If you have invested in crypto you may have heard the name Satoshi Nakamoto before. If not, the term satoshis probably not unfamiliar to you. But how much do we really know about this mysterious Nakamoto and what part does he play in crypto developments? Find out everything you need to know about Satoshi Nakamoto in this post!
The end of 2008 was a milestone in the history of crypto. Just over a decade ago, the start was made for a new financial revolution that today is becoming increasingly accessible to the public. In the greatest secrecy, work was being done on an alternative means of payment. Even though we think of fiat money as a stable currency, this is not the case at all. Every year, even fiat money is subject to inflation. Did you know that in the 1950s, one million dollars is now only equivalent to 100,000 dollars?
We are learning more and more about Bitcoin, and in recent years the first, of now many, cryptocurrencies have evolved spectacular. Like many new developments, it takes time to get the attention and especially the trust of the public. It took no less than 2 years for the price of Bitcoin to reach $1. Now, in 2021 Bitcoin experienced it’s All Time High of nearly $65,000. Not surprisingly, Bitcoin's share is defining for all other altcoins.
But the question is rather: what do we know about Satoshi Nakamoto, the founder of Bitcoin? It's a question that is on the minds of many investors and developers, and therefore everyone wants an answer. But is this really a good idea?
November 1, 2008, 16.15. An email arrives to the Cryptography Mailing List:
"I am working on a new electronic money system that is completely peer-to-peer, with no trusted intermediary. The paper is available at https://www.bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf"
With those words, Satoshi Nakamoto introduced the Bitcoin white paper (more about white papers here) to a small group of cypherpunks 12 years ago, loosely connected via the mailing list. The eight-page document described Bitcoin.
Satoshi Nakamoto was an unknown to them. Initial reactions to the Bitcoin white paper were sceptical. Questions about scalability, security, and especially feasibility, Satoshi answered.
"You won't find a solution to political problems in cryptography," someone wrote. Satoshi replied, "Yes, but we can win a big battle in the arms race and gain new ground for freedom for a few years. Governments are good at chopping off heads of centrally managed networks like Napster, but pure P2P networks like Gnutella and Tor seem to be keeping themselves afloat."
Satoshi Nakamoto not only shared the white paper but was also an active part of the Bitcoin community in the early years. First through the mailing list, but later mostly through the Bitcoin Talk forum. Satoshi answered questions, explained, collaborated, and mixed in forum discussions.
Unfortunately, we don't know that much, but we can say with certainty that Satoshi Nakamoto is a pseudonym. This pseudonym refers to the developers of Bitcoin, but no one knows if this is just one person, or if a whole group of developers are involved here. You would think that the person or team behind the success would make themselves known, but nothing could be further from the truth. Until 2011, Satoshi was involved in the development of Bitcoin, but little has been heard from him since then. We know that he sent his last email in April 2011 in which he wrote, "I have moved on to other things. It's in good hands with Gavin and everyone."
This keeps the mystery alive, and speculation abounds as to who Satoshi Nakamoti may be. Over the years, of course, various theories have emerged claiming to have figured out Nakamoto's true identity, but never has it been proven through facts. This eternal search also adds to the mystery of Bitcoin and makes it somewhat extra interesting for certain investors. In the art world, the comparison is therefore made to Banksy, the famous street artist whose identity is unknown to anyone.
Even though no evidence has ever been found as to who is behind the mystery, there have been several individuals over the years who have expressed themselves as Satoshi Nakamoto. For example, in 2012 there was a man with the last name Nakamoto, from Japan, who said he was the inventor of Bitcoin. This has since been seen as a false statement. Not only were false statements made by people claiming to be Satoshi, but a witch hunt was opened to find out who Satoshi really could be.
It is believed that Satoshi Nakamoto is from England, because the first block of bitcoin was supposedly mined by Satoshi Nakamoto, and according to computer data, it was mined from England and not Japan. This means that at the time of mining this block, Satoshi was, and may still be, in England.
Some people have previously suggested that Satoshi is not one person, but a group of people or a whole team. The reason for this is the complexity of crypto development, which was completely new at the time. One person, according to these people, would never have been able to accomplish this, as the source code of Bitcoin is a complicated process. John McAfee, the British-American software developer, and founder of the network security company McAfee even claimed that Satoshi Nakamoto would be a team of 11 people.
Nevertheless, there are of course many people who want to discover who is behind this revolution. Even though his name suggests that the team or person would be from Japan, this theory has since been debunked. Stefan Thomas, a Swiss software engineer, researched the timestamps of forum posts made by Nakamoto at the time. In doing so, they saw virtually no activity between 05h00 and 11h00 GMT time. This corresponds to 2pm and 8pm Japanese time. Of course, these are all speculations and there is plenty of continued searching.
Nevertheless, there are several people who claim to be the almighty inventor of Bitcoin
The last name suggests that he is related to the founder of Bitcoin. So, in 2014, Dorian came into the media after profiling himself as Satoshi Nakamoto. Dorian is a physicist who graduated from the University of California and worked on a secret defence project. This was enough, to make him mysterious enough. During an interview, he stated that he was "no longer" involved with Bitcoin and that he had decided to hand over his duties to other people.
