Satoshi Nakamoto — Crypto News

Identity

Speculation about the true identity of Nakamoto has mostly focused on a number of cryptography and computer science experts of non-Japanese descent, living in the United Statesand various European countries.

Development of bitcoin

In October 2008, Nakamoto published a paper on the cryptography mailing list at metzdowd.com describing the bitcoin digital currency. It was titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”. In January 2009, Nakamoto released the first bitcoin software that launched the network and the first units of the bitcoin cryptocurrency, called bitcoins. Satoshi Nakamoto released the Version 0.1 of bitcoin software on Sourceforge on 9 January 2009.

Characteristics and identity

Nakamoto has not disclosed any personal information when discussing technical matters. He provided some commentary on banking and fractional-reserve banking. On his P2P Foundation profile as of 2012, Nakamoto claimed to be a 37-year-old male who lived in Japan, but some speculated he was unlikely to be Japanese due to his use of perfect English and his bitcoin software not being documented or labelled in Japanese.

Possible identities

There is still doubt about the real identity of Satoshi Nakamoto.

Hal Finney

Hal Finney (4 May 1956–28 August 2014) was a pre-bitcoin cryptographic pioneer and the first person (other than Nakamoto himself) to use the software, file bug reports, and make improvements. He also lived a few blocks from Dorian Nakamoto’s family home, according to journalist Andy Greenberg. Greenberg asked the writing analysis consultancy Juola & Associates to compare a sample of Finney’s writing to Satoshi Nakamoto’s, and they found that it was the closest resemblance they had yet come across (including the candidates suggested by Newsweek, Fast Company, The New Yorker, Ted Nelson and Skye Grey). Greenberg theorized that Finney may have been a ghostwriter on behalf of Nakamoto, or that he simply used his neighbor Dorian’s identity as a “drop” or “patsy whose personal information is used to hide online exploits”. However, after meeting Finney, seeing the emails between him and Nakamoto and his bitcoin wallet’s history (including the very first bitcoin transaction from Nakamoto to him, which he forgot to pay back) and hearing his denial, Greenberg concluded that Finney was telling the truth. Juola & Associates also found that Nakamoto’s emails to Finney more closely resemble Nakamoto’s other writings than Finney’s do. Finney’s fellow extropian and sometimes co-blogger Robin Hanson assigned a subjective probability of “at least” 15% that “Hal was more involved than he’s said”, before further evidence suggested that was not the case.

Nick Szabo

In December 2013, a blogger named Skye Grey linked Nick Szabo to the bitcoin whitepaper using a stylometric analysis. Szabo is a decentralized currency enthusiast and published a paper on “bit gold”, which is considered a precursor to bitcoin. He is known to have been interested in using pseudonyms in the 1990s. In a May 2011 article, Szabo stated about the bitcoin creator: “Myself, Wei Dai, and Hal Finney were the only people I know of who liked the idea (or in Dai’s case his related idea) enough to pursue it to any significant extent until Nakamoto (assuming Nakamoto is not really Finney or Dai).”

Dorian Nakamoto

In a high-profile 6 March 2014 article in the magazine Newsweek, journalist Leah McGrath Goodman identified Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto, a Japanese American man living in California, whose birth name is Satoshi Nakamoto, as the Nakamoto in question. Besides his name, Goodman pointed to a number of facts that circumstantially suggested he was the bitcoin inventor. Trained as a physicist at Cal Poly University in Pomona, Nakamoto worked as a systems engineer on classified defense projects and computer engineer for technology and financial information services companies. Nakamoto was laid off twice in the early 1990s and turned libertarian, according to his daughter, and encouraged her to start her own business “not under the government’s thumb.” In the article’s seemingly biggest piece of evidence, Goodman wrote that when she asked him about bitcoin during a brief in-person interview, Nakamoto seemed to confirm his identity as the bitcoin founder 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.” The article’s publication led to a flurry of media interest, including reporters camping out near Dorian Nakamoto’s house and subtly chasing him by car when he drove to do an interview. However, during the subsequent full-length interview, Dorian Nakamoto denied all connection to bitcoin, saying he had never heard of the currency before, and that he had misinterpreted Goodman’s question as being about his previous work for military contractors, much of which was classified. In a Reddit “ask-me-anything” interview, he claimed he had misinterpreted Goodman’s question as being related to his work for Citibank. Later that day, the pseudonymous Nakamoto’s P2P Foundation account posted its first message in five years, stating: “I am not Dorian Nakamoto.” However, it is generally believed that Nakamoto’s P2P Foundation account had been hacked, and the message was not sent by him.

Craig Wright

On 8 December 2015, Wired wrote that Craig Steven Wright, an Australian academic, “either invented bitcoin or is a brilliant hoaxer who very badly wants us to believe he did”. Craig Wright took down his Twitter account and neither he nor his ex-wife responded to press inquiries. The same day, Gizmodo published a story with evidence obtained by a hacker who supposedly broke into Wright’s email accounts, claiming that Satoshi Nakamoto was a joint pseudonym for Craig Steven Wright and computer forensics analyst David Kleiman, who died in 2013. Wright’s claim was supported by Jon Matonis (former director of the Bitcoin Foundation) & bitcoin developer Gavin Andresen as well as cryptographer Ian Grigg.

Other claimed candidates

In a 2011 article in The New Yorker, Joshua Davis claimed to have narrowed down the identity of Nakamoto to a number of possible individuals, including the Finnish economic sociologist Dr. Vili Lehdonvirta and Irish student Michael Clear, then a graduate student in cryptography at Trinity College Dublin and now a post-doctoral student at Georgetown University. Clear strongly denied he was Nakamoto, as did Lehdonvirta.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store