In 2008, a nine-page whitepaper was published that outlined a new type of electronic money.
The paper described Bitcoin, the world’s first decentralized cryptocurrency. It outlined a need for a peer-to-peer currency separate from traditional financial systems, as well as laid out an innovative solution.
What’s still unknown, however, is the true identity of the digital currency’s creator. While there have been many theories put forward over the years, nobody knows for sure who the creator truly is.
Who Created Bitcoin?
The debate over who created Bitcoin has been ongoing since the early days of the cryptocurrency.
Satoshi Nakamoto is the pseudonym used to identify the individual (or group) that developed Bitcoin.
Several people have claimed to be Satoshi over the years, however none of them have been able to prove their identity as the creator.
Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?
Not much is known about Nakamoto. Though he was active in forums during the early days of the cryptocurrency, his messages only pertained to Bitcoin. He never discussed personal information or released details that could be used to determine his identity.
Nakamoto used two email addresses and had a website. However, the identity of the individual that registered them is hidden.
On April 26th, 2011, Satoshi Nakamoto sent his final message before vanishing for good.
Through analysis of the Bitcoin blockchain, researchers have identified the wallet address of Nakamoto with a great deal of certainty. The wallet, containing roughly 1 million BTC, has remained completely untouched for over a decade.
Some people speculate that Satoshi may have died before giving someone else the private keys. Others believe he may have lost the keys himself and is now unable to move the bitcoins.
Various individuals have been thought to be Satoshi Nakamoto over the years. Some of them were actively involved in the Bitcoin project in its early days.
People That Could be Satoshi
1. Craig Wright
Craig Wright is an Australian scientist and programmer that claimed to be Satoshi. However, his claims have been rejected by the bitcoin community.
He claimed that he could prove his identity as Nakamoto by moving bitcoins from Satoshi’s wallet. Unfortunately, the coins never moved and his claims were largely dismissed.
At one point, Craig filed for patents on Bitcoin’s code, even though the software was created as an open-source project.
Then in 2019, Craig made the claim that he led a team of people in the development of Bitcoin. He named Dave Kleinman and Hal Finney as members of the team.
2. Hal Finney
A cryptography enthusiast and computer scientist, Hal Finney is another individual thought to be Nakamoto. Besides Nakamoto, Finney is reported to be the first individual to work on Bitcoin, providing bug fixes and improving the code.
In 2009, Hal Finney received the very first bitcoin transaction from Satoshi Nakamoto’s wallet address.
Finney died in 2014 after a multiple-year battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. He was 58 years old at the time of his passing.
3. Dorian Nakamoto
Oddly enough, Hal Finney had a neighbor named Dorian Nakamoto. Dorian graduated from California Polytechnic with a physics major, and later worked on classified defense projects for the government.
Some believe that Finney used Dorian’s name as a pseudonym, while others are convinced that Dorian was the true creator of Bitcoin.
In 2014, Dorian was interviewed by a Newsweek journalist about the possibility of him being the Bitcoin inventor. During the interview, he stated, “I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it. It’s been turned over to other people.”
Dorian later backtracked, stating that he misunderstood the journalist’s question.
Newsweek identified several other similarities between Dorian and Satoshi. For example, they both are thought to have held libertarian views, and were both likely of Japanese heritage.
After the Newsweek article, the real Satoshi Nakamoto’s P2P Foundation account published a message after five years of inactivity. The message read, “I am not Dorian Nakamoto.”
However, not everyone is convinced that this message was truly from Satoshi, with some speculating that the account was likely hacked.
4. Nick Szabo
Before Bitcoin was created, Nick Szabo published a paper on a concept called Bit Gold. Bit Gold was a theoretical decentralized digital currency that never gained traction, though it does show that Szabo had the knowledge to create such a currency.
Szabo has also denied being Nakamoto. When asked who could have created Bitcoin, Szabo said that if anyone had the knowledge and desire to do so it would have been himself, Hal Finney, or an individual named Wei Dai.