Satoshi Nakamoto is the pseudonymous name of the creator(s) of Bitcoin. He/they authored the white paper “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System”, wrote and edited Bitcoin’s source code until departing from the project two years later in April 2011 with the message “I’ve moved on to other things.” (R1) Some believe this was due in large part to Bitcoin being used for overtly controversial and illicit activities.
There has been many theories as to who Satoshi is – ranging from active and deceased cryptographers, security experts, and even a criminal mastermind (R6). In Aug 2017 it was reported that the NSA had identified Satoshi because the US government was concerned Bitcoin could be weaponized. Yet, like most Satoshi investigations – no 3rd party sources confirmed the story. (R2) That’s an interesting angle though, because Satoshi had Austrian leanings: “The root problem with conventional currency is all the trust that’s required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust.” (R7) Dan “Sailor Mouth” Pena pointed to Vladimir Putin as part of some evil long-term plot to destroy the dominance of the US Dollar; which it could do if other sovereigns joined El Salvador making it legal tender. It’s also interesting to note that the NSA published a digit currency paper in June 1996 called “How to Make a Mint: The Cryptography of Anonymous Electronic Cash”. (R5)
Satoshi created an electronic cash system that was not flawless, but worked well enough to withstand countless technical, social, economic, and political attacks. The genesis block statement from the Times of London ‘The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks’ pointed directly at the failed keynesian economic policies that governments worldwide created since the US completely abandoned the gold standard on Aug 15, 1971.
Satoshi’s 1M BTC is 5% of all BTC that will ever be mined, so if released, the NSA story has some weight because a massive dump could wreak havoc on the wider crypto market or worse on the general market if BTC were to carry any significant future weight there. That’s why many critics call it a “Ponzi” or worse because the founder(s) accumulated a large sum which he/they still hold. HODL behavior is contrary to what the white paper claimed Bitcoin (as electronic cash) to be. Again, another Satoshi mystery.
The Dave Kleiman estate suit against Dr. Craig Wright over Bitcoin’s intellectual property (IP) and 50% of the alleged ‘Tulip Trust’ holding the aforementioned 1M BTC they supposedly mined together. Access was claimed by Dr. Wright to be delivered by bonded courier in January 2020, but the Judge hearing the matter stated “The totality of the evidence in the record does not substantiate that the Tulip Trust exists.” (R3) That ended up being the case, because Wright’s courier never arrived (well as of Nov 2021 anyway). Wright ended-up winning this lawsuit in late 2021.
According to yet another unconfirmed story- sealed court documents point to the involvement of a cryptographer turned organized crime boss Paul Le Roux who has been in US custody since September 2012. (R6) On the IP question there were reported negotiations between Calvin Ayre and the Kleiman estate over it, but that “Ayre’s attorneys concluded that the only IP on which Kleiman collaborated with Wright was the original Bitcoin code, which was released to the world as open source software in 2009.” (R4)
Finally there is the raw technical skill set of certain people in the OG community that make them prime candidates. Foremost among them are Hal Finney, Wei Dai, Nick Szabo, Adam Back, Jed McCaleb, Arthur Britto, and David Schwartz (aka JoelKatz). If you think he is dead, you’d have to say Hal Finney – that Dorian Nakaomoto lived nearby makes one scratch their head. If you think he is in plain site, you’d have to think Adam Back or Nick Szabo – here’s some interesting evidence behind the Szabo theory. However, if you think he really did move on “to other things” you’d have to say David Schwartz or Arthur Britto, because they started Ripple – a project Satoshi positively commented on. Find more ammo on that theory here. Fun fact- Vitalik Buterin would’ve been Ripple’s employee #1 in mid-2013, but could not get around a US visa issue requiring employers to be in business at least a year. (R8) Vitalik has even mentioned Ripple (aka Opencoin) as being his inspiration for Ethereum. Ripple is an OG alt project and XRP was (and still is) ahead of its’ time, but that’s another story.
Bottom line, Satoshi was a multi-talented genius. He was a cypher punk that mastered many different disciplines. Among them are game theory, distributed computing, cryptography, economics, and coding Actually, he wore too many hats to get the Bitcoin project running alone. If you know anything about IT projects – like software development, you know one man bands do not last long; and Bitcoin code has not been manipulated very much in over a decade. That’s rare, because it never went through an audit (at least never a formal one). So, the evidence leads me to believe that Bitcoin was a team project before it was released. That team stealth mined 1 Mn BTC and “moved on to other things” because they had their bag and enough projects ahead of them to never have the need to touch it. Actually, I think they burned the keys so there would never be an incentive to dip in or return. It’s widely believed that Satoshi has appx 1 million Bitcoins worth over $50 billion (Nov 2021). That figure was $8 billion when this article was first written in Nov 2019. The Satoshi team knew never touching it would help their alt projects grow, because an immature and unstable alt market needs users to HODL the OG coin – Bitcoin. Learn why that is so here.
SCENARIO A: “if” Szabo helped author the white paper, Britto (and/or Schwartz) probably built the code. Craig Wright and Dave Kleiman had very impressive security backgrounds (like Schwartz) so they likely tested the software and in the process, stealth mined it for the group. Were there other team members? – perhaps Finney or McCaleb or both), but the two I mention first (Szabo and Britto) are definitely on the short list in this scenario, because they have the technical resume and the incentive post-Bitcoin to stay anonymous.
SCENARIO B: Bitcoin is an intelligence black-op that was released as an experiment to see if a digital currency could work and/or as a way to loosen the grip of the USD. Tin foil hat – yes, but isn’t this whole story….?