Twelve years ago, precisely on 23 April 2011, an individual known as Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin, wrote one of his last correspondences with software developer Mike Hearn.
Specifically, the mastermind behind Bitcoin had stated that he, she or they had “moved on to other things” and confidently stated that the project had been entrusted into “good hands.” Below are all the details.
Satoshi Nakamoto creates Bitcoin and disappears into thin air
As we know, after the creation of Bitcoin and the initial implementation of the technology, the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto disappeared from the public scene in December 2010.
Notably, Nakamoto’s last public message was issued on 12 December of that year, when Nakamoto stressed that
“there is more work to be done on DoS (denial-of-service).”
Subsequently, the creator of Bitcoin kept corresponding with some of the developers behind the prestigious crypto, including Mike Hearn and Gavin Andresen. Hearn, in particular, received an e-mail from Nakamoto on 23 April 2011, titled “Holding coins in an unspendable state for a rolling time window.”
At the same time, Hearn himself was asking about the possibility of Nakamoto’s return to the Bitcoin community.
And it was at that point that Nakamoto stated that he, she or they had “moved on to other things,” stating firmly that the project was in “good hands with Gavin and others.”
The creator of Bitcoin had also renewed hope for the continued development of Bitcoinj, Mike Hearn’s Java version of Bitcoin, as it gives Java developers something to work on.
A few days after these events, Andresen received an e-mail from Nakamoto in which Nakamoto expressed frustration at the negative portrayal he received in the press, as it reads:
“I wish you wouldn’t keep talking about me as a mysterious shadowy figure. The press turns it into a corner of pirated currency. Instead take care of the open source project and give more credit to your development contributors; it helps motivate them.”
Importantly, this very email is considered the last known communication from the enigmatic Bitcoin creator to anyone.
Speculation regarding the secret identity
Some of the most prominent speculation regarding the identity of the mysterious Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto occurred on 7 March 2014, when an article in Newsweek had claimed that the creator of Bitcoin was a 64-year-old Japanese-American named Dorian Nakamoto.
However, a message allegedly written by Nakamoto, appeared on the P2P Foundation’s online forum to refute the claim, as it read:
“I’m not Dorian Nakamoto.”
Since then, no further messages have surfaced from the creator of Bitcoin, and as a result, the emails to Hearn and Andresen remain the last vestige of testimony from Nakamoto for over a decade.
But why was Dorian Nakamoto thought to be behind the hidden identity of Bitcoin’s inventor? It all starts precisely in 2014, when Newsweek’s Leah McGrath Goodman published an article, mentioned above, claiming that it was California resident Dorian Nakamoto.
As we well know, over the past eleven years there have been numerous identities who have self-proclaimed to be Satoshi, as well as those who have been accused by third parties of being Satoshi.
Most of these suspects also had some connection to the cypherpunk movement, but not Goodman’s suspect, who spent two months investigating his story. Specifically, one of the greatest strengths supporting that the inventor of Bitcoin was Dorian Nakamoto lies in his birth name, which is apparently Satoshi Nakamoto.
Moreover, when Goodman arrived at Dorian’s home in California, the latter had stated that he was “no longer involved in this” and that he “cannot discuss it.” Hence, the comment prompted Goodman and his Newsweek cohorts to assume that he was talking about the creation of Bitcoin, which is why the above theory was then unleashed.
The most prominent theories regarding the identity of Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto
As one can easily imagine, the theories about Satoshi Nakamoto’s true identity are numerous, as no one really knows whether he is a man, a woman, a set of people, or more.
Hence, to trace the identity, at first some people had started from the origin of the Japanese name. In fact, in Japanese “satoshi” means “a clear, quick and wise thought.”
Whereas, “Naka” can mean “medium,” “within,” or “relationship.” Finally, “Moto” can mean “origin” or “foundation.”
However, it has never been verified that these meanings can lead back to the identity behind the person who invented Bitcoin. Also, at a later date, it was thought to be Michael Clear, a graduate student in cryptography at Trinity College.
However, Clear denied any possible involvement of his behind the invention of Bitcoin. Still others suspected Vili Lehdonvirta, a former Finnish game developer, but he too denied any connection to Satoshi.
Not only that, in 2017, after a tip from a SpaceX employee, the idea appeared on the web that Elon Musk was hiding behind the pseudonym, a theory later denied by the entrepreneur himself on his Twitter account.
As we have seen, theories over the years have jumped from one person to another, until Wright’s statements in 2016. Wright, at the moment, seems to be the most credited personality to be the mastermind behind the creation of Bitcoin.
In any case, all these years there has only been speculation, much of it debunked. Hence, many doubts and very few certainties regarding the identity hidden behind Satoshi Nakamoto’s pseudonym. One wonders if we will ever know who the creator of the famous crypto Bitcoin really is.