Bitcoin made its debut in late 2008 with the registration of the domain bitcoin.org, during the tumultuous 2008 financial crisis. Since then, it has emerged as the most recognizable cryptocurrency in the digital landscape. The name "Bitcoin" is virtually ubiquitous – a question about its familiarity is likely to elicit a positive response, whether from someone immersed in the crypto sphere or not. Nonetheless, the identity of the mastermind behind the project remains an enigma. The pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto is associated with the creation of Bitcoin, yet the true identity of this figure remains shrouded in secrecy.
The individual or group that operates under the Satoshi Nakamoto alias has chosen to remain concealed. This, however, has not deterred speculation and the formulation of a roster of potential candidates in the quest to uncover the true identity. In the following sections, we will delve into some of the individuals who have been under scrutiny as potential real-world matches for the Nakamoto persona. Additionally, we will explore the intriguing question of Satoshi Nakamoto's net worth, calculated based on the Bitcoin holdings attributed to this enigmatic entity.
Disclaimer: We want to emphasize that this is not financial advice. Cryptocurrencies operate in a volatile market, where values can drastically fluctuate in a blink of an eye. It is imperative to conduct thorough research and seek guidance from a qualified financial advisor before investing.
Following the registration of the bitcoin.org domain name, Bitcoin ventured into an anonymous chat group populated by individuals from a cryptography mailing list. Here, Satoshi Nakamoto engaged with the group, seeking feedback on the project and sharing Bitcoin's comprehensive whitepaper. This document elucidated the cryptocurrency's technical intricacies, articulating Satoshi's visionary perspective for Bitcoin and his rationale behind championing a decentralized financial system.
In the preamble of the whitepaper, Satoshi eloquently stated: "Commerce on the Internet has come to rely almost exclusively on financial institutions serving as trusted third parties to process electronic payments. While the system works well enough for most transactions, it still suffers from the inherent weaknesses of the trust-based model." Satoshi identified the predicament of non-reversible transactions, elucidated the costs and complexities of mediated disputes, and highlighted the associated burdens on merchants and consumers alike. This circumstance birthed the necessity for a solution that could facilitate non-reversible payments over a communications channel without an intermediary.
Within Bitcoin forums, speculations swirled regarding Nakamoto's ideological inclinations, with some conjecturing that he might lean toward libertarian principles and harbor disdain for corrupt individuals and politicians. Others proposed that Bitcoin's timing, emerging in the wake of the 2007 housing bubble crash, suggested a motive to disrupt the compromised banking system.
Satoshi communicated to Bitcoin Core developer Mike Hearn, conveying that he had shifted his focus to other pursuits. The email contained the poignant words, "The future of Bitcoin is in good hands." However, shortly thereafter, Satoshi Nakamoto's presence online dissipated entirely. Despite the ensuing years, the Bitcoins associated with the wallet attributed to Satoshi remained untouched.
Intriguingly, a cadre of individuals has either been conjectured to be the true identity behind Satoshi Nakamoto or have come forward claiming to be him. Let us delve into this roster of figures as we navigate the labyrinthine quest to unveil the elusive real-world counterpart to the Nakamoto pseudonym.
People Suspected of Being Satoshi Nakamoto
Dorian S. Nakamoto
The person that most people believe to be the creator of Bitcoin is an elderly Asian man by the name of Dorian S. Nakamoto. Dorian was named Satoshi Nakamoto at birth, leading a lot of people to believe that he is the original creator of Bitcoin. Dorian is almost 70 years old and lives in Los Angeles with his mother. Dorian has stated multiple times that he is not the creator of Bitcoin.
In 2014, a Newsweek reporter published a feature story that pinned the identity of Bitcoin’s creator on Nakamoto due to his high-profile work in engineering and pointedly private personal life. Following the story’s release, Nakamoto was immediately dogged by reporters who trailed him as he drove to a sushi restaurant. Nakamoto had then stated that he had only heard of Bitcoin weeks earlier when Goodman had contacted him about the Newsweek story.
Two weeks later, he issued a statement to Newsweek stating that he “did not create, invent or otherwise work on Bitcoin.” Following the statement, Bitcoin’s actual creator resurfaced in an online forum to post: “I am not Dorian Nakamoto.”
