It has been over a decade since Bitcoin first appeared, both as a concept and as a living coin. During those ten years, cryptocurrencies went through a lot, and have come a long way. However, there is still a lot about the crypto space that coin holders and developers alike have to learn. While the list of things that we do not know about cryptos is getting closer with each breakthrough and discovery, one mystery, in particular, remains persistent.
This is, of course, the first and largest mystery that surrounds the crypto space — the identity of Bitcoin’s creator.
The mystery of Satoshi Nakamoto
Satoshi Nakamoto is the person (or a group) that managed to come up with Bitcoin and spark the crypto evolution that is still taking place. Not much is known of the person or persons behind this alias, except from the fact that they decided that banks and financial institutions hold too much power over the world and that this is something that has to change.
Since Nakamoto came up with Bitcoin, there were countless attempts to unmask him, her, or them — all of which ended up being unsuccessful. Even if there was no clear proof that people suspected of being Nakamoto are not really Nakamoto, there is still no proof that any of them are truly behind the mask. Here are some of the suspects that those seeking out Nakamoto’s real identity managed to come up with over the years.
1) Vili Lehdonvirta
The first attempt to unmask Satoshi likely came right after Bitcoin’s whitepaper was published. However, the first recorded attempt dates back to October 2011, when The New Yorker’s journalist, Joshua Davis, wrote a piece claiming that the person behind Satoshi Nakamoto is a Finnish researcher from the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology. The researcher’s name was Vili Lehdonvirta, and Davis claimed that he was Nakamoto due to information provided by one of Lehdonvirta’s former students. The student in question, Michael Clear, believed that Lehdonvirta is a solid fit for being Nakamoto due to his background and knowledge. However, Lehdonvirta claimed that he is not behind the alias, as the person has to be quite a crypto expert to come up with something like Bitcoin.
2) Shinichi Mochizuki
A year and a half later, in May 2013, an IT pioneer, philosopher, and sociologist from the US, Ted Nelson, made a YouTube video stating that he believes to have found the real Nakamoto. According to him, the person behind the identity might be Shinichi Mochizuki, a mathematician from Japan. Nelson seemed so convinced in his theory that he promised to donate to a charity if Mochizuki denies that he is Nakamoto, which actually happened in July 2013.
3) Craig Wright
There were several people who have claimed that Craig Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto, including Craig Wright himself. The original claims came in December 2015, after Wired published an article by Gwern Branwen and Andy Greenberg. According to the article, Craig Wright is either a brilliant hoaxer or true Satoshi.
Gizmodo also published a similar claim, claiming that the evidence for Wright being Satoshi came from documents obtained by a hacker who managed to break into Wright’s emails. The documents indicated that Wright might have only been one half of Satoshi Nakamoto, while the other half was his friend, David Kleiman who passed away two years earlier.
A year later, in May 2016, Wright decided to come out and admit that he is the real Nakamoto, although he failed to provide proof that was demanded of him. This alone was enough to convince many that the entire thing is just a hoax, but the truth is not clear to this day, and Wright continues to claim that he is, in fact, Satoshi.
4) Elon Musk
Believe it or not, even Elon Musk was once believed to be Satoshi Nakamoto, after one of his former interns, Sahil Gupta, wrote an article for Hacker Noon claiming as much. According to Gupta, Musk would certainly be capable of filling Nakamoto’s shoes, with his knowledge of economics and production-level software. However, Musk denied the claims, and the story ended at that.
5) King, Oksman, and Bry
Another article claimed that Satoshi Nakamoto is an alias used by no less than three individuals. According to the journalist Adam Penenberg, the article’s author — Vladimir Oksman, Charles Bry, and Neil King were a combination that made Nakamoto come to life. Oksman was the only one living in the US at the time, while Bry and King allegedly live in Germany. What inspired Penenberg to come up with this theory was the fact that the three individuals filed a patent in 2008, and that the patent has a curious phrase in it. The phrase was “computationally impractical to reverse,” and the same wording was used in Bitcoin white paper which was published only two months after that. After contacting them, all three denied being Satoshi Nakamoto.
Many others were also suspected of being Satoshi, but with no real proof or confirmation by the suspected individuals. For now, Nakamoto’s true identity still remains a mystery, and nobody can tell if the world will ever find out who the inventor of Bitcoin really is. Even so, many continue to sear