Previously, we delved into who the mysterious creator of Bitcoin might be by examining common candidates. In this post, we look at cold-hard facts as clues to Satoshi Nakamoto’s true identity.
Of note: No one knows if Satoshi Nakamoto is a man, woman, or group of individuals. However, Nakamoto presents himself as male, so that’s how we’ll mention him. Now, let’s follow the clues.
Clue 1: In 2008, Nakamoto described his “new electronic cash system” to the Cryptography Mailing List.
The cypherpunks famously started the mailing list for those interested in cryptography and privacy-enhancing technologies, not electronic cash systems specifically. It follows then that Satoshi Nakamoto considers himself a cryptographer, and this prompted his interest in cryptocurrency. Individuals not super-interested in cryptography or privacy wouldn’t fit the personality profile of Satoshi Nakamoto.
Clue 2: Nakamoto had Vistomail and GMX email addresses.
Nakamoto communicated via email@example.com and listed firstname.lastname@example.org on his Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System white paper. Email providers Vistomail (now closed), and GMX are favored by individuals who wish to stay anonymous. In fact, GMX is an encrypted email provider that uses OpenPGP end-to-end encryption procedure, which they tout as “the highest standard of security for encrypting emails” and “has never been cracked, meaning it’s extremely secure.”
So, if someone claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto via a gmail address, assume they’re a fraud.
Clue 3: Nakamoto used both British and American spellings in his white paper.
For example, he used the British “favour” instead of the American “favor” but the American “characterized” and not the British “characterised.”
The most logical reason a person might use both? They’re Canadian. Canadian English can favor British or American spelling depending on the word. The more complex reason for using different spelling norms? They’re trying to throw you off their scent.
Also possible: The white paper features contributions from various authors with various spelling preferences.
Clue 4: Nakamoto sought out others to give them proper credit in his Bitcoin white paper.
Nakamoto reached out to computer engineer and cryptographer Wei Dai to confirm he correctly cited Dai’s b-money publication in his white paper. In fact, Nakamoto wasn’t familiar with Dai’s work when he thought of Bitcoin. Another cryptographer pointed out Bitcoin’s similarities to b-money, so Nakamoto determined he should credit Dai.
This could be a personality trait of Nakamoto’s–crediting others is important to him. Or it could be an indication of his environment, like academia where citing others is expected and brings more validity to your own ideas.
Nakamoto one-upped himself later by forgoing credit altogether and removing his name from the Bitcoin software copyright claim, leaving the code to all “Bitcoin developers.”
Clue 5: In 2008, Nakamoto stated he didn’t have regular Internet connectivity.
In an email to computer scientist and cryptographic activist Hal Finney about Bitcoin, Nakamoto wrote: “Unfortunately, I can’t receive incoming connections from where I am.”
The most obvious reason for connectivity challenges is that Nakamoto was in a remote location. There’s also a convoluted theory that Hal Finney was emailing himself from two different email addresses so he could claim later he wasn’t Nakamoto.
Clue 6: Nobody has heard from Nakamoto since 2011.
He bid farewell to Bitcoin developers through email and then… disappeared. So either Nakamoto wanted to disappear, which would make sense for someone who prized anonymity, or he can’t communicate, either because he’s incapacitated in some way or deceased.
Nakamoto has never spent any Bitcoin.
More clues exist.
You can take a deep dive into email timestamps, IP addresses, and domain ownerships associated with Satoshi Nakamoto, but it gets complicated. This is a smart guy who doesn’t want to be found after all, and he did a great job doing just that.
This post links to articles that propose Satoshi Nakamoto could be a variety of different people. One option is Hal Finney, computer scientist and legal scholar. Others point to cryptographer Nick Szabo. Some lead to computer scientist and entrepreneur Craig Wright. And others guess that it was software developer Michael Weber, to name a few. As it turns out, different clues lead to different possible Satoshi Nakamotos. If this tells us anything about Nakamoto, it’s that he not only believed in anonymity, but lived it out as well.
Coinsource is the world leader in Bitcoin ATMs. With a focus on compliance and ease of use, Coinsource is aiming to bring Bitcoin to the masses. Follow for blogs about Bitcoin, finance, company updates and Bitcoin ATM information!