banking.
For two years, Satoshi was very active in creating and promoting Bitcoin, including:
- Creation of the bitcoin.org website
- Creation of the bitcointalk.org website
- Creation of Bitcoin initial releases
- Maintenance of Bitcoin software through December 2010
- Collaborating with early Bitcoin developers
- Sending test transactions
From mining Bitcoin in the early days, addresses belonging to Satoshi have amassed approximately one million Bitcoins.
His last verifiable communication to the world was in April 2011, simply stating:
“I’ve moved on to other things. It’s in good hands with Gavin and everyone.”
Both Bitcoin and the Blockchain Protocol have been attributed to Satoshi Nakamoto, as well as Predicative Script.
Possible Identities of Satoshi Nakamoto
There has not been any verifiable proof as to whom the individual really is. The following individuals have all been thought potential Satoshi Nakamotos at one time or another.
A high profile article in Newsweek penned by Leah McGrath Goodman suggested that Dorian was Bitcoin’s creator. He is a Japanese American man with the birth name of Satoshi Namakoto. He was trained as a physicist at Cal Poly Pomona and worked on classified defense projects. He has also done work for Citibank. He was laid off twice in the 1990s and was libertarian. In an interview, he responded to a question by stating:
“I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it. It’s been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection.”
Later, it was revealed that he had no connection to the cryptocurrency, and he misunderstood the question as relating to his work with Citibank and not Bitcoin. Within twelve hours of the article being released, Satoshi Nakamoto’s account on the P2P Foundation website was hacked and posted the message:
“I am not Dorian Nakamoto.”
This message was posted by the hacker due to the vulnerabilities in GMX’s email system.
Hal lived a few blocks from Dorian Nakamoto. Between this and a writing analysis, Hal is the closest possible candidate for being Satoshi Nakamoto. However, there is one event that discredits Hal as being Satoshi. In January 2009, when Hal and Satoshi were working on the early versions of Bitcoin, Hal encountered an error and posted a debug log to the mailing list:
“Hi Satoshi – I tried running bitcoin.exe from the 0.1.0 package, and it crashed. I am running on an up to date version of XP, SP3. The debug.log output is attached. There was also a file db.log but it was empty.”
Satoshi acknowledges the bug and releases 0.1.2 with a fix:
“All the problems I’ve been finding are in the code that automatically finds and connects to other nodes, since I wasn’t able to test it in the wild until now. There are many more ways for connections to get screwed up on the real Internet.”
In the early days of Bitcoin, Bitcoin sent and received transactions directly between clients using IP addresses. The debug log reveals the IP address of three users connected to the IRC channel. On January 10, 2009, there were only two people working on the project at that time. Hal and Satoshi.
Tracing the IPs reveals Hal’s IP address and an IP address out of Van Nuys, California on a DSL connection.
Skye Grey, a blogger, linked Nick to the Bitcoin whitepaper using some writing analysis. Nick is a decentralized currency advocate and published a paper on “bit gold.” This is where things get iffy, vis-a-vis Szabo being Satoshi. Based on correspondence between Hal and Satoshi, while Bitcoin was being created, Satoshi was unaware of Bit Gold. Between January 2009 and March 2009, the reference to Bit Gold was added to the Bitcoin.org website.
On December 8, 2015, Wired magazine wrote that Craig:
“Either invented bitcoin, or is a brilliant hoaxer who very badly wants us to believe he did.”
Craig had established an elaborate scheme of website postings and email correspondences to create the appearance that he and David Kleiman were Satoshi Nakamoto. A very lengthy article written by Sam Biddle and Andy Cush for Gizmodo on December 8, 2015, unpacks Craig Wright’s assertions and business dealings leading to many more questions than answers.
In May of 2016, Craig Wright went on several interviews with the BBC, The Economist, and GQ and claimed to provide technical proof that he is Satoshi. Gavin Andresen originally stated that Craig Wright was Satoshi before retracting his claim.
Despite his assertions, the clearest proof that he is Satoshi has never been provided—none of the original wallets with Bitcoins mined by Satoshi have ever been moved in any way.
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