- "Satoshi" redirects here. For other uses, see Satoshi (disambiguation).
Satoshi Nakamoto is the pseudonymous person or group of people who designed and created the original Bitcoin software, Bitcoin Core (formerly Bitcoin-Qt). Nakamoto published a whitepaper describing Bitcoin on The Cryptography Mailing List in 2008, and released a working implementation in 2009.
Nakamoto's involvement in Bitcoin Core development does not appear to extend past mid-2010. Prior to his disappearance in 2011, he named Gavin Andresen the Core maintainer and gave him the alert key.
The block chain shows that Nakamoto's known wallets contain roughly one million bitcoins. As of June 2015, this was the equivalent of $250 million; in November 2013, this could be valued at over $1 billion. Nakamoto's true identity remains unknown, and has been the subject of speculation. It is not known whether the name "Satoshi Nakamoto" is real or a pseudonym, or whether the name represents one person or a group of people.
There are no records of Nakamoto's identity or identities prior to the creation of Bitcoin. On his P2P Foundation profile, Nakamoto claimed to be a 37-year-old male who lived in Japan, but some speculated he was unlikely to be Japanese due to his use of perfect English and his Bitcoin software not being documented or labelled in Japanese. British formatting in his written work and the citation of a British journal in the genesis block imply that Nakamoto is actually of British origin. However, he also sometimes used American spelling, which may indicate that he was intentionally trying (but failed) to mask his writing style, or that he is more than one person. Stefan Thomas graphed the time stamps for each of Nakamoto's BitcoinTalk posts (more than 500); the resulting chart showed a steep decline to almost no posts between the hours of 5 am and 11 am GMT. Because this pattern held true even on Saturdays and Sundays, it suggested that Nakamoto was asleep at that time.
Because the first release of Satoshi's original Bitcoin software was amazingly complete and featureful, the software is often speculated to be the result of a collaborative effort, leading some to claim that Satoshi Nakamoto himself was a collective pseudonym for a group of people. Dan Kaminsky, a security researcher who read the Bitcoin code, said that Nakamoto could either be a "team of people" or a "genius". Core developer Gregory Maxwell argues that "the [version 0.1] source code is strongly idiomatic of code written primarily by a single mind." Laszlo Hanyecz, the buyer of the renowned 10,000 BTC pizzas, had felt that the code was too well designed for one person.
Investigations into the real identity of Satoshi Nakamoto have been attempted by The New Yorker, Fast Company and Newsweek.
The New Yorker arrived at Michael Clear, a young graduate student in cryptography at Trinity College in Dublin, who was named the top computer-science undergraduate at Trinity in 2008. The next year, he was hired by Allied Irish Banks to improve its currency-trading software, and he co-authored an academic paper on peer-to-peer technology. Clear strongly denied he was Nakamoto.
Neal King et al.
Fast Company's investigation brought up circumstantial evidence that indicated a link between an encryption patent application filed by Neal King, Vladimir Oksman and Charles Bry on August 15, 2008 and the bitcoin.org domain name which was registered 72 hours later. The patent application contained networking and encryption technologies similar to Bitcoin's. After textual analysis, the phrase "computationally impractical to reverse" was found to be in both the patent application and the Bitcoin whitepaper. All three inventors explicitly denied being Satoshi Nakamoto.
In May 2013, Ted Nelson speculated that Nakamoto is really Japanese mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki.[clarification needed] Later, an article was published in The Age newspaper that claimed that Mochizuki denied these speculations, but without attributing a source for the denial.
In December 2013, a blogger named Skye Grey linked Nick Szabo to the Bitcoin's whitepaper using a stylometric analysis. Szabo is a decentralized currency enthusiast and published a paper on "bit gold" in 1996, which is considered a precursor to bitcoin. He is known to have been interested in using pseudonyms in the 1990s. In a May 2011 article, Szabo stated about the Bitcoin creator: "Myself, Wei Dai, and Hal Finney were the only people I know of who liked the idea (or in Dai's case his related idea) enough to pursue it to any significant extent until Nakamoto (assuming Nakamoto is not really Finney or Dai)."
Detailed research by financial author Dominic Frisby provides circumstantial evidence but, as he admits, no proof that Satoshi is Szabo. Speaking on RT's The Keiser Report, he said "I've concluded there is only one person in the whole world that has the sheer breadth but also the specifity of knowledge and it is this chap...". But Szabo has denied being Satoshi; In a July 2014 email to Frisby, he said: 'Thanks for letting me know. I'm afraid you got it wrong doxing me as Satoshi, but I'm used to it'. Nathaniel Popper wrote in the New York Times that "the most convincing evidence pointed to a reclusive American man of Hungarian descent named Nick Szabo."
