Satoshi Nakamoto is the pseudonym of bitcoin's creator. Nakamoto's true identity has never been confirmed, though some have claimed to be Nakamoto. Others have been accused of being the "real" Nakamoto. Neither Nakamoto's gender, nor whether he or she is a single person or a group of people, has ever been conclusively established.
Until 2010, Nakamoto collaborated with an initially small community via mailing lists. Though the team was open-sourced, Nakamoto took care never to reveal anything personal, cementing the ambiguity surrounding Nakamoto's identity. Nakamoto did once state that his/her birth date was April 5, 1975, though some theorize that this was meant to be deliberately misleading, or possibly symbolic (April 5 was the date in 1933 that President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order forbidding the hoarding of precious commodities like gold, while 1975 was the year in which ownership of gold by U.S. citizens was made legal again). Eventually, Nakamoto faded from the community.
Though the bitcoin and blockchain development team was open-sourced, Nakamoto took care never to reveal anything personal, adding to the ambiguity surrounding his identity.
On April 26 2011, Nakamoto sent one final communication to the team stating simply that Nakamoto had "moved on to other projects."
Gavin Andresen, a professor at the University of Massachusetts who worked closely with Nakamoto, remarked that he had a constant sense that Nakamoto was wary of giving out even the subtlest details about his personal identity in the 2014 documentary, "The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin." In the documentary, he said of Nakamoto, “He was so worried about people finding out who he was...I don’t know why. My last email to him was telling him I’d agreed to go visit the folks over at the CIA [laughs]. Whether that had something to do with him deciding to cut off...he had been pulling away before then.”
Although many have been accused of being the true Nakamoto Nakamoto, none of those accusations has ever been confirmed. Some popular theories posit that Nakamoto's true identity is either Hal Finney, Nick Szabo or Wei Dai - the latter two of whom are credited with inventing concepts that served as precursors to bitcoin. Hal Finney is the first-ever recipient of a bitcoin transaction, which he allegedly received from Nakamoto himself. He had also met with both Szabo and Wei Dai during the development of bitcoin.
An article in Newsweek in 2014 alleged that a Southern California man named Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto was bitcoin's mysterious founder, but he denied having anything to do with bitcoin, claiming he hadn't even heard of it until about three weeks before the allegations began. In the midst of the resulting media frenzy, Nakamoto's long-dormant bitcoin foundation account briefly returned to life to publicly post the sentence, "I am not Dorian Nakamoto." This was met with mixed reception, some saying that it proved Dorian Nakamoto's lack of affiliation with bitcoin, while one man tweeted, "Then again...isn't that what Dorian Nakamoto WOULD say (if he was the real Satoshi Nakamoto)?"
In May of 2016, an Australian entrepreneur named Craig Wright publicly identified himself as the bitcoin creator Nakamoto. As proof, he showed fellow bitcoin developer Gavin Andresen that he had digitally signed messages using cryptographic keys created during the early days of bitcoin's development and linked to blocks of bitcoins known to have been mined by Nakamoto. However, The Economist and others were skeptical.
Some believe that David Kleiman, a computer expert with known affiliations with Hal Finney, may have been Nakamoto, or one of the people using the Nakamoto persona. Kleiman passed away in 2013. In 2018 Wright was sued for $10 billion by the family of Kleiman, his deceased former colleague, for wrongfully obtaining a massive amount of bitcoin from Kleiman following his death in 2013.
On June 29, 2018, an individual claiming to be Nakamoto made a post on a website called nakamotofamilyfoundation.org about a book he had begun writing. In one of the excerpts on the site, the author asserted that Nakamoto is not a "real" name: "specifically," he wrote, "not a legal name." The author said that the name is "primarily the essence of thoughts and reason." The author also said he chose "Satoshi Nakamoto" because the commonality of the name in Japanese is similar to a name like "John Smith" in English. The excerpts also include nearly a full page dedicated to Hal Finney.
On November 29th, 2018, Nakamoto's original profile on the website P2Pfoundation.ning.com made a post with a single word, "nour." No further explanation or follow-up was posted to the profile, though some speculated that since the word means "light" in Arabic, Hebrew, and Aramaic, this had something to do with Nakamoto's intended, cryptic message. Others speculated that Nakamoto's account had been hacked, and the post was simply nonsense made by an unauthorized user. Earlier that day, Nakamoto's activity feed indicated that the profile had accepted a new friend account for the first time in years. The account that was added by Nakamoto belonged to Brazilian citizen Wagner Tamanaha, who tweeted in Portuguese after these posts were made that he was "under investigation."
Whitepaper copyright claims
In April 2019, Craig Wright applied for registrations with the United States Copyright Office, claiming authorship of bitcoin's original whitepaper, “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.” On May 22, 2019, a day after the news broke, the U.S. Copyright Office published a statement: “As a general rule, when the Copyright Office receives an application for registration, the claimant certifies as to the truth of the statements made in the submitted materials. The Copyright Office does not investigate the truth of any statement made...In a case in which a work is registered under a pseudonym, the Copyright Office does not investigate whether there is a provable connection between the claimant and the pseudonymous author.”
On May 24, 2019, the CEO of a Chinese cryptocurrency market research firm, Wei Liu, registered a copyright for bitcoin's whitepaper, making him the second person to do so. Although he did not confirm whether or not he was Nakamoto, he told Coindesk, "I filed it just to let people know anyone can register a copyright. Everyone can be Satoshi Nakamoto. Wright responded over Twitter with the message, "Now we can both show our credentials and see who ends up wearing an orange suit!"
Whale Alert analysis
In July 2020, the blockchain analysis firm Whale Alert published a report saying that Nakamoto had continued to mine bitcoin longer than had previously been thought. Whale Alert said that patterns in mining data indicated that Nakamoto had kept mining in order to help stabilize the nascent blockchain. The company calculated that Nakamoto had mined more than 1 million bitcoin.
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