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Satoshi Nakamoto set in motion the unraveling of the nation state and the end of central banking … two closely related institutions that have directed history since history has been recorded. The creator of bitcoin is one of the greatest disruptors in modern history, and this is reason enough not to want an identity attached to the source code.

So who is Satoshi Nakamoto?

Information on the creator of bitcoin remains obscure. It has since evolved without their direct input, put forth for anyone willing to experiment with the technology. Satoshi’s last call was to deemphasize their unknown identity. As it still remains today, the true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto is unknown and the alias is considered a pseudonym. Whoever the creator was, they wanted to remain invisible, and thus far they have achieved such.

When Satoshi had the basic foundation of the bitcoin client built, they transitioned the responsibilities to a group of early enthusiasts and withdrew back into the shadowy depths of anonymity. Nothing tangible has been heard since.

Satoshi Claims

Satoshi claimed to reside in Japan, although searches and inquiries into their true identity turn up few results. In their early days working on the project, Satoshi was known for a business-like demeanor and very seldom revealed details about themselves, instead focusing feverishly on the bitcoin project. If the work of the bitcoin client was produced by one person, and began in 2007 as Satoshi claimed, then it must have required serious commitment for several months before releasing it.

At one point, when early adopters aimed at increasing its popularity, after users began lobbying for WikiLeaks to accepting bitcoin donations, Nakamoto intervened. Giving decisive orders to the team, Satoshi wrote, “No, don’t bring it on. The project needs to grow gradually so the software can be strengthened along the way. I make this appeal to WikiLeaks not to try to use bitcoin. Bitcoin is a small beta community in its infancy. You would not stand to get more than pocket change, and the heat you would bring would likely destroy us at this stage.”

Then, as mysteriously as they had appeared, Satoshi Nakamoto vanished.

Easter Eggs

Satoshi listed their date of birth as April 5th, 1975, and at first glance this appears to be insignificant. However, upon further analysis we find that On April 5th, 1933 U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed two executive orders: 6101 of Civilian Conservation Corps, and 6102 which forbade the hoarding of gold coin, gold bullion, and gold certificates by U.S. citizens. We then find that in the year 1975 gold ownership was relegalized for citizens of the US.

The birth dates coupled with the insertion of a link buried within the genesis block to a London Times article entitled ‘Chancellor on Brink of Second Bailout for Banks’, make it clear Satoshi Nakamoto was politically motivated and displayed such through easter eggs hidden within their work.

What’s In A Name?

Some researchers proposed that the name ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ was derived from a combination of tech companies consisting of Samsung, Toshiba, Nakayama, and Motorola. The notion that the name was a pseudonym is clearly true and it is doubtful they reside in Japan given the numerous forum posts with a distinctly English dialect.

Linguistic Analysis

British formatting in their written work implies Nakamoto is of British origin. However, they also use American spelling which may indicate they were intentionally trying, somewhat successfully, to mask their writing style – or that Satoshi is more than one person.

Many in the bitcoin space also believe Satoshi to be of American nationality, asserting that the time frames for code submission coincided neatly with someone living in an EST time zone.

Technical Analysis

As for the code itself, it has been dubbed multi-disciplinary and of extremely high expertise in the area of cryptography and C++ programming language, causing many to believe Satoshi Nakamoto is a small group of computer programmers rather than a single individual. Nakamoto claimed to have begun work on the bitcoin project in 2007 and published the whitepaper in the following year.

In 2008 Satoshi first released their work through a cryptography mailing list, where one of the first partners in development was cryptography expert Hal Finney. Based on analysis from other programmers who worked on the source code, it does not appear to be written by someone who is well versed in professional programming but rather has a strong academic or theoretical knowledge of cryptography.

He was the oracle to which we would go for questions about the system, but he rarely followed standard engineering practices, like writing unit or stress tests or any of the standard qualitative analysis that we’d perform on software. Several things had to be disabled almost immediately upon public release of Bitcoin because they were obviously exploitable.

– Jeff Garzik, early bitcoin developer

Adam Penenberg of FastCompany came to the conclusion that Satoshi Nakamoto may in fact be a trifecta of programmers, arguing through linguistic analysis that phrases from the whitepaper match in very unique sense to a patent application for updating and distributing hashing functions, which was filed around a remarkably similar time frame as the bitcoin.org domain name was registered. The domain was listed as being registered in Finland, and one of the patent authors had traveled there months before the domain was registered.

Regardless, all three programmers deny the claim to the Nakamoto throne.

In any case, when bitcoin.org was registered on August 18 2008, the registrant actually used a Japanese anonymous registration service, and hosted it using a Japanese ISP. The registration for the site was only transferred to Finland in May 2011, which weakens the Finland theory.

I exchanged some emails with whoever Satoshi supposedly is. I always got the impression it almost wasn’t a real person. I’d get replies maybe every two weeks, as if someone would check it once in a while. Bitcoin seems awfully well designed for one person to crank out.

– Laszlo Hanyecz, early bitcoin developer

Blockchain Analysis

Based on a blockchain analysis technique created by Sergio Lerner, an authority on bitcoin and cryptography, a dominant entity believed to be Satoshi Nakamoto had been mining the network from block 1 up until their disappearance, with identical performance. Lerner claims this miner is “the only entity that has shown complete trust in bitcoin, since it has not spent any coins,” estimating that Satoshi holds around 1 million BTC.

Many in the early community wondered why Satoshi had forsaken them in a project they poured their energy into for so long. Perhaps it was the fact bitcoin was starting to gain traction, evolving without their direct counsel, and the decision to hand the reins of power over was necessary.

However, the question still lingers, have we seen the last of Satoshi Nakamoto?

Author

Travis Patron

Travis Patron is the founder of Diginomics and the author of The Bitcoin Revolution: An Internet Of Money. He was an early adopter of bitcoin and ethereum and continues to educate audiences on emerging opportunities in the digital economy.