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Bitcoin Technology

Decoding the Enigma of Satoshi Nakamoto 61

HughPickens.com writes: For the past year Nathaniel Popper has been working on a book about the history of Bitcoin and writes in the NYT that it is hard to avoid being drawn in by the almost mystical riddle of Satoshi Nakamoto's identity. Popper has his own candidate for founder of Bitcoin, a reclusive American man of Hungarian descent named Nick Szabo. Szabo worked in a loosely organized group of digital privacy activists who over decades laid the foundation for Bitcoin and created many parts that later went into the virtual currency. Bitcoin was not a bolt out of the blue, as is sometimes assumed, but was instead built on the ideas of multiple people over several decades. Several experiments in digital cash circulated on the Cypherpunk lists in the 1990s. Adam Back, a British researcher, created an algorithm called hashcash that later became a central component of Bitcoin. Another, called b money, was designed by an intensely private computer engineer named Wei Dai.

It may be impossible to prove Satoshi's identity until the person or people behind Bitcoin's curtain decide to come forward and prove ownership of Satoshi's old electronic accounts and at this point, the creator's identity is no longer important to Bitcoin's future. Since Satoshi stopped contributing to the project in 2011, most of the open-source code has been rewritten by a group of programmers whose identities are known. According to Popper whoever it is, the real Satoshi Nakamoto has many good reasons for wanting to stay anonymous. Perhaps the most obvious is potential danger. Satoshi Nakamoto most likely collected nearly a million Bitcoins during the system's first year. Given that each Bitcoin is now worth about $240, the stash could be worth more than $200 million. That could make Satoshi a target. "With his modest clothes and unassuming manner, Mr. Szabo could be the kind of person who could have a fortune and not spend any of it," concludes Popper, "or even throw away the keys to the bank."
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Decoding the Enigma of Satoshi Nakamoto

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 18, 2015 @08:27AM (#49716951)

    I think that systemd created Bitcoin as a distraction while systemd takes over GNU/Linux and turns it into systemd/Linux, which will eventually just become systemd when the Linux kernel (now just a boot loader for systemd) is rendered obsolete.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 18, 2015 @08:28AM (#49716955)

    "an intensely private computer engineer named Wei Dai"

    Intensely private? The first hit on Google is for www.weidai.com, his own homepage where he has uploaded pretty much all of his code and publications. He lists contact info and offers to anwser questions on an "Ask Me Anything" website. That's not what I, Anonymous Coward, would consider intensely private behaviour.

  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Monday May 18, 2015 @08:41AM (#49717011) Journal
    Perhaps it's a better story if we never figure out who Satoshi was.

    He's out of the Bitcoin loop now, so it matters less and less as time passes...

    unless you're a taxing entity that wants a cut of his Bit-income.

    • by mlts ( 1038732 )

      Satoshi has dropped out of sight long enough that statute of limitations laws are going to come into play soon, especially once the seven year mark hits. The only two things that are able to be used in the US are murder or failing to file a tax return, and an anonymous entity has no requirement to file a tax return.

      Even if taxes are involved, it would be similar to capital gains. Satoshi would not have to pay taxes until those coins are sold or exchanged. If kept "under the mattress", they can legally st

  • by nitehawk214 ( 222219 ) on Monday May 18, 2015 @08:56AM (#49717111)

    Why are we continuing to post articles about this conspiracy theory? Listen to it, "The more average and unassuming the guy seems, the more likely he is the Bitcoin founder!"

  • Who's getting the book and movie rights?

    • by Falos ( 2905315 )
      Dibs! I'll get a screenplay out of the clusterfuck below that occurred to me while discussing Grooveshark's mystery figurehead over at Ars:

      Remember the Satoshi Nakamoto story? It felt straight out of fiction, almost trope: A well-tuned, global, controversial technology is developed by an unknown genius, a reclusive hermit. All we need is some kid to stumble upon a series of events that start revealing The Hidden Secret of Nakamoto's creation.

      The Truth of BTC would probably involve supercomputer architect

  • Dear Mr. Nakamoto,

    please throw away your Bitcoins at this address, I'll make sure to recycle them properly:
    18LQHMjKSCSU3g4f29TfmtfxHXUfnh7juB

    Thank you.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 18, 2015 @09:44AM (#49717601)

    Nice euphemism for "Looking to ruin someone else's privacy and security in exchange for some journalistic fame".

  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Monday May 18, 2015 @09:53AM (#49717689)
    Some clueless Newsweek reporter thought this was the inventors real name and started cheacking out all the namesakes in world. Outed some unfortuned southern California guy.
  • It's obvious. Satoshi Nakamoto is a pseudonym of Nicolas Bourbaki [wikipedia.org].
  • Last year they ruined one guys life by claiming he was "the Nakamoto".
    Now they want to ruin another.

  • The most plausible reason for the inventor to remain anonymous: it's a Ponzi scheme.

    You can only get prosecuted for that if you can be identified.

    • The most plausible reason for the inventor to remain anonymous: it's a Ponzi scheme.

      You can only get prosecuted for that if you can be identified.

      It is quite literally illegal to say that on slashdot.

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