Satoshi Nakamoto, sometimes known as the “Father of Bitcoin,” is a mysterious figure who created the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, and has brought this phenomenon to the realm of money. After creating the world’s first cryptocurrency, he emerged out of nowhere in 2008 and vanished just as quickly three years later. He wrote a goodbye email to a fellow Bitcoin developer on April 23, 2011. He stated, “I’ve moved on to other things,” stressing that Bitcoin’s future was “in excellent hands.” Since then, no one has heard from him.
Bitcoin is now worth over $1 trillion, and even though Nakamoto’s identification could be a mystery to some, it is not to everyone else:
He is reported to be the owner of over a million Bitcoins, with a current market worth of roughly $60 billion. The amount equates to around 5% of the total amount of bitcoins presently in circulation.
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The transaction would utterly upend the cryptocurrency market if the person — or persons — behind the moniker Satoshi Nakamoto decided to sell only a portion of this treasure. Coinbase, a cryptocurrency trading platform that went public on the Nasdaq on April 14, included the possibility of Nakamoto’s identity being revealed (and the movement of that person’s Bitcoin holdings) as a risk factor in its SEC filing (SEC). Coinbase even went to the trouble of sending a copy of the document to Nakamoto’s last known email address.
When Nakamoto posted his famous white paper on a cryptography mailing group detailing a digital currency that would enable safe, peer-to-peer transactions without the participation of any intermediary, such as the government, banking system, or corporation, Bitcoin was born. These transactions would be recorded using a blockchain, a distributed ledger similar to those used by financial institutions, except that it would be spread throughout a whole network, with exact replicas kept by all participants and accessible to all, all protected by cryptographic techniques. The total number of Bitcoins will never exceed 21 million.
The purpose of Nakamoto’s cryptocurrency was to take control of cash away from banking elites and place it in the hands of ordinary people. When Nakamoto delivered 10 Bitcoins to Hal Finney, a well-known developer who had downloaded the Bitcoin program on its release date, it was the first Bitcoin transaction. The first commercial transaction occurred in 2010 when a programmer called Laszlo Hanyecz paid 10,000 Bitcoin for two Papa John’s pizzas. Those were some rather costly pizzas, given Bitcoin’s current worth of roughly $60,000.
Bitcoin is open-source, which means that its design is available to the public. Bitcoin is not owned or controlled by anybody, and everyone may participate. While Satoshi remained in charge of Bitcoin’s development, users and developers flocked to Bitcoin forums to contribute code and help with the project, which had evolved into a collaborative endeavor. The ultimate power was vested in the Bitcoin software’s users.
Many programmers and developers have produced Bitcoin code, but one of the most passionate was Gavin Andresen. In 2010, he approached Nakamoto and became the founder’s right-hand guy. When Nakamoto vanished, he left Bitcoin in the hands of Andresen. Even Andresen has become more reclusive in recent years: he is no longer the “core maintainer” of Bitcoin’s code. This job may eventually become as decentralized as the cryptocurrency itself.
Attempts to identify Nakamoto have persisted unabated throughout the lifetime of Bitcoin. Rumors on cryptocurrency sites have suggested that Nakamoto is a member of the Yakuza, a development cabal, a money launderer, or even a woman.
Dorian Nakamoto, a soft-spoken inhabitant of Los Angeles, was recognized as Bitcoin’s founder by a writer from Newsweek in 2014. Even though his lengthy and illustrious technical career was given proof, Nakamoto has categorically denied any participation with cryptocurrency. Satoshi appeared on an internet forum the day after Dorian Nakamoto made a public announcement. Before leaving again, he stated, “I am not Dorian Nakamoto.”
Craig Wright, an Australian, claimed to be Satoshi in 2016, and Bitcoin developer Andresen backed up his claim, claiming he was “98 percent convinced” Wright was the mysterious Satoshi. The Bitcoin community was outraged, and Wright recanted his statements.
Suspicion was also cast on Nick Szabo, a reclusive crypto specialist who played a vital role in the invention of Bitcoin. Linguistic experts studied Szabo’s writing as well as those of other Satoshi suspects. The linguists stated that Szabo’s essays and Satoshi Nakamoto’s writings were very similar. The New York Times even named Szabo as the enigmatic Nakamoto, but Szabo flatly disputed the allegations.
As a result, Satoshi Nakamoto remains an enigma, a legendary figure with a massive Bitcoin fortune. He has excellent motivations to keep his identity hidden. Personal security is a compelling worry when you have a $60 billion wealth. Because Bitcoin can undermine sovereign fiat currencies, Nakomoto may be concerned about government legal action, if not other types of government retribution.
Efforts to discover Satoshi Nakamoto’s identity will undoubtedly continue.
He represents too much danger to the Bitcoin industry, and the mystery surrounding his identity is too alluring. Satoshi Nakamoto has kept his secrets beyond imagination in a world where anonymity is becoming harder to achieve.
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