This is perhaps the biggest controversy revolving around Bitcoin’s true creator that started in 2016 when Australian entrepreneur, Craig Wright, had claimed to be the creator of Bitcoin and provided disputed code as proof. Bitcoin developer Gavin Andresen corroborated Wright’s gesture by saying that he was “98 percent certain” that Wright was the real Satoshi Nakamoto.
This claim was met by others in the crypto space who did not believe that Craig Wright was Satoshi Nakamoto. Wright’s claim was also met with alleged interest from the FBI. Due to the sudden influx of scrutiny, Wright deleted his post and issued a cryptic apology, writing, “I’m sorry, I believed that I could put the years of anonymity and hiding behind me. But, as the events of this week unfolded and I prepared to publish the proof of access to the earliest keys, I broke. I do not have the courage.”
The family of a deceased man, David Kleiman, sued Wright for half of Nakamoto’s cache of 1.1 million Bitcoins and claimed that the two men created the cryptocurrency together. There is still a Florida court case in process that is being reviewed by a jury.
In the pursuit to find Bitcoin’s creator, one person that has been brought up as the man behind Bitcoin over and over again is the hyper-secretive cryptocurrency expert, Nick Szabo. Szabo was not only fundamental to the development of Bitcoin, but also created his own cryptocurrency called “bit gold” in the later ‘90s.
In 2014, a team of linguistic researchers studied Nakamoto’s writings together with writings from thirteen potential bitcoin creators. The result was “uncanny”, according to the team. The team went on to say, “The number of linguistic similarities between Szabo's writing and the Bitcoin whitepaper is uncanny," and continued by saying that "none of the other possible authors were anywhere near as good of a match.”
Although Szabo is a staunch libertarian who has spoken publicly about Bitcoin and blockchain’s history and has been involved in cryptocurrency since its earliest beginnings, he firmly denies claims relating to him being the creator of Bitcoin. He denied these claims both in The New York times and in a tweet saying: ”Not Satoshi, but thank you.”
There are many more people believed to be the real Satoshi Nakamoto. This list is longer than the one covered in this article. One person that is in this long list of suspects is the founder of Tesla and SpaceX founder, Elon Musk. Elon Musk adamantly denied this theory back in 2018.
It’s been over a decade since the creation of Bitcoin, and we are still no closer to finding Bitcoin’s creator than we were since the search for him/her/they/it started. Will Satoshi ever reveal his true identity? If so, here are some of the ways that he can do it.
Ways That Satoshi Can Prove His Identity
Use His PGP Key
A PGP key is a unique encryption program that is associated with a given user’s name - sort of like an online signature. Nakamoto could attach his key to a post or message which will then prove his identity.
Could Move His Bitcoin
Nakamoto has accumulated a fortune in Bitcoin. It is estimated that he possesses over one million coins, which today would be in excess of a billion dollars. Theoretically, if anyone claiming to be Satoshi moves some of the coins from Satoshi’s wallet to another address, then they can prove that they are the real Satoshi.
Satoshi Nakamoto's Net Worth
Satoshi Nakamoto is believed to possess approximately 1,100,000 Bitcoins within his wallet, translating to an estimated net worth of approximately $50 billion, solely contingent upon the Bitcoin holdings he accrued.
Bitcoin became the topic of an anonymous chat forum in late 2008, following the financial crisis. The project was introduced to the forum by someone under the alias of Satoshi Nakamoto. Satoshi connected with several people on a cryptography mailing list to gauge their opinion and thoughts on the proposed decentralized cryptocurrency. Since then, members of the forum joined Nakamoto in finishing off the finer details of the Bitcoin Core network. Two years later Satoshi Nakamoto disappeared and was never heard from again by the forum. His last email was a brief email to one of the Bitcoin Core developers saying that he had moved on to better things and that Bitcoin’s future was in good hands. Up until now, nobody is sure who Bitcoin’s creator is. There is however a list of people that are suspected to be the creator, and there are a handful of people that have also stepped forward and have claimed to be the creator, but none of these people have proven to be the creator of Bitcoin, leaving the pursuit to search for Bitcoin’s creator ongoing.
One thing is for sure, whoever Satoshi is, based on his original Bitcoin wallet address alone, he is one of the richest men in the world, with a net worth of more than $50 Billion.