Many call this entity the “most enigmatic billionaire” of the modern day world. Known as the inventor of the bitcoin protocol, Satoshi Nakamoto is the name of this enigma. His/their/her bitcoin wallet, filled with over $15 billion worth of bitcoins, remains untouched, and him/them/her untraced.
The name “Satoshi Nakamoto” came into the picture when a white paper on “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” was published in October 2008. Published on the Cryptography Mailing list at Metzdowd.com, this paper outlined the basics of what a bitcoin is, and how it works (Read the paper here). Earlier, in August 2008, the domain name “Bitcoin.org” had been anonymously registered. Version 0.1 of bitcoin was released in January of the following year. In the same year, the first bitcoin transaction took place between Satoshi and Hal Finney, who was a cryptographic developer.
How is Satoshi worth $15 billion?
Satoshi Nakamoto’s set of wallets contain over 1 million bitcoins — which, as of bitcoin’s December rates — translates to over $15 billion in holdings. That’s a massive amount of money lying unused — Satoshi has never touched the wallet in all these years, and it is believed the coins will remain unused since we’ve had no trace of Satoshi ever since he disappeared.
How has Satoshi remained elusive for so long?
The identity of Satoshi Nakamoto has been the subject of speculation for many years. Some possibilities include –
1. It’s a group of companies
Some believe that Satoshi Nakamoto is the pseudonym obtained by combining the names of four Asian companies, namely- Samsung, Toshiba, Nakamichi, and Motorola. (The Week)
2. It might be a woman
It’s quite presumptuous to say that Satoshi is a man. Just because Satoshi Nakamoto is a male Japanese name? The inventor of the Bitcoin might as well be a woman!
3. His/her identity is known by a few but is protected
Satoshi hasn’t committed a crime; His/her identity might be known to government agencies such as the NSA or CIA but hasn’t been exposed to the public, for, well, protecting his/her privacy.
4. Incentives to be tight-lipped
Satoshi has become a billionaire through his innovation. Who says that he can’t spare some of those bitcoins to keep things quiet? It’s possible that those who know him might be under a binding contract that prevents them from spilling the beans.
From the point of time since the advent of the Bitcoin, people have been trying to find out who Satoshi Nakamoto truly is. Many fingers have been pointed and many theories have been put forth. If Satoshi chose to remain in the dark it might have been for the greater good. It seems like a futile task to try to uncover it, especially since he/she/they don’t want to be found.
Are Satoshi and Hal Finney the same person?
There are several reasons to believe that Hal Finney might have been Satoshi himself. Hal was the first person, other than Satoshi, to take part in a bitcoin transaction. He helped fix many early bugs in the Bitcoin software that came up. He was well versed with cryptography and Cryptocurrencies, having worked in the development of PGP software. Moreover, he lived in the same neighbourhood as a man named Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto. When Dorian was confronted, he denied being the original Satoshi, stating that he wasn’t even aware of the bitcoin technology. Hal exchanged several emails with Satoshi, which many believe that he was sending to himself, a strategy adopted to distance himself from his invention. However, this association is merely a conjecture, never having been proved. But, in case Hal was Satoshi, the mystery may never be solved, as Hal passed away in 2014 due to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.