Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?

Written by on December 20, 2016 in Opinion with 0 Comments

Satoshi Nakamoto is a person known more from the rumor and myths surrounding his life than any actual facts. His story is compelling simply because he’s an anonymous individual in a world where anonymity is a rare thing. After all, the development of the internet and social media ensures that everybody has a record somewhere.

So, who is he?

Blockchain

Satoshi Nakamoto invented Bitcoin and the blockchain technology way back in 2008. The cryptocurrency has since grown to become a large part of internet counter-culture, although Bitcoin gained a great deal of mainstream exposure with its adoption by Microsoft, Virgin Galactic, and Valve’s Steam platform.

Bitcoin owes much of its early success to the iGaming scene. Websites like vegas casino were some of the first to make the currency part of their business model, abandoning fiat tokens like dollars in favor of Nakamoto’s landmark invention. Vegas Casino continues to operate in Bitcoin to this day and even pays out a 1000mbtc (millibitcoin) bonus to new sign-ups.

Returning to Nakamoto, the figure vanished from the scene in 2010 and hasn’t been seen since. However, that hasn’t stopped the media ‘unmasking’ Nakamoto on several occasions. There has even been at least one person – an Australian, Craig Wright – who put in his own claim to Nakamoto’s name.

There’s no evidence that Nakamoto is even male. It’s actually far more likely that the name is a pseudonym for a group of individuals, especially given that some of the earliest candidates for the mantle of Bitcoin’s inventor were a group of three men (Neal Kin, Vladimir Oksman, and Charles Bry) involved in a similar patent application.

One of the most compelling claims of the past few years involves cryptography enthusiast, Nick Szabo, who was mentioned in a book entitled “Bitcoin: The Future of Money” by author, Dominic Frisby. There’s also the unusual story of Dorian Nakamoto, an elderly Japanese man who ended up in a car chase with the press after being linked with Satoshi.

Anonymity

The problem with Satoshi Nakamoto is that anonymity is a big part of Bitcoin’s appeal, and so people involved with cryptocurrency, the likes of Kin, Oksman, Bry, and Szabo, are unlikely to come forward as the inventor on their own, and none of them have. It’s telling that the one self-declared Nakamoto, Wright, had a PR agency in his pocket; there’s a lot to gain from being Bitcoin’s inventor.

Oddly enough, Gavin Andresen, a scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation, said that he was “98% sure” Wright was Nakamoto in an interview with Quartz. His story quickly unraveled though; the Australian’s “proof” was discovered to be a unique signature used by Nakamoto, albeit one that has been in the public domain since 2009.

So, while Wright might have had the intelligence to create Bitcoin, a point made by Andresen, he’d arguably used his smarts to weave an elaborate hoax. And now, a few months on, the world is still no closer to knowing who (or what) Satoshi Nakamoto is. The worry is that the founder controls US$750m in Bitcoin, a huge amount of influence for somebody who can’t be found.

With so much money already though, and the frightening level of attention the media gave Dorian Nakamoto, Bitcoin’s true inventor arguably has nothing to gain from leaving the shadows.

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About the Author

About the Author: Tony is a freelance writer, regular speaker, MC and chairman for the telecoms and digital services industries worldwide. He has founded and managed software and services companies, acts a market strategist and is now Editor of DisruptiveViews. In June 2011, Tony was recognized as one of the 25 most influential people in telecom software worldwide. .

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