Who is the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto?

Who is the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto?

Satoshi Nakamoto is a pseudonym for the person or group of people who developed and launched Bitcoin, the world's first cryptocurrency. Nobody knows exactly who the mysterious Nakamoto is, making it one of the 21st century's greatest mysteries.

Bitcoin has gone on to become used by millions worldwide, and his legacy as the creator of the first cryptocurrency makes Satoshi Nakamoto one of the most influential figures in the crypto space. This article will dive into some of the most known theories on who's behind it all.

Bitcoin launches

Bitcoin was first introduced to the world in 2009 and was designed as an alternative to traditional currencies and payment systems. At the time of its introduction, many saw Bitcoin as nothing more than a passing fad or quick money-making scheme. Over time though, the value of this cryptocurrency has skyrocketed, making it one of the most valuable financial assets in the world today.

So how did Bitcoin come to be? How did it go from being just another technological concept on paper to one of the most powerful economic forces on earth? The answer lies with Satoshi Nakamoto himself.

Although much about who he is remains a mystery even today, it is known that Nakamoto first published a white paper laying out the framework for Bitcoin in 2008. In this document, he outlined his vision of an entirely digital and decentralized currency system allowing users to conduct financial transactions without relying on banks or other intermediaries.

The theories

There are many theories, some more controversial than others, on who Satoshi Nakamoto is. Journalists and blockchain enthusiasts have heavily investigated this over the last ten years and have yet to conclude. Let's take a look at some of the theories.

The Dorian Nakamoto theory

This theory emerged when the journalist Leah McGrath Goodman from the magazine Newsweek published an article claiming that Dorian Nakamoto, a 64 years old Japanese-American engineer living in California, was the elusive creator of Bitcoin. The story generated a lot of buzz when Dorian was quoted saying he "was no longer involved in that."

Dorian's life skills and occupation made Goodman and others believe that he had what it took to invent the cryptocurrency and release it to the world anonymously. After spending two months investigating her story, her biggest selling point was that Dorian's birth name is "Satoshi Nakamoto."

Dorian later went on record denying any affiliation with Bitcoin and his potential involvement in its creation, pointing out that poor communication between the two led to Goodman's conclusion.

The Hal Finney theory

Hal Finney is often considered one of the main contributors to Bitcoin, being the second-ever user of Bitcoin after Nakamoto and an active participant from its very inception. He was a computer programmer and scientist who created cryptographic software to protect online transactions such as email and even discussed the concept of digital money with Satoshi Nakamoto before it existed.

The journalist Andy Greenberg started a hunt on the creator of Bitcoin just hours after the magazine Newsweek released its cover story on Dorian Nakamoto when Greenberg received an email from a cryptography community pointing out how Hal Finney's address was only a few blocks away from where Dorian Nakamoto lived. In other words, the possibly-first and confirmed-second ever users of Bitcoin lived just blocks apart.

Was there any connection between Dorian Nakamoto and Hal Finney? Andy Greenberg analyzed Finney's texts and concluded that the writing style would strongly resemble Satoshi Nakamoto's. The theory of Hal Finney being Satoshi Nakamoto was spread throughout the space.

Greenberg later changed his mind on this theory after meeting with Hal Finney, where Hal confirmed that he had corresponded with Bitcoin's creator but denied any connection to the invention of Bitcoin or Dorian Nakamoto.

The Nick Szabo theory

Nick Szabo is a computer scientist and legal scholar best known for his research on digital contracts and cryptocurrency. After publishing several articles in the 1990s on topics like smart contracts and digital money, he proposed Bit Gold, the first decentralized cryptocurrency, in 1998. Although Bit Gold never came to fruition, many of its core concepts were later implemented by Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Szabo is also known for his work on law and economics and is currently serving as chief science officer at Global Financial Access, which aims to bring financial access to people around the world through technological innovation.

Many people believe that Nick Szabo is Satoshi Nakamoto considering Nick's technical knowledge of cryptography and the many similarities between Bit Gold and Bitcoin.

Szabo later denied this claim.

“I'm afraid you got it wrong doxing me as Satoshi, but I'm used to it."

The Craig White theory

Craig Wright is a controversial figure in the cryptocurrency space, and in 2015 the Australian computer scientist published a blog post on his website claiming that he was Satoshi and provided what appeared to be cryptographic proof of this allegation, including the blocks containing the first 10 Bitcoin ever sent - from Satoshi Nakamoto to Hal Finney.

He made several appearances in the media with the claim, including interviews with BBC and the Economist.

However, many experts have since questioned these claims, including security researcher Dan Kaminsky and cryptographer Tal Moran, explaining that Wright simply copied a signature used by Satoshi Nakamoto and that they had trouble getting verifiable information out of it.

Elon Musk added fuel to the fire when he posted a tweet back in March 2022 indicating the name originates from the brand names of four electronics companies: "Sa" from Samsung, "Toshi" from Toshiba, "Naka" from Nakamichi and "Moto" from Motorola.

Final thoughts

Whether you're an enthusiast or a skeptic of Bitcoin, it's impossible to deny that Nakamoto deserves credit for creating it from nothing. In today's world, where digital currency has become so widespread and widely accepted, we owe much of our thanks to Satoshi Nakamoto - the mysterious figure who first dreamed up this idea all those years ago.

Even Bergan Bugge

Even Bergan Bugge

Account Executive at Presail