The first statement regarding the creation of a decentralized cryptocurrency was signed with the name of a certain Satoshi Nakamoto, who was supposedly “born on April 5, 1975 and lives in Japan.” Of course, no one believes this information, because not a single person has ever seen or talked to Mr. Satoshi, either in person or by phone. Only a few people corresponded with the creator of bitcoin by email.
Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? Who actually created the breakthrough Bitcoin payment system? These questions have been occupying the minds of crypto lovers since 2008, when the first version of the digital wallet appeared. Perhaps this is the most intriguing, mysterious and confusing story of the 21 century. And it seems unlikely that humanity will ever solve this riddle, because there have not been any more clues – the last time someone under the name Satoshi Nakamoto went online was on April 26, 2011.
The more secrets, the more people have the desire to figure out the puzzle, bring this mysterious person out into the open, simply because it is in human nature. However, this is not exactly idle curiosity. Crypto fans want to get to the bottom of things for a simple reason: the elusive and mythical Satoshi Nakamoto, whoever he may be, owns more than 1.1 million coins, which is 5% of all the bitcoins in the world mined. This amount of bitcoins has an estimated value of about $ 25 billion at the current rate. As of 2023, there are about 19 million tokens in circulation. The mysterious creator of the cryptocurrency initially decided that a maximum of 21 million bitcoins can circulate on the market, and then the emission will stop.
Of course, people cannot help being interested in the personality of one of the richest people on the planet. When a person starts having a huge impact on the world, he loses the right for anonymity.
Further on are some of the most interesting rumors, theories, and guesses about the identity of the real creator of bitcoin.
Supposition # 1: Paul Leroux
Some biotech entrepreneur Martin Shkreli claims to have deciphered the signature under the very first bitcoin transaction, when the founder of the cryptocurrency made a transfer to the American programmer Hal Finney.
Shkreli claims that the first bitcoin transaction was signed like this:
“This Transaction was made by Paul Leroux to Hal Finney on January 12, 2009 #bitcoin.”
Who is Paul Le Roy? This man was at the same time a computer programmer, a crime boss, and an informant of the US Drug Enforcement Agency. Since 2020, he has been serving a 25-year prison sentence for involvement in seven murders and participation in illegal business.
Many people agree with this idea. They say all the pieces of the puzzle fit together: Paul Le Roy has strong motivation to remain anonymous in order to ensure the circulation of illegal proceeds.
Supposition # 2: Hal Finney
This is the very person who received the first transfer from Nakamoto in the amount of 10 BTC. Hal was a cryptographer and was actively involved in the development of the project. Some people say Finney just sent money to himself from one wallet to another.
During his lifetime, he always denied rumors of his authorship. Finney died in 2014, but, interestingly, there was some activity in his wallet in 2017 – three years after his death. There are suggestions that his family sold access to the wallet to third parties.
Supposition # 3: Craig Steven Wright
The story of this crazy Australian scientist is interesting, because Craig Wright is the only person who decided to publicly declare in 2015 that he is the real Satoshi, while the other suspects and candidates have always denied their involvement in the matter. Many people believed Wright and took his statements quite seriously. Confident that he was right, Craig Steven Wright copyrighted the early bitcoin code (which actually doesn’t mean anything, because anyone could do that) and sued journalists for libel because they dared to doubt his statements.
It must be noted that Mr. Craig is a bit different from most people. He has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism. One of the signs of this mental disorder is excessive concentration on any topic that a person is passionate about. Craig Wright is an incredible workaholic and erudite who sleeps 4 hours a day and reads textbooks to relax. At the same time, Mr. Craig has constantly made contradictory statements about his authorship and never once confirmed his words with real evidence.
Even though this self-proclaimed creator of bitcoin has long been out of public interest, he still does not retract his claims. For example, one of the recent cases was a lawsuit for “copyright infringement on bitcoin derivatives.” He lost the case, but won some people’s admiration for his perseverance.
Supposition # 4: Dorian Nakamoto
This was the idea of a Newsweek journalist who interviewed the former physicist and engineer in 2014. At that time, Mr. Dorian Nakamoto was 64 years old; he had had odd jobs for more than 10 years, and due to his bad financial situation, he could not even pay for the Internet access.
He answered the journalist’s questions evasively, but one phrase he said attracted the attention of many people:
“I am no longer involved in this and cannot discuss it. It has been passed on to other people. They are now responsible for it.”
Taken out of context, these words were enough to conclude that the Japanese scientist had that particular surname for a good reason. A big buzz broke out around the name of Dorian Nakamoto. It was difficult for him to cope with stress due to the constant attention of the press. Therefore, he issued a refutation, saying that he misunderstood the journalist’s words. He believed that she was asking him about his past research in physics. He also claimed that until the time the interview was published, he had not even known the word “bitcoin”.
This “exposure” case is peculiar, because in 2014 the real Satoshi broke the silence he had been keeping from 2011 and wrote on a crypto forum: “I am not Dorian Nakamoto.” However, other sources claim that Satoshi’s profile was hacked.
The story had a happy ending: the people were so deeply impressed by the scandal that they donated over $1 to Mr. Dorian.
Do we actually need to know who the founder of bitcoin really is?
This is some of the high drama in the geeks’ world. Not all the theories about Satoshi’s identity are listed above, but the rest of the stories are less exciting and contain a lot of boring technical details.
For example, one candidate is considered the “real Nakamoto”, because he had developed the first crude version of a decentralized currency long before Bitcoin was discovered. The second candidate came under the limelight because he was the person whom the real founder appointed a Bitcoin lead programmer and to whom he handed over all the important passwords and keys before pulling away from the project. The third candidate has a similar handwriting to the Bitcoin founder. The rest fell under suspicion simply because they are considered smart guys who understand cryptography.
It is also important to know that many suspects have already died. Therefore, there is a theory in the crypto-fan community that the real founder of the Bitcoin network may not be alive. How else can one explain the following facts?
- Satoshi has not made any appearances on the Web for so many years;
- His fortune of 1.1 million bitcoins has remained untouched for many years: not a single coin from his numerous wallets has been withdrawn, spent, moved or exchanged.
Is it possible that Satoshi has had no access to his capital because he died? Or maybe 5% of the total supply of bitcoins never really existed, and it’s just a legend?
If at least one of these questions gets an unambiguous answer, it may create a risk of destabilization of the cryptocurrency. If such information starts a panic in the market, the bitcoin rate will collapse. At the beginning of February 2023, the rate of 1 BTC was $21,841. Such an attractive cost is connected, among other things, with the anonymity of the creator, which guarantees confidentiality for other users. Therefore, most crypto traders believe that it will be more profitable for the market participants if the identity of the Bitcoin founder remains undisclosed.