Some people love the anonymity that the Internet offers.  You can lurk in the shadows using a random pseudonym, and if you are careful enough it’s likely that no one will ever know who you are.  Back in 2008, an inventor named “Satoshi Nakamoto” created a peer-to-peer electronic cash system known as Bitcoin.  The system was first used in 2009, and it has steadily gained popularity ever since.  Bitcoin is fascinating because it is a completely legitimate form of currency but is not backed by any central monetary authority.  Conventional currency is issued by a central bank and backed by something…maybe gold or silver or something similar. Once upon a time, the United States dollar was backed by a huge cache of gold predominantly stored in a very secure facility at Fort Knox. 

Bitcoin is not backed by anything and not issued by any central bank.  Instead, it is comprised of a peer-to-peer network made up of its user’s computers.  These computers use their power to solve complex mathematic problems (known as “mining”) and the complexity of these problems grows over time.  Because the difficulty of these problems grows over time, the number of Bitcoins allowed in circulation is naturally limited.  When a new Bitcoin is mined, all the computers in the network have to agree on the newly mined Bitcoin.  So, the power of the value of Bitcoins relies upon the fact that all the users in the Bitcoin network are invested in this process and won’t stand for any nefarious activity that would devalue the hard work they used to generate their own Bitcoins.   As of this article, one single Bitcoin is worth about $450.00.  Here’s a quick chart that shows the value of Bitcoins over time.

 

coindesk-bpi-chart

 

When Bitcoin was released, most everything about it was made completely public.  The code, the protocol, the processes…everything.  Everything except the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto.  Of course, this mysterious identity has prompted people to want to know the man…or woman…or group of people…behind the genius system that is Bitcoin.  And for seven years, no one has known.  Back in 2014, a man really named Satoshi Nakamoto was famously accused of being the inventor of Bitcoin, but he adamantly denied this charge.  Many other people have speculated as to the actual identity of Nakamoto, but no one really knows.  Here’s a little list of people I found who are thought to be the real Satoshi Nakamoto:

  • Michael Clear, a graduate cryptography student at Dublin's Trinity College
  • Neal King, Vladimir Oksman, and Charles Bry
  • Martii Malmi, a developer living in Finland
  • Jed McCaleb, a lover of Japanese culture and resident of Japan
  • Donal O'Mahony and Michael Peirce, computer scientists
  • Professor Shinichi Mochizuki, Japanese mathematician
  • Dorian S Nakamoto, a Japanese man residing in California
  • Hal Finney, developer
  • Michael Weber, develper
  • Wei Dai, developer
  • Nick Szabo, technical writer

Among those included on the “who is the real Satoshi Nakamoto” list was an Australian entrepreneur named Craig S Wright.  Wright had a fairly plausible resume when it came to associating his name with Nakamoto.  He had many emails, transcripts, and other documents that defended the claim that his name should be on the Nakamoto list.  How do we know he had all this stuff?  Someone hacked into his business email account and found it all, of course!  The problem is…Wright never said he was Nakamoto.  In fact, ALL these people on the Nakamoto list have either outright denied that they are Nakamoto or have never come forward and claimed they are him.  That is…until today.

Craig S. Wright contacted the BBC, the Economist, and GQ to identify himself as the real Satoshi Nakamoto.  At a meeting in London, Wright met with these three media organizations and also invited several prominent Bitcoinn developers and scientists.  He used cryptographic proofs to show that he was, in fact, the father of Bitcoin.  Now, he plans to move one of the "Satoshi Nakamoto" Bitcoins to further prove he is Nakamoto.  The incredible transparency of Bitcoin transfers will make this move a pretty rock-solid proof that he really is who he says.  He claims that he came forward because some of the people he cares about deeply were being falsely accused of many malicious things related to the Nakamoto identity.  He finally came to the realization that he needed to prove his identity to save his friends from any more of these attacks.

Let’s admit it, we’ve been looking for Mr. Wright for a long time, and now we finally found him…or did we?