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Why the identity of the founder of Bitcoin is still a mystery explained Who is this Satoshi Nakamoto guy?


While the world of crypto currencies continues to puzzle many, the kind of impact it has had on the financial systems across the world is noteworthy. But mysteries seem to be a running theme and given its origins, it is spot on. Over a decade ago, the world witnessed a cryptic milestone when Satoshi Nakamoto developed Bitcoin, the world’s first cryptocurrency. But who is this mastermind? No one knows for sure.

What do we know about Satoshi Nakamoto?

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Nakamoto is said to be a pseudonym for the person or people who helped create Bitcoin but the real identity of who he, she or they might be, continues to remain one of the biggest mysteries of the 21st century. The mysterious individual or group was the author of a 2008 white paper which outlined the theory and operating structure of the Bitcoin payment system. 

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Nakamoto’s identity continues to remain shrouded in mystery due to the lack of personal or background details about the person who would only communicate via email. One of the biggest indications that Nakamoto created Bitcoin was the famous white paper titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”. 

The elusive mastermind behind the now largest cryptocurrency in the world was said to be working on the first version of the software back in 2007. Around two years later, Nakamoto created the first-ever online message board post which was dedicated to cryptocurrency, on the P2P Foundation forum. 

“I’ve developed a new open source P2P e-cash system called Bitcoin. It’s completely decentralised, with no central server or trusted parties, because everything is based on crypto proof instead of trust. Give it a try, or take a look at the screenshots and design paper,” said Nakamoto, on the forum, as per Forbes. 

However, in 2010, his involvement with Bitcoin ended but the cryptocurrency did not. As of 2021, at least one million Bitcoin miners were verifying the data that make up the Bitcoin blockchain and the cryptocurrency continues to remain one of the world’s largest by market cap. 

What did Nakamoto do?

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It is worth noting that while the idea of digital currency was not new at the time, as reports suggest, there had been few attempts to create it. However, Nakamoto managed to solve a fundamental problem with digital currency, duplication. Unlike tangible currency like coins or paper money which could only be present at one place at a time, cryptocurrency could be duplicated which is also known as “double-spending”. 

Since digital currency does not exist in physical space, the transaction of said currency would not be in a single person’s possession. As a result, digital currency could be spent more than once. In order to overcome this issue, Nakamoto created a blockchain system of verification. 

Initially, one of the solutions to circumvent this problem would be third-party intermediaries like banks which would verify if the currency has already been used by its holder. However, given the additional costs and the risk of fraud of the trust-based model, Nakamoto decided to remove the human factor altogether and proposed a decentralised approach for transactions using ledgers.

This is where the blockchain comes into play. This system adds timestamps to transaction information, and cryptographic techniques are used to encrypt the data which cannot be changed and must be validated. Subsequently, the network is required to verify the authenticity of the transactions based on a majority consensus mechanism called proof-of-work.

Is Nakamoto a real person?

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We know so little about the so-called father of cryptocurrency that many have questioned if Satoshi Nakamoto really does exist. However, given what is known about the mastermind behind this system, there seems to be at least one person, if not people behind it. Case in point, somebody would have to write a source code for Bitcoin, publish the white paper which began it all, send emails and even create a forum to talk about the cryptocurrency. 

About his disappearance 

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Several reports have quoted Nakamoto’s last email written on 24 April 2011 which was a short statement to another developer where the creator of Bitcoin said “I’ve moved on to other things” and that the project was in “good hands”. In December 2010 following the creation and initial implementation of Bitcoin, the creator seemingly vanished from the public eye. 

It was in 2014 when a final forum post credited to Nakamoto simply said, “I am not Dorian Nakamoto.” This came after a Newsweek magazine article published in March of that year claimed that a 64-year-old Japanese-American physicist was the creator of Bitcoin. 

The report said, “The trail followed by Newsweek led to a 64-year-old Japanese-American man whose name really is Satoshi Nakamoto”. Although it could be said that Nakamoto did not necessarily ‘disappear’ considering his identity was never revealed and anonymity would likely be his only choice to avoid public scrutiny. 

Is Elon Musk Satoshi Nakamoto?

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There have been speculations about Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk being Satoshi Nakamoto after a former intern for Musk’s SpaceX company Sahil Gupta, in a blog post on the website Medium suggested so. He cited the billionaire’s knowledge and interests which could have led him to develop a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.

However, Musk has since denied this claim. In 2021, during a podcast by AI researcher Lex Fridman, the Tesla CEO said that he believes that the person behind the Nakamoto pseudonym is none other than cryptographic expert Nick Szabo. 

“He seems to be the one more responsible for the ideas behind Bitcoin than anyone else. He claims not to be Nakamoto, but I'm not sure that's neither here nor there,” said Musk, as quoted by CNBC. However, Szabo had also previously denied this claim. 

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