They myth surrounding bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto may be larger than the reality.
The search has been going on for years, with myriad theories, but new evidence shows that a man who has long been considered a possible Nakamoto may indeed be the inventor behind bitcoin.
The New York Times has published a new long-form piece (which features material from a soon-to-be-released book) aimed precisely at this question and this man.
His name is Nick Szabo, whom the Times describes as a “large bearded man.” For years people have suspected him of being involved with the original bitcoin project at some capacity. Szabo was behind another digital currency called “bit gold,” which was conceived before bitcoin and offered similar services.
Because of Szabo’s past with bit gold, many in the bitcoin community have suspected him of being Nakamoto.
But the New York Times’s article goes deeper than this speculation, offering a few bits of potential evidence:
- Szabo joined a bitcoin-based startup named Vaurum, which began as a potential bitcoin exchange. Szabo helped shift the company’s emphasis toward bitcoin’s ability to make “so-called small contracts,” based on his vast knowledge of the bitcoin software. With Szabo’s help, Vaurum reportedly pivoted its business model, renamed itself Mirror, and raised $US12.5 million in venture capital (the company refused to comment on the story).
- Szabo was also a member of an online community called Cypherpunks, which “set out to create digital money that would be as anonymous as physical cash.”
- Perhaps most telling was Szabo’s work building a digital currency. Since 1998 he tried to get bit gold up and running. In 2008 he wrote a blog post looking to resurrect his bit gold project. Soon after, bitcoin appeared on the scene. Then, Szabo did something suspicious, as the Times writes: he “changed the date on that blog post. It then looked as though it was written after Bitcoin’s release, rather than before, arrived versions of the website show.”
- Additionally, Szabo’s writing about bit gold was bizarrely similar to the way Nakamoto wrote about bitcoin. The Times writes, “In 2014, researchers at Aston University, in England, compared the writing of several people who have been suspected to be Satoshi and found that none matched up nearly as well as Mr. Szabo’s. The similarity was ‘uncanny,’ said Jack Grieve, the lecturer who led the effort.”
These pieces of evidence show that Szabo likely could have been involved in some capacity with the creation of bitcoin. Whether he is Satoshi Nakamoto is unclear, and will likely remain so.
While every techie wants to know the truth behind bitcoin, Nakamoto has been off the grid for a reason — he simply doesn’t want the press. But that won’t stop enthusiasts from trying to solve the mystery. Newsweek published a cover story last year about who it thought the bitcoin man was, which then received a swarm of criticism. There are other theories too that Nakamoto isn’t an individual but instead a group of people.
Already people on Twitter are suspicious of this story.
Szabo adamantly denies being Nakamoto, but did admit that there were “a whole bunch of parallels” between bitcoin and bit gold.
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