Who is the inventor of Bitcoin? A look at the story of the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto

On January 3, 2009, a user under the pseudonym of Satoshi Nakamoto appeared on the “P2P Foundation” forum. The person behind the mysterious account is said to be the creator of the invention of Bitcoin. Who is he and what are his motivations?

Summary

  • Satoshi Nakamoto: the pseudonym behind the Bitcoin project
  • The cypherpunk community behind Bitcoin
  • The potential suspects behind Bitcoin
  • Why could knowing the inventor’s identity endanger Bitcoin?

Satoshi Nakamoto: the pseudonym behind the Bitcoin project

It all starts with a simple message on the “P2P Foundation” forum dedicated to decentralization … On 11 February 2009 at 22:27, a certain Satoshi Nakamoto shares his project:

“I have developed a new open source P2P electronic payment system called Bitcoin. It is completely decentralized, with no central server or trusted third parties, because everything relies on cryptographic proof rather than trust. Try it out or take a look at the screenshots and design document. “

Satoshi explains that he (or she) has created a new fully decentralized person-to-person (P2P) online payment system based on one cryptocurrency: bitcoin (BTC). The anonymous explains that he has been working since 2005 to create this new system. The project aims to be an alternative to banks by using blockchain as a trusted third party. The technology makes it possible to validate transactions without resorting to an external body.

The timing is well chosen by Satoshi, as this first message comes after the Subprime financial crisis of 2008. In this context, Satoshi Nakamoto makes it known that the creation of his decentralized network offers an alternative to the traditional banking system, at the origin of the crisis. .

A long list of 544 messages on the “P2P Foundation” forum will follow in which the creator of Bitcoin technically explains how the first cryptocurrency on the Internet works. However, it will stop all communications related to Bitcoin from December 12, 2010.

This penultimate message left a multitude of questions about the identity of the so-called Satoshi …

The cypherpunk community behind Bitcoin

To understand Satoshi Nakamoto’s motivations, one must understand where his values ​​come from.

The origin of Bitcoin is the Cypherpunk movement. Composed of Cypher (cipher) which means cryptography and punk which represents the rebellious spirit of the group, the Cypherpunks campaign for the freedom of anonymity on the networks.

Appeared in the 1980s, cypherpunks are a community whose ambition is to protect users’ personal information on the Internet. By advocating anonymity at the beginning of the era of telecommunications and large-scale data dissemination, the collective quickly understood data issues. Visionaries, the Cypherpunks anticipated the misuse of personal data by some groups we know today.

More than just a protest movement, cypherpunks are the starting point for Internet encryption. When the web appeared in the 1990s, information transmitted over the web by individuals was easily searchable without much effort. As a result, the Cypherpunk community has decided to use data encryption to enforce the right to anonymity of Internet users. From this initiative was born: cryptography.

Specifically, the goal is to hide any data from users who do not have the necessary key to decrypt it. For example, if you send a message to a user, it will only be viewable by the recipient.

These many libertarian principles are found in Bitcoin. For this reason, Satoshi is believed to have been largely inspired by this community’s work to develop its cryptocurrency.

It could also be that some recognized members of Cypherpunk have actively participated in the development of this technological revolution …

The potential suspects behind Bitcoin

Despite his numerous posts on the forum, no one knows the identity of the user, however a name often comes out, that Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto. Indeed, the Japanese resident was featured as the inventor of Bitcoin by the famous NewsWeek magazine in 2014. However, this is not the case, since an individual whose target would remain anonymous would certainly never use his true identity. in the design of his nickname. The Japanese engineer had to quickly deny it to stop the media frenzy around him.

Faced with this story, the main interested party will resurface in 2014 on the forum with a final message: “I’m not Dorian Nakamoto. », After 4 years of inactivity.

After this disillusionment, however, investigators on the inventor of Bitcoin never threw in the towel …

Nick Szabo

Nick Szabo, is on the list of suspects. In 1998, the computer scientist created Bit Gold. Considered the ancestor of bitcoin, this decentralized digital currency takes up the great blockchain principle behind bitcoin. Despite this, few elements agree as Satoshi, in many exchanges, seemed to ignore the ideas of Nick Szabo.

Furthermore, Nick will explain firmly: “As I have stated many times before, all these speculations are flattering, but incorrect: they are not Satoshi.”.

Hal Finney, who died of Charcot’s disease in 2014, has also attracted the attention of the curious. The American developer had been working on cryptography within PGP. More intriguingly, Hal Finney is the first to see the first reusable proof of work, 3 years before Bitcoin was born. This principle allows you to validate the veracity of information through computing power. Consequently, RPOW (reusable proof-of-work) is the ancestor of the POW (proof-of-work) technology used by miners to protect the Bitcoin network. Furthermore, Hal Finney is one of the first to have received a bitcoin address transaction from Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. The man who was actively part of the CypherPunks community within “The Cypherpunks Mailing List” has always formally clear the question of Bitcoin invention. Therefore, we imagine that Hal Finney certainly contributed to the creation of the Bitcoin network, but he is not the creator of it.

Wei Dai

CypherPunk in the heart too, Wei Dai, a cryptographic engineer at Microsoft, was the first to conceptualize Bitcoin. Coming from the same university as Nick Szabo, the American computer scientist, theorizes the digital currency of the future under the name of “B-money”. However, this will never see the light of day. As with bit-gold, Satoshi’s exchanges highlight his ignorance of B-money.

Adam back

Adam back is considered the prime suspect. The British developer is the first to have theorized the proof-of-work (POW) system with hashcash. His system, initially created to limit spam, served as an anchor in the creation of the Bitcoin network. Also, according to several reports, the fingerprint determined by computer configuration and settings is a strong argument. Concretely, a recent study indicates that the fingerprint on the Hashcash system is identical to that on Bitcoin, suggesting that both were created on the same computer. Another disturbing element, the messages written by Satoshi on the forum reveal a spelling style similar to that of a British citizen, the nationality of Adam Back. Despite these facts, Adam Back never admitted to being Satoshi Nakamoto.

Although the list of suspects is long, the identity behind bitcoin still remains mysterious as no evidence is irrefutable. Let’s imagine that the list enumerated above includes key figures in the creation of Bitcoin, suggesting that it could be a group rather than a single individual. Furthermore, this desired anonymity is necessary for the sake of Bitcoin’s development …

Why could knowing the inventor’s identity endanger Bitcoin?

The so-called Satoshi Nakamoto, who pretends to be a 37-year-old Japanese in 2012, is the main threat to his invention. Being a self-respecting Cypherpunk, Satoshi is aware that revealing his identity could spell the end of Bitcoin.

The creator’s anonymity preserves Bitcoin since in the absence of physical existence, the Bitcoin entity is unassailable. For this reason, the main refractory such as traditional finance or states have never been able to file a complaint against Bitcoin. Furthermore, it cannot be easily deactivated as its global “blockchain” would require the simultaneous disconnection of all the miners’ machines – that is, millions or even billions of machines.

As the creator, Satoshi was the first to mine bitcoin. The mining difficulty was so low at the time that it is estimated that nearly one million BTC was mined by the creators. If it turns out that there is only one person behind the invention of bitcoin, the total sum distributed on these addresses would rank Satoshi Nakamoto among the top 50 richest people in the world with, at current prices, around 20 billion dollars a to have. However, this does not seem to interest Satoshi because the blockchain ledger allows us to consult his first bitcoins and it turns out that none of these first BTCs have moved since 2009.

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