- Main article: Dorian Nakamoto
Newsweek identified Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, an engineer from Temple City, California. In March 2014 he wrote to Newsweek, "I did not create, invent or otherwise work on Bitcoin. I unconditionally deny the Newsweek report." Later Andreas Antonopoulos organized a fundraiser for Mr. Nakamoto, who thanked the community by video message.
Hal Finney was a pre-Bitcoin cryptographic pioneer and the first person (other than Satoshi himself) to use the software, file bug reports and make improvements. He also lived a few blocks from Dorian Nakamoto's family home, according to Forbes journalist Andy Greenberg. Greenberg asked the writing analysis consultancy Juola & Associates to compare a sample of Finney's writing to Satoshi Nakamoto's, and they found that it was the closest resemblance they had yet come across (including the candidates suggested by Newsweek, Fast Company, The New Yorker, Ted Nelson and Skye Grey). Greenberg theorized that Finney may have been a ghostwriter on behalf of Nakamoto, or that he simply used his neighbor Dorian's identity as a "drop" or "patsy whose personal information is used to hide online exploits". However, after meeting Finney, seeing the emails between him and Satoshi, his Bitcoin wallet's history including the very first Bitcoin transaction (from Satoshi to him, which he forgot to pay back) and hearing his denial, Greenberg concluded Finney was telling the truth. Juola & Associates also found that Satoshi's emails to Finney more closely resemble Satoshi's other writings than Finney's do. Finney's fellow extropian and sometimes co-blogger Robin Hanson assigned a subjective probability of "at least" 15% that "Hal was more involved than he’s said", before further evidence suggested that was not the case.
Nakamoto has claimed that he has been working on Bitcoin since 2007. In 2008, he published a paper on The Cryptography Mailing List at metzdowd.com describing the Bitcoin digital currency. In 2009, he released the first Bitcoin software that launched the network and the first units of the Bitcoin currency.
Version 0.1 was for Windows only and had no command-line interface. It was compiled using Microsoft Visual Studio. The code was elegant in some ways and inelegant in others. The code does not appear to have been written by either a total amateur or a professional programmer; some people speculate based on this that Satoshi was an academic with a lot of theoretical knowledge but not much programming experience. Version 0.1 was remarkably complete. If Satoshi truly only worked on it alone for two years, he must have spent a massive amount of time on the project.
Nakamoto was active in making modifications to the Bitcoin software and posting technical information on the Bitcoin Forum until his contact with other Bitcoin developers and the community gradually began to fade in mid-2010. Until a few months before he left, almost all modifications to the source code were done by Satoshi -- he accepted contributions relatively rarely. Just before he left, he set up Gavin Andresen as his successor by giving him access to the Bitcoin SourceForge project and a copy of the alert key.
Nakamoto's work appears to be politically motivated, as quoted:
"Yes, [we will not find a solution to political problems in cryptography,] but we can win a major battle in the arms race and gain a new territory of freedom for several years. Governments are good at cutting off the heads of a centrally controlled networks like Napster, but pure P2P networks like Gnutella and Tor seem to be holding their own." - Satoshi Nakamoto
"[Bitcoin is] very attractive to the libertarian viewpoint if we can explain it properly. I'm better with code than with words though." - Satoshi Nakamoto
In the Bitcoin network's transaction database, the original entry has a note by Nakamoto that reads as:
"The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks"
Some claim this quote implies Nakamoto had great concern or contempt for the current central banking system.
- "Satoshi's posts to Cryptography mailing list". Mail-archive.com. http://firstname.lastname@example.org&q=from:%22Satoshi+Nakamoto%22. Retrieved 2013-12-14.
- Davis, Joshua. "The Crypto-Currency: Bitcoin and its mysterious inventor.". The New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/10/10/111010fa_fact_davis.
- Penenberg, Adam. "The Bitcoin Crypto-Currency Mystery Reopened". Fast Company. http://www.fastcompany.com/1785445/bitcoin-crypto-currency-mystery-reopened. "A New Yorker writer implies he found Bitcoin's mysterious creator. We think he got the wrong man, and offer far more compelling evidence that points to someone else entirely."
- Bosker, Bianca. "Gavin Andresen, Bitcoin Architect: Meet The Man Bringing You Bitcoin (And Getting Paid In It)". HuffPostTech. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/16/gavin-andresen-bitcoin_n_3093316.html.
- Liu, Alec. "Bitcoin Mints Its First Billionaire: Its Inventor, Satoshi Nakamoto | Motherboard". Motherboard.vice.com. http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/bitcoin-mints-its-first-billionaire-satoshi-nakamoto. Retrieved 2013-12-14.
- Wallace, Benjamin. "The Rise and Fall of Bitcoin". Wired. http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/11/mf_bitcoin/all/. "It seemed doubtful that Nakamoto was even Japanese. His English had the flawless, idiomatic ring of a native speaker."
