Bitcoin has had a mysterious unanswered question from day one. Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? Satoshi Nakamoto is likely pseudonym whose identity (or identities) has never been revealed, and was the creator of Bitcoin. But that doesn’t keep the public from guessing who Satoshi Nakamoto is.
A few details known about the secretive founder of Bitcoin:
- Satoshi Nakamoto owns an estimated 1 million Bitcoins, which is worth $37 billion as of writing this.
- Nakamoto has never spent their Bitcoin.
- No one has heard from Nakamoto since an email Nakamoto sent to Bitcoin Core developer Mike Hearn in 2011, saying, “I’ve moved on to other things [beyond Bitcoin].”
Here, we present the Internet’s best guesses on who started Bitcoin.
Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto
A 2014 Newsweek article suggested Temple City, Calif.-based Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto, born Satoshi Nakamoto in Japan, was the man who made Bitcoin what it is today. Dorian Nakamoto worked as a computer engineer, occasionally on classified projects. He is known to have a libertarian streak, common among early crypto enthusiasts. But the most convincing piece of evidence is likely his response to the Newsweek journalist’s question about Bitcoin: “I am no longer involved in that.” He later claimed he misunderstood the question and denied any involvement in Bitcoin.
Hal Finney, who also lived in Temple City, Calif., along with Dorian Nakamoto (coincidence?), has been publicly tied to Bitcoin from its beginnings. He received the first Bitcoin transaction in 2009. In fact, Finney, who developed a prominent encryption product with PGP Corporation, has long had an interest in cryptocurrency. He was on the cypherpunks’ mailing list–the group credited with envisioning cryptocurrency–which circulated Nakamoto’s Bitcoin whitepaper. He claims his relationship with Bitcoin began when he emailed Nakamoto expressing interest in Bitcoin. The two struck up a correspondence, which led to Finney receiving the first Bitcoin transaction. Finney died in 2014, serving as further proof to some that he’s Nakamoto, who has never spent his Bitcoin.
Australian computer scientist and entrepreneur Craig Wright is the only individual on this list to outright claim he started Bitcoin. In fact, the homepage of his website, craigwright.net, even lists his credentials as “Creator of Bitcoin – Satoshi Nakamoto.” Bitcoin developer Gavin Andresen, for one, believes Wright after meeting him in 2016 and witnessing cryptographic proof. But many are skeptical. After Wright promised to publicly produce proof of access to the earliest Bitcoin keys, he backtracked, claiming he didn’t “have the courage.”
American computer scientist, legal scholar, and cryptographer Nick Szabo is best known for proposing Bit Gold, a decentralized cryptocurrency and predecessor to Bitcoin. Despite this impressive background perfect for a crypto pioneer, the more convincing evidence that he’s Satoshi Nakamoto is his writing style. Research conducted by various forensic linguists pegged Szabo as the likely author of the Bitcoin whitepaper. For his part, Szabo has flatly denied any connection, tweeting: “Not Satoshi, but thank you.”
Your turn: Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?
One of the four we mention here? Someone else altogether? Share your thoughts in the comments!