Finance

VideoShot: The many names of Satoshi Nakamoto

It’s been a funny old year for Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency’s value has bounced back after a lacklustre year or so, while some experts believe 2016 will see the first Bitcoin or Blockchain Unicorns.

But one mystery still remains; who is the true creator of Bitcoin and the Blockchain technology that powers it? It’s well known that this mysterious person goes by the alias Satoshi Nakamoto, and they published a paper about the Bitcoin concept in 2008. But aside from that, we know very little aside from some of the people who Satoshi had contact with. But that hasn’t stopped many trying to uncover the truth.

Just last month both Wired and Gizmodo landed upon the name of 44-year-old Australian entrepreneur Craig Wright as the one true Satoshi. Subsequent digging from various outlets points to a likely fake however, and little more has been heard in the last few weeks.

But Wright is far from the first to be handed the mantle of “Bitcoin’s founder.” Newsweek pointed the finger at a then 64-year-old Japanese-American Dorian S. Nakamoto, an unemployed former systems engineer with a penchant for collecting model trains. The New Yorker claimed it was a cryptography expert from Ireland named Michael Clear. Fast Company suggested it could have been a collective pseudonym of three people.

And so on. There’s been over a dozen such “revelations”, most have either been categorically debunked or unconfirmed at best. Perhaps we’ll never know for sure.

Why does the identity of Satoshi matter? On the whole, it probably doesn’t; he/she wouldn’t be able to directly control what happens with the currency or the underlying technology. But with Bitcoin moving ever-closer to the mainstream, it could do with a figurehead and Satoshi’s messiah-like status could help push through any changes the community deem necessary. Also, the cryptocurrency’s creator has a stash of some 1 million Bitcoins, valued at approximately $400 million today. That’s a lot of Bitcoin, and given how volatile the price has been this year, that stash has the power to create no end of uncertainty and fluctuation on the market. Also it’d make a great scoop.

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Dan Swinhoe

Dan is a journalist at CSO Online. Previously he was Senior Staff Writer at IDG Connect.

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