Afterwards, he denied this statement and claimed that he had misunderstood the question and subsequently had nothing to do with Bitcoin either. Despite the ongoing speculation, the public is no longer convinced that Dorian is involved with Bitcoin.
Nick Szabo is an American lawyer and computer engineer. The reason he would potentially be a candidate like Satoshi Nakamoto is because he was credited with researching smart contracts, a study dating back to 1996, no less than 13 years before Bitcoin was launched.
In 2008, a year before Bitcoin was created, he himself devised a decentralized digital asset that he called Bit Gold, a rather obvious comparison to Bitcoin. He described Bit Gold as a protocol whereby online transactions could be carried out without relying on centralized third parties. This is again a comparison to the whole core business of Bitcoin where transactions are verified and validated by the network.
British author and comedian Dominic Frisby has written a book about Bitcoin in which he seems certain that Nick Szabo is the one and only Satoshi Nakamoto. One reason was the similar writing style, but also that they both refer to Carl Menger, an Austrian economist in the 19th century. Nick Szabo, in addition, is said to have worked for DigiCash. This is a company that before the launch of Bitcoin, made several attempts to use crypto for digital payments. In his view, therefore Szabo is a good contender to be Satoshi Nakamoto.
Wright is an Australian scientist who has been anything but coy about his so-called dual identity. In 2015, he participated in the Bitcoin Investor's Conference in Las Vegas where he said he was involved in the creation and further development of Bitcoin. When journalists asked him for clarification, he said nothing more than "I'm kind of involved in a little bit of everything - I've been working on this for a long time and I'm trying to get my head around it.
When asked for evidence, he referred to a document on his blog that appeared a few months before Bitcoin's official white paper. In addition, emails were found with his lawyer referring to a peer-to-peer network and database. These are features that revolutionized Bitcoin and are the foundation for the development of crypto.
Nevertheless, his claims were soon questioned, and he lost credibility with his story. Even Vitalik Buterin, founder of Ethereum, publicly called him a fraud. But this image breakup did not stop him from continuing to develop in the crypto community and consequently came up with a new crypto currency not much later: Bitcoin SV.
Of course, the core value of crypto is decentralization and the elimination of external third parties. Perhaps it is even a conscious action that the identity is kept secret. For Bitcoin to remain successful, no single person or company is allowed to influence its further development. The network is organized in a decentralized manner and is therefore regulated by the users and for the users. Anyone can participate in this peer-to-peer network without exception.
The fact that the founder is unknown makes Bitcoin a valuable digital asset. This is because there is no central person or organization that can unilaterally change rules or control Bitcoin. Although decentralization is the norm, we see in many different crypto projects that they were developed by a central organization, where they still have power over them. Because the identity of the founder or team behind Bitcoin is unknown, they will never be able to exert influence. As a result, the protocol can never be changed unilaterally, only by a democratic majority of the network.
We may never get an answer to the question of who Satoshi Nakamoto is, but we do know that he/she still owns quite a few Bitcoins himself. We know that over the years, these Bitcoins have not been moved, so we can conclude that they are still with the same owner(s) as in 2009. It is believed that he still holds between 600,000 and 700,000 bitcoins, although other sources claim that the number is even as high as 1 million Bitcoin.
Out of the total maximum stock of 21 million, this would mean that Satoshi owns as much as 5% of all Bitcoin. If the number is one million Bitcoin, the value is estimated to be a current value of $43 billion. Whether Satoshi owns 600,000 bitcoins or 1 million, the fact is that Satoshi Nakamoto's bitcoins are spread across several wallets.
Another question that is often asked is whether Satoshi Nakamoto is still alive. It is therefore inconceivable to many that someone with one million Bitcoin in possession has never shifted them on the network to take profits. Has the identity remained so secret to everyone that the founder has died and taken all the mystery with him, or is this person a firm believer that the development of Bitcoin has only just begun?
In addition, it is to his own advantage not to make himself known nor to move his Bitcoins. Holding as much as 5% of all Bitcoins, if he moves his Bitcoins, he can disrupt the entire market which will have an unseen impact on the price of Bitcoin.
In addition to the success Bitcoin has enjoyed as a crypto since its inception in 2009, we are still engaged in daily speculation as to who Satoshi Nakamoto may be. The question on the minds of many is whether this has been a deliberate action all these years, or whether there are potentially more factors that we do not yet know about. Aside from the fact that several individuals have made themselves known as the one and only Satoshi, there is no evidence to date.
However, the question is also whether it would be a good action should this person or group of people make themselves known. The very first crypto currency also knows its success partly through mysticism that it carries with it and there are therefore many investors who would rather see Satoshi keep his secret identity for a while.
It is highly likely that these 1 million Bitcoins will not be moved in the network, as this will have such an impact on the market, causing the price to fluctuate enormously. We may never get an answer to the question of who Satoshi Nakamoto is, and if we ever do, what does this mean for the future of Bitcoin, the first and largest crypto currency?