At the beginning of September, 2014, Satoshi Nakamoto, the entity credited with the invention of Bitcoin was in the news again. This time it was about his email, firstname.lastname@example.org, and other online accounts being hacked by someone.
“Dear Satoshi. Your dox, passwords and IP addresses are being sold on the darknet. Apparently you didn’t configure Tor properly and your IP leaked when you used your email account sometime in 2010. You are not safe. You need to get out of where you are as soon as possible before these people harm you. Thank you for inventing bitcoin.”
This is a message that was posted on the P2Pfoundation ning message board using the account of Satoshi Nakamoto.
The hacker promised to out Nakamoto once 25 Bitcoins are send to him.
But why is Satoshi Nakamoto’s identity of great interest?
It is not usual for an inventor of a technology with an impact of Bitcoin’s magnitude to just walk away without letting the world know that it is their brainchild. The standard practice is to publish the invention in scientific journals, under full names, and bask in the glory.
However, that is not what the creator of Bitcoin, which is the first successful crypto-currency, did. There was no publication in an established scientific journal. And even though there is a name, Satoshi Nakamoto, there is no face to attach to it.
In fact, no one has ever met this guy. Not even those who worked closely with him to establish the protocol of the digital payment system.
‘Controversial and mysterious’ are the words that best describes this entity.
Several theories have been put forward in an attempt to explain the reluctance of Nakamoto in publicly coming out to take credit. Some have said that he fears the wrath from authorities that are not happy that he oversaw the birth of a technology that is so much disruptive.
And others are of the opinion that he keeps away from the public because, for one reason or another, his identity could jeopardize the growth of the crypto currency going forward.
However, he is the only one who can give an accurate reason.
The first time his name came into the limelight was in November 2008 when a white paper detailing how Bitcoin is going to work was published on Cryptography Mailing list, an online forum.
And to date this document remains the direct link between Satoshi Nakamoto and Bitcoin.
It is still debatable, however, as to whether the name refers to an individual or it is a pseudonym for a group of techies.
Nevertheless, there have been several attempts to unmask Satoshi Nakamoto and in the process a few individuals and groups have been noted as possible faces.
Nick Szabo is one of the most mentioned of these individuals. The fact that he worked on Bit gold, an idea that has been described as the direct precursor of Bitcoin, gives this assertion a lot of credence.
The other mentioned name is that of Gavin Andresen. He is the person who took over the leadership of the Bitcoin community when Nakamoto left the project in 2011. However, he has always maintained he is not the one.
Michael Clear, a graduate of cryptography from Dublin’s Trinity College, has also been mentioned as a possible individual behind Satoshi Nakamoto.
As for groups, the most mentioned one is that of Neal King, Vladimir Oksman, and Charles Bry. Government agencies such as the CIA have also been mentioned.
Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto sensation
In March 2014 Newsweek through an investigative piece, The face behind Bitcoin, by Leah McGrath Goodman, author and freelance journalist, claimed to have finally unmasked the face behind the name. And a retired Japanese American engineer, a resident of Temple City, California was thrown into the limelight from his humble life in retirement.
It is not only his names and seemingly a secretive career that apparently gave him away, but also his reaction when Leah McGrath Goodman knocked at his door for an interview.
Many interpreted this infamous line from him as telling; “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.”
However, a few days later he issued a statement in which he denied being the Satoshi Nakamoto of Bitcoin or even knowing anything to do with the crypto-currency.
This actually brought the search of the legendary Nakamoto to a full circle.
However, it is important to mention that to the Bitcoin community the capacity and effectiveness of the digital currency is what matters most and not the identity of person or persons who started it all.