Who Is Satoshi Nakamoto?

James HeadshotAuthor: James Page
Last Updated: October 2020

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Satoshi Nakamoto is one of the biggest pioneers in the crypto industry and the most enigmatic one as well. If you’re interested in cryptocurrencies, we highly recommend that you familiarize yourself with the name.

Nakamoto is the father of Bitcoin and the one credited for perfecting the blockchain technology, a mechanism that allows us to trade digital coins. He introduced a revolutionary protocol that was finally able to solve the biggest challenge with spending cryptocurrencies.

In our guide, we’re going to discuss the much-disputed identity of Satoshi Nakamoto and his contribution to the world of crypto.

The Bitcoin White Paper

“Commerce on the Internet has come to rely almost exclusively on financial institutions serving as trusted third parties to process electronic payments. While the system works well enough for most transactions, it still suffers from the inherent weaknesses of the trust based model. […] The cost of mediation increases transaction costs, limiting the minimum practical transaction size and cutting off the possibility for small casual transactions […] A certain percentage of fraud is accepted as unavoidable. These costs and payment uncertainties can be avoided in person by using physical currency, but no mechanism exists to make payments over a communications channel without a trusted party.”

This frequently-quoted statement comes from Satoshi Nakamoto’s famous white paper, published in 2008, under the title “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”.

In the paper, Nakamoto provided an alternative to the traditional trust-based model – a decentralized peer-to-peer network “based on cryptographic proof instead of trust”. On the blockchain network, users are able to transact directly without intermediaries, and their transactions are completely secure, private, and irreversible.

Nakamoto launched the software in 2009, mined the first block of data (the Genesis block), and remained active for the first two years. He replied to questions sent to him by crypto enthusiasts via email but never revealed any details about himself.

This spurred the curiosity of the community and gave rise to many theories such as one that strongly believes Nakamoto is actually a pseudonym for a whole group of people involved in the blockchain project, as it couldn’t possibly be the job of one man only.

The last correspondence with Nakamoto is from 2011, where he informs another Bitcoin developer that he had “moved on to other things.” Even though his involvement with Bitcoin came to a halt, the mystery around his identity remains to this day.

Potential Suspects

There’s a number of potential individuals suspected of being Satoshi Nakamoto. Most of them used to be members of the so-called Cypherpunk group, a group of crypto enthusiasts who were very present on the crypto scene at the time when blockchain was created and were among the first ones to join the network in 2009.

  • Nick Szabo.

Nick Szabo is a computer scientist, whose proposal for a digital financial system known as Bit Gold was something of a precursor to Nakamoto’s Bitcoin that never caught on. What makes him a suitable candidate is primarily his expertise in the field of cryptography.

Moreover, a British author analyzed their writing style and found dozens of phrases that both of them frequently used. To make things even more interesting, in the white paper, Nakamoto makes direct references to the ideas introduced in the Bit Gold paper but never mentions it directly. However, Szabo has always denied these “accusations” in public statements.

  • Dorian Nakamoto.

Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto was “uncovered” as Nakamoto in 2014 by a NewsWeek journalist. The media allegations were based on Dorian’s full name and background. He’s a Japanese-American computer scientist and physicist, who used to work on classified defense projects.

When Dorian was asked whether he was the Bitcoin founder, he said, “I am no longer involved in that, and I cannot discuss it. It’s been turned over to other people. They are in charge of it now. I no longer have any connection.” This was enough to create a massive hype but Dorian later explained that he misunderstood the question, and was talking about his previous involvement as a military contractor.

  • Craig Wright.

While our previous suspects both denied the claims, our next guy, an Australian computer scientist and businessman named Craig Wright claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto himself.

There are similarities in the timestamps on Nakamoto’s blog entries and those on Wright’s blog, as well as leaked email correspondence that revealed discussions about the “P2P distributed ledger”. When asked to provide further proof, he suddenly backed off and after a while, the whole Bitcoin community decided it was just another pretentious hoax.

Satoshi Nakamoto Net Worth

For a couple of years now, people have been trying to calculate the total number of bitcoins owned by Nakamoto. Although certain assumptions have been made, the definite number still remains a mystery – much like anything connected with this figure.

The first in-depth research conducted on this particular topic dates from a 2013 blog post by Sergio Lerner. According to his study, a single miner was responsible for mining a vast amount of bitcoins in the early days, around 1,814,400 BTC to be precise. Out of these coins, 63% or 1.1 million coins have never been spent.

Lerner has recently published another research, where he seems even more assured in his calculations and explains that they’re mainly based on analyzing transaction timestamps. Therefore, if Nakamoto really is one single person, then he/she owns approximately 5% of the world’s Bitcoin supply!

As of January 2020, 1 BTC is worth around $8,780. Were Nakamoto to sell all his bitcoins today, he would be one of the richest people in the world. Right now,Nakamoto’s net worth is around $9.2 million.

More Facts About Satoshi Nakamoto

  • When Nakamoto created his profile on the P2P Foundation site, he put April 5th, 1975 as his birthday, and Japan as his location.
  • You can now purchase T-Shirts that say “I’m Satoshi Nakamoto” and claim his fame while people are still on the lookout. If Craig Wright could, what stops you from doing the same?
  • At the time when bitcoin reached its all-time high of $20,000, in 2017, Nakamoto’s net worth was $19.5 billion. If bitcoin gets to a value of $110,000 in the future, he would become the richest person in the world.

About The Author

James Page

James Headshot

James is the main editor. With a passion for finance and anything blockchain, cryptocurrency is right up his alley. He's responsible for most of the content on the site, trying his best to keep everything up to date and as informative as possible.

Disclaimer: Digital currencies and cryptocurrencies are volatile and can involve a lot of risk. Their prices and performance is very unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consult a financial advisor or obtain your own advice independent of this site before relying and acting on the information provided.

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