The search for Satoshi — a futile effort
In 2009 an anonymous user named Satoshi Nakamoto sent an E-Mail to a cryptography mailing list, sharing Bitcoin, its whitepaper and code. Thirteen years have passed, Bitcoin’s market cap is now 1 trillion USD, and the mysterious creator is still missing. Shrouded by an enigma of shadows and anonymity. Who is Satoshi? And why searching will leave us with more questions than answers:
Throughout the years people have claimed and have been accused of being the creator of Bitcoin. Let’s quickly list some “suspects” and why they could be the Satoshi:
- Dorian Nakamoto: A libertarian, computer scientist, resides in California.
- David Kleinman: The first Bitcoin miner, data security and cryptography expert, potentially corresponded with Satoshi before the whitepaper’s release.
- Hal Finney: Received the first Bitcoin transaction, cryptography pioneer, first to interact with the Bitcoin code.
- Nick Szabo: Creator of Bit-Gold, writes extremely similar to Satoshi, referenced Bit-Gold concepts in the whitepaper.
Let’s begin by speaking about California, the only time Satoshi Nakamoto was caught not using a VPN or Tor his IP address was located in California. Both Hal Finney and Dorian Nakamoto lived in California. The craziest part of this is, the fact that Dorian Nakamoto and Hal Finney lived only a few blocks apart, this leads many to believe that Dorian is Satoshi, and that this is the reason Hal was the first to receive a Bitcoin transaction. More damning details are that Dorian Nakamoto is both extremely libertarian and a talented computer scientist.
Next let’s speak about “Bit-Gold”, Bit-Gold is known as the precursor to the “modern” cryptocurrency. More importantly, the Bitcoin whitepaper references Bit-Gold concepts though does not directly mention Bit-Gold, this could potentially be Nick trying to hide his tracks, wanting to stay out of the spotlight. On top of what is mentioned above, people have cross-referenced the writings of Satoshi and Nick finding many similarities and common phrasing leading many to believe that even if Nick isn’t Satoshi, Satoshi must have been inspired by him.
Bitcoin mining is an integral part of the protocol, and David Kleinman was the first Bitcoin miner. Not much evidence pointing to him being Satoshi has been found, but, he definitely was at the center of the project. Early E-Mails from before the whitepaper was released have been allegedly leaked, containing this text:
“I need your help editing a paper I am going to release later this year. I have been working on a new form of electronic money. Bit cash, Bitcoin…” — — “You are always there for me Dave. I want you to be a part of it all.”
This proves that David, if not Satoshi, was an integral part of the project.
It is a possibility that Satoshi is a group of people, even possibly being the people above, this could explain why his wallets haven’t been touched since 2011. They could be using a multi-sig wallet to keep it secured. This could explain his British grammar, slip-up in Cali and his references to Bit-Gold. But alas, we will probably never know.
The search is futile. Satoshi was obviously very paranoid about his anonymity and privacy, proven by the fact he was only caught with his VPN off once. Satoshi does not want to be found, and perhaps this is for good reason. Perhaps it is better for Bitcoin as a whole and for Satoshi as a being or entity to stay shrouded in mystery. But no matter if Satoshi is found, Bitcoin will continue to live on, his legacy eternalized on the blockchain.
We are Satoshi.