Bitcoin is the first decentralized peer-to-peer form of money in the world. But who has created such an ingenious system? Well, it may surprise you that not only no one knows who is the creator of Bitcoin cryptocurrency and payment network but also that his/her/their disappearance was well aligned with Bitcoin’s design.
Who created Bitcoin?
It is widely known Bitcoin is the product of an unknown individual or group behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. More than 10 years ago on October 31, 2008, he wrote on an obscure cryptography mailing list:
“I’ve been working on a new electronic cash system that’s fully peer-to-peer, with no trusted third party.”
He also attached a link to a document now known as a Bitcoin whitepaper. Next, he developed the Bitcoin network together with other developers for almost two years and suddenly disappeared by the end of 2010. His disappearance aligns with the Wikileaks controversy. At the time, Wikileaks was deplatformed by all the traditional financial service providers so bitcoin was suggested as a possible means of payment.
Satoshi never wanted bitcoin to gain such attention at that time, which is clear from his forum posts:
“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.”
Ten days later, the PC World published an article which suggested bitcoin as a probable payment tool for Wikileaks. Such a sequence of events has prompted Satoshi to leave the last message on the forum.
“It would have been nice to get this attention in any other context. WikiLeaks has kicked the hornet’s nest, and the swarm is headed towards us.”
No public messages have been posted by Satoshi ever since. Although there were some messages posted on his P2P foundation account, it is believed the account was abandoned and hacked.
Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?
He himself claimed to be a 37-year-old male who lived in Japan. However, some people speculated he was unlikely to be Japanese due to his use of perfect English and his Bitcoin software not being documented or labeled in Japanese. He also had an impressive knowledge of financial history and was an excellent C++ coder. But even though Satoshi has left more than 80,000 words and an open-source Bitcoin code for everyone to see and inspect, no one has managed to disclose his or her identity.
The mysterious Bitcoin inventor could remain unknown forever, but there are some hints as to who he might be. Some people have come forward claiming that they are Satoshi, while others were implied to be, but denied it. These include early bitcoin developers and related people with software and fintech background:
- Nick Szabo. A decentralized currency enthusiast, cypherpunk, and author of Bit Gold, a digital currency often called Bitcoins predecessor. It was referenced in Bitcoins whitepaper, too. Szabo denied being Satoshi Nakamoto many times.
- Wei Dai. A computer engineer and cypherpunk best known for creating another Bitcoin predecessor B-money and Crypto++ library.
- Hal Finney. Bitcoin pioneer, cypherpunk, and one of the earliest Bitcoin developers. He received the first bitcoin transaction from Satoshi Nakamoto in the earliest days of Bitcoin. He passed away on August 28, 2014.
- David Kleiman. A noted computer forensics expert, cryptographer, and author. He passed away on April 26, 2013.
- Adam Back. A cypherpunk and inventor of Hashcash, now a co-founder of Blockstream.
- Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto. A retired computer engineer for technology and financial information services firms. He denied being a Satoshi Nakamoto and there is little to none evidence of him being involved with Bitcoin.
- Craig S Wright. An Australian who claims to invent Bitcoin together with David Kleiman. His claims were debunked by a thorough investigation by bitcoin core developer Jameson Lopp.
Traits of Satoshi Nakamoto
Despite remaining anonymous, there are many clues and easter eggs that might point towards the “real” Satoshi Nakamoto. Previous analysis of Satoshi’s posts to the bitcointalk.org forum suggests he lived in an EST timezone in the United States.
Satoshi’s writing style reveals remarkable details, too. He wrote in British English and used expressions like “writing a description of Bitcoin for general audiences is bloody hard,” which may indicate his British origins. Also, he was extremely accurate with his writing and seldom made a spelling mistake.
Another easter egg he left for cryptocurrency enthusiasts is in the first Bitcoin block (known as the genesis block) where he encoded a secret message which reads:
“03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.”
That was the headline of The Times newspaper on January 3, 2019. It’s no coincidence that Bitcoin emerged in the midst of the global banking crisis, and is the so-called “antidote” to the current fragility of economy we live in.
It’s no secret that Satoshi Nakamoto wasn’t fancy of the contemporary banking system. In his words:
“The root problem with conventional currency is all the trust that’s required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust. Banks must be trusted to hold our money and transfer it electronically, but they lend it out in waves of credit bubbles with barely a fraction in reserve. We have to trust them with our privacy, trust them not to let identity thieves drain our accounts,” was stated in the Bitcoin whitepaper.
As of today, the early Bitcoin wallets that are allegedly owned by Satoshi have over 1 million Bitcoins. However, none of those Bitcoins were moved and still remain dormant.
Why did Satoshi leave?
A developer who claims he worked with Nakamoto calls him/her/them paranoid, bossy and kind of weird. Could he have been so paranoid that he left the protocol because of all the heat it started to attract in 2011? Or was there another reason?
While we can only guess today, the prominent theory in the Bitcoin community is that Satoshi left because he didn’t want to mislead the development of Bitcoin protocol. His presence in the community would have led to the creation of a single entity which could’ve influenced the development. Essentially, decentralized open-source protocols shouldn’t be influenced by the opinion of one person, since that goes completely against the entire concept of decentralization. Therefore, that’s the probable reasons why Satoshi Nakamoto left.
Satoshi left because he didn’t want its influence to affect the protocol development creating a single point of failure. The very idea of “Satoshi Vision” itself is against Satoshi’s vision for Bitcoin— Federico Tenga (@FedericoTenga) July 18, 2018
The idea is confirmed by the Satoshi himself. In his last email, he wrote:
“I’ve moved on to other things. It’s in good hands with Gavin (Anderson) and everyone.”
No matter how and why, Satoshi Nakamoto has created something that the world has never seen before – the first truly decentralized digital currency and payment network which is not dependent on banks, governments, and other trusted third-parties.