Today, we live in a world where almost every question can be answered just with a few, simple keystrokes but, there still are some things left to be investigated or those that remain unanswered. For example, what happened to the missing MH370 plane and the people onboard?
Similarly, WHO is the creator of Bitcoin ? (If you don’t know about Bitcoin, you can learn about it from my previous post)
Well, you might answer that the title of this post itself says that the creator of Bitcoin is Satoshi Nakamoto, then why am I questioning it?
The reason is, we only know the name of the creator while there is no actual known identity of this person or so called team of people (explained later) that claim to be the inventor behind this revolutionary system of currency.
Satoshi, created Bitcoin on 3rd of January, 2009 – all bits and no coins, just 31,000 lines of code, announced on the internet and the software was distributed through a website called sourceforge.net
This gentleman or let’s call him a plain genius, who created the first ever cryptocurrency claimed to be originating from Japan ( although a Japanese, he was very well versed with English which was concluded from his email interactions), was born on 5th April, 1975. He also claimed to be working on the software for over a year.
Why did he create this software?
He wanted to create a currency that was impervious to unpredictable monetary policies as well as to the predations of bankers and politicians. Part of it was also driven by his anger over the 2007-08 financial crisis.
This immensely talented guy used an email address and a website that were not traceable. In 2009 and 2010, he wrote a number of posts and invited a number of software developers to help him improvise the code. He corresponded with them through emails never revealing anything about himself.
In April, 2011, he sent a note to a developer saying that he had “moved on to other things.”
Thereafter, no instances of his presence have been found, neither on the internet nor physically.
Possible identities of Satoshi Nakamoto:
One of the many people with whom Satoshi corresponded was Hal Finney, a cryptographer and receiver of the first bitcoin from Satoshi. This was the first ever bitcoin transaction recorded on the ledger. He was also among the first one to use the software and hence there was a suspicion about him being Satoshi. However, he denied those allegations and significant proofs backed him. Finney passed away in August, 2014. If you are curious like me, you must check out these email interactions between Satoshi and Hal Finney, given in this pdf.
Another suspect as per the Newsweek magazine was an American Japanese man Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto whose birth name was Satoshi Nakamoto. He was working as a systems engineer. In an interview, he claimed he hadn’t even heard about this currency. The same day, pseudonymous Nakamoto’s P2P Foundation account posted its first message in five years, stating: “I am not Dorian Nakamoto.” But, it is believed that the message wasn’t posted by him and that the account of the foundation was hacked. Another key thing to notice here was that this Dorian Nakamoto lived a few blocks away from Hal Finney, which was what made the authorities more suspicious about him.
One of the earliest suspicions about the creator was Nick Szabo, since his work was referenced in the Bitcoin research paper written by the pseudonymous Nakamoto. Nick Szabo was a decentralised currency enthusiast and had published a paper “bit gold”, considered as a predecessor to Bitcoin. Szabo stated that only he and Finney liked the idea of revolutionising the existing system of currency and that Satoshi was the only person to pursue it to a significant extent. Nathaniel Popper, a renowned writer of the New York Times, writing about bitcoin and these systems since long, stated that Szabo was the real Nakamoto as per some convincing evidences.
Another prime suspicion was Craig Steven Wright according to Wired and Gizmodo. Soon after they claimed that Wright was THE person, his house was raided by police officers. Later, he voluntarily declared to be Satoshi Nakamoto. The same day, BBC had published an article saying that they had seen Wright signing a message using the private key associated with the first block transaction. Even, Gavin Andresen, one of the many people Satoshi corresponded with, wrote a blog backing Wright’s claim. But, later that day, he retracted his statement and the Bitcoin Foundation tweeted that there weren’t “cryptographic evidences” to justify that Craig was Satoshi.
These were some of the most known identities of the mastermind behind the first blockchain database. There are many more claims of identities or theories about who the real Satoshi Nakamoto is.
Gavin Andresen, a chief developer of Bitcoin who conversed with Satoshi through emails, said that when he asked Satoshi about his life, he just ignored those questions and was only focused on the developing aspect of the software. He even transferred the ownership of the website (bitcoin.org) to Andresen and as a point of contact, mentioned Andresen’s email on the website deleting his own details. Only the name, Satoshi Nakamoto, was retained. Due to this, it is said that Gavin Andresen might be the person who knows about Satoshi Nakamoto.
Dan Kaminsky is a highly respected security researcher who discovered a fundamental flaw in the Internet.
“When I first looked at the code, I was sure I was going to be able to break it,” Kaminsky said, noting that the programming style was dense and inscrutable. “The way the whole thing was formatted was insane. Only the most paranoid, painstaking coder in the world could avoid making mistakes.”
Kaminsky came up with 9 ways of compromising the system and every time he tried to exploit the system, there was one line addressing the issue. It was like a burglar who was certain that he could break into the bank but for every attempt, there was a barrier signalling him to go home.
“He’s a world-class programmer, with a deep understanding of the C++ programming language,” he said. “He understands economics, cryptography, and peer-to-peer networking.” “Either there’s a team of people who worked on this,” Kaminsky said, “or this guy is a genius.”
Why doesn’t Satoshi come out voluntarily and let people know that he was the man behind this revolution? Wouldn’t he be proud announcing himself?
Nakamoto has a good reason to hide: people who experiment with currency tend to end up (always have) in trouble.
In 1998, a Hawaiian resident named Bernard von NotHaus began fabricating silver and gold coins that he dubbed Liberty Dollars. Nine years later, the U.S. government charged NotHaus with “conspiracy against the United States.” He was found guilty and was convicted in 2011.
There have been many more instances in history inferring that you ALWAYS land up in prison when you mess with the currency system. Also, the FBI says, “It is a violation of federal law for individuals . . . to create private coin or currency systems to compete with the official coinage and currency of the United States”
Satoshi, owns around a million bitcoins which were mined during the early days of this currency system. You can check those out in a block explorer. Surprisingly though, they haven’t been touched yet. Had they been used, it would have appeared in the blockchain but, so far, there have been no records of the same. It is also being said that he might have burned (sent to an address from where bitcoins cannot be recovered) his bitcoins.
This brings us to the conclusion that there still are doubts about the real identity of the inventor behind Bitcoin. There are people and agencies that have tried hard to trace him but in vain or maybe the authorities have found out the REAL GENIUS but haven’t disclosed his identity for reasons unknown. Hence, for the world, Satoshi Nakamoto remains to be Father of Bitcoin and the Blockchain Technology.