- Naughton, John (7 April 2013). "Why Bitcoin scares banks and governments". The Observer. http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2013/apr/07/bitcoin-scares-banks-governments. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
- Jeffries, Adrianne (4 October 2011). "The New Yorker's Joshua Davis Attempts to Identify Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto". Betabeat. http://betabeat.com/2011/10/did-the-new-yorkers-joshua-davis-nail-the-identity-of-bitcoin-creator-satoshi-nakamoto/. Retrieved 27 December 2013.
- Reddit comment by Greg Maxwell aka nullc
- Benjamin Wallace: The Rise and Fall of Bitcoin, Wired, November 23, 2011
- Davis, Joshua (10 October 2011). "The Crypto-Currency". The New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/10/10/111010fa_fact_davis?currentPage=all. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- "Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?". coindesk.com. 26 November 2013. http://www.coindesk.com/information/who-is-satoshi-nakamoto/. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- The New Yorker’s Joshua Davis Attempts to Identify Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto
- Clear, Michael (4 April 2013). "Clarifications on Bitcoin Article". https://www.scss.tcd.ie/~clearm/bitcoin.html. Retrieved 17 December 2013.
- Nakamoto, Satoshi (24 May 2009). "Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System". http://bitcoin.org/bitcoin.pdf.
- Penenberg, Adam. "The Bitcoin Crypto-Currency Mystery Reopened". FastCompany. http://www.fastcompany.com/1785445/bitcoin-crypto-currency-mystery-reopened. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- Greenfield, Rebecca (11 October 2011). "The Race to Unmask Bitcoin's Inventor(s)". The Atlantic. http://www.theatlanticwire.com/technology/2011/10/race-unmask-bitcoins-inventors/43535/. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- "I Think I Know Who Satoshi Is". YouTube TheTedNelson Channel. 18 May 2013. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emDJTGTrEm0.
- Eileen Ormsby (2013-07-10). "The outlaw cult". Theage.com.au. http://www.theage.com.au/technology/technology-news/the-outlaw-cult-20130709-2po5j.html. Retrieved 2013-12-19.
- John Biggs. "Who is the real Satoshi Nakamoto? One researcher may have found the answer". TechCrunch. http://techcrunch.com/2013/12/05/who-is-the-real-satoshi-nakamoto-one-researcher-may-have-found-the-answer/. Retrieved 2014-03-06.
- Grey, Skye (2013-12-01). "Satoshi Nakamoto is (probably) Nick Szabo". https://likeinamirror.wordpress.com/2013/12/01/satoshi-nakamoto-is-probably-nick-szabo/. Retrieved 2014-03-13.
- Grey, Skye (2014-03-11). "Occam's Razor: who is most likely to be Satoshi Nakamoto?". https://likeinamirror.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/occams-razor-who-is-most-likely-to-be-satoshi-nakamoto/. Retrieved 2014-03-15.
- "Re: on anonymity, identity, reputation, and spoofing". 1993-10-18. http://cypherpunks.venona.com/date/1993/10/msg00759.html. Retrieved 2014-03-15.
- Nick Szabo (2011-05-28). "Bitcoin, what took ye so long?". http://unenumerated.blogspot.com/2011/05/bitcoin-what-took-ye-so-long.html. Retrieved 2014-03-12.
- Frisby, Dominic (2014) "Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?" In Bitcoin : the Future of Money?, p 85-149. Unbound. ISBN 1783520779
- "Nick Szabo is (probably) Satoshi Nakamato". 2014-11-06. http://rt.com/shows/keiser-report/202535-episode-max-keiser-676/. Retrieved 2014-11-06. at ~17:30 into the show
- Frisby p 147
- Popper, Nathaniel. "Decoding the Enigma". New York Times. "the most convincing evidence pointed to a reclusive American man of Hungarian descent named Nick Szabo."
- Goodman, Leah (6 March 2014). "The Face Behind Bitcoin". Newsweek. http://www.newsweek.com/2014/03/14/face-behind-bitcoin-247957.html. Retrieved 15 May 2015.
- Dorian Nakamoto - Thank you Bitcoin Community
- "Nakamoto's Neighbor: My Hunt For Bitcoin's Creator Led To A Paralyzed Crypto Genius". 2014-03-25. http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2014/03/25/satoshi-nakamotos-neighbor-the-bitcoin-ghostwriter-who-wasnt/. Retrieved 2015-03-25.
- "Conspiracy Theory, Up Close & Personal". 2014-03-25. http://www.overcomingbias.com/2014/03/conspiracy-theory-up-close-personal.html. Retrieved 2014-03-25.
- Satoshi Nakamoto Institute, a collection of his and related papers
- The Rise and Fall of Bitcoin
- The Crypto-Currency: Bitcoin and its mysterious inventor
- Satoshi's posts to Cryptography mailing list
- Bitcoin white paper
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