Although the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto is still unclear, there is no doubt about what he created: he is the inventor of the Bitcoin protocol, which he published in a white paper in November 2008 via an encrypted e-mail address.
In 2009 he installed the first Bitcoin client and communicated with the Bitcoin community until the end of 2010. After that, he disappeared from the scene without a trace.
Initially, he worked with an open source team on the project and attached great importance to not disclosing any personal information. Last heard of him in the spring of 2011 when he said: “I will now devote myself to other things.”
Was he Japanese?
You shouldn’t judge a book by its title. Or is it? “Satoshi” means “thinking clearly”, “Naka” could mean “inside or relationship”, “Moto” means “origin or foundation”.
All these things fit the person who created a movement and a sophisticated algorithm. The problem is, however, that every single word can have several meanings.
So there is no certainty that Satoshi Nakamoto is Japanese. For simplicity, Satoshi Nakamoto is hereinafter referred to as with the male sex, although he could also be female or a group of several persons.
Does anyone know who Satoshi Nakamoto was?
New Yorker Joshua Davis believes Satoshi Nakamoto is a cryptography student at Dublin Trinity College called Michael Clear. He came to his conclusion through an analysis of all Nakamoto letters containing more than 80,000 words. In it he searched for linguistic references to Nakamoto’s identity. However, he also suspected the Finnish economic sociologist and former game developer Vili Lehdonvirta. However, both have stated that they are not the inventors of Bitcoin. In a web summit in 2013, Michael Clear even publicly stated that he was not Satoshi Nakamoto.
Adam Penenberg of FastCompany denied the suspicion and said Satoshi Nakamoto was an association of three people: Neal King, Vladimir Oksman, and Charles Bry. He proved that he entered various sentences from the published white paper into Google to check whether these word phrases had already been found somewhere before. It turned out later that one of the three was named in a patent application for updating and distributing cryptic keys. The Bitcoin.org domain that Satoshi Nakamoto used to publish the white paper was registered only three days after that same patent application. According to Penenberg, the domain is said to have been registered in Finland and one of the patent applicants had travelled to the country six months earlier. All three suspects, however, deny being Satoshi Nakamoto.
However, the Bitcoin.org domain was registered on August 18, 2008 by an anonymous Japanese service provider and a Japanese ISP. After that, the domain should only have been transferred to Finland. This somewhat invalidates the Finland theory.
Others claim that the inventor of Bitcoin could also be Martii Malmi. Martii lives in Finland and has been involved in the development of Bitcoin since its birth.
Jed McCaleb is also a suspect. He is known as a lover of Japanese culture and lives in Japan. At the same time, he is founder of the controversial Bitcoin exchange Mt Gox and co-founder of the decentralized payment systems Ripple and Stellar.
There are many more potential Satoshi Nakamotos, including Donal O’Mahony, Michael Peirce, Professor Shinichi Mochizuki and Dorian S. Nakamoto. All deny, however, to be the inventors of an ingenious invention. The Bitcoin community therefore remains uncertain about Satoshi Nakamoto’s identity.
What do they know about Satoshi Nakamoto?
Based on interviews with Satoshi Nakamoto’s companions from the early hours of Bitcoin’s birth, he is said to have carefully thought through the system. According to Jeff Garzik, his encodings did not bear the handwriting of a conventional software engineer.
How rich is he?
According to an analysis by bitcoiner Sergio Lerner, Satoshi Nakamoto is said to have mined many of the first blocks in the Bitcoin network, a total of about one million bitcoins. At the current exchange rate in July 2017, this corresponds to more than two billion US dollars.