The global economy has witnessed several upheavals in recent years but one that is quite momentous and enduring is the issue of cryptocurrencies. These classes of digital-based currencies have come to stay, the best of which is Bitcoin, even as various governments scramble to regulate them.
Since Bitcoin first came into existence in 2009, it has grown in leaps and bounds and is now the most popular cryptocurrency in the world. In 2021, one Bitcoin exchanged for as much as $50,000 and several businesses now accept it as a valid means of payment. Billionaires such as Elon Musk are also cashing in with his company, Tesla, buying $1.5 billion worth of it as well as planning to accept it as payment in the future.
All these have led to a natural curiosity about the brains behind the currency but this is where it gets interesting. Even though the fellow goes by the moniker Satoshi Nakamoto, it is not known who the person actually is. Several persons have claimed to be Nakamoto but these claims have been disputed. Some analysts have even put forward some names but it is thought that Nakamoto could possibly be several individuals rather than one person.
The Origin of Bitcoin Dates Back to 2009 When Its White Paper was Published
Just as there is a mystery about the true identity of the person/persons behind the name Satoshi Nakamoto, there is also a mystery as to what may have motivated the creation of Bitcoin. Some sources have it that Nakamoto’s invention stemmed from his distrust of the centralized banking system following the 2008 global economic crisis. Others suggest that he was motivated to invent the digital currency after he was denied a bank account in the U.K. due to the fact that he lacked a permanent address.
The third school of thought has it that Satoshi is actually resident in the U.S. and was forced to create the digital currency as a result of the fact that he was laid off from his job and consequently lost his home in the early 90s. Whichever it is, one thing that is certain is that Satoshi Nakamoto invented something that is so brilliant that it nears perfection.
The origins of this brilliant creation took root in 2009 when the fellow pieced together previously-developed concepts of cryptography and digital signatures to set up a peer-to-peer electronic payment system. The cornerstone of that system was a currency known as Bitcoin which enthusiasts could harvest after solving some difficult math problems. The first harvesters of Bitcoins initially used it to pay for items as simple as pizza. As time went by, more and more merchants started to accept it and it grew in value, from 30 cents in 2009/2010 to $32 in 2011 and $266 in 2013.
One single Bitcoin is now worth more than $50,000 and its popularity keeps on growing. Several businesses now accept it as legal tender and prominent tech gurus such as Elon Musk hold substantial caches of it.
Bitcoin is my safe word
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) December 20, 2020
Elon Musk Among Several Others Have Been Rumored To Be Nakamoto
The real identity of Satoshi Nakamoto remains a mystery and one would naturally wonder why a person who has invented something so ground-breaking won’t simply come out and take the credit for it. Well, the answer lies in the fact that Bitcoin is such a disruptive force in the global economy. This entails that the individual behind it would attract the attention of the authorities and even face some form of criminal charges for inventing something that would compete with government-backed currencies.
Another reason that may have motivated Satoshi Nakamoto to guard his identity jealously may be due to his ultimate goal that the viability of his currency depends on cryptography rather than a so-called trusted third person/individual. That being said, the fellow’s identity remains a mystery to date and this has led to several permutations. Reputable publications such as The New York Times and Newsweek have invested hours of investigative journalism into uncovering the person behind Nakamoto and this has led to about 13 individuals being put forward.
One of them is Hal Finney, an American game developer and cryptographic pioneer who resided few blocks from a man named Dorian Nakamoto. Such coincidence made many believe that Hal must be the one but he flatly denied this, stating that he only got involved and mined a few of the Bitcoins after it had been developed. Other names that have been thrown up include Finnish sociologist – Dr. Vili Lehdonvirta, Irish student – Michael Clear, American blogger – Nick Szabo, and even Tesla founder – Elon Musk. All these people have, however, flatly denied being Satoshi.
Another fellow that has been touted as the developer of Bitcoin is a Japanese-American man named Satoshi Nakamoto who moved to the United States at the age of 10 and grew up in California. He obtained a degree in physics from Cal Poly University in Pomona before going off to work for some defense contractor as a systems engineer. He was later laid off. The California Satoshi was first fingered as the Bitcoin creator following a misquoted statement in a 2014 article in Newsweek. In a subsequent interview, he clarified that he had no connection to Bitcoin and had only heard of it recently.
Australian Entrepreneur Craig Wright Claims To Be Satoshi Nakamoto
In 2015, an Australian computer scientist and entrepreneur named Craig Steven Wright insinuated that he was Satoshi Nakamoto before going ahead to proffer cryptographic proof in a blog post. Fellow Bitcoin developers and cryptographers, however, agreed that his post did not contain any tangible proof and so dubbed him a scam. This brought the man intense scrutiny from all over the world, forcing him to backtrack his claim. Wright, however, believes he was not trying to scam anyone and has gone ahead to institute several lawsuits against individuals that dubbed him a fraud. These lawsuits have yet to reach a conclusion though due to one technicality or the other.
Satoshi Nakamoto is Believed To Be Most Likely British Than Japanese
Satoshi Nakamoto, therefore, remains a mysterious figure but the sum piece of all the investigations carried out over the years, as well as an examination of the Bitcoin white paper, is that it is possible that several persons, rather than one individual, was involved in the creation of the cryptocurrency. Analysts have also pointed out that the inventor/inventors may be of British origin.
This is due to the sophisticated nature of their writings; the use of colloquial English words (such as a flat); and references to happenings in Britain. Another thing that supports this perspective is that Nakamoto’s online posts often decline during 5 am and 11 am UK time; a time he can be reasonably expected to be asleep. This same time slot translates into 2 pm and 8 pm Japanese time; a period where most people are going about their business and not sleeping.
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 16, 2021
Highlight of all the People Who Have Claimed or Have Been Rumored To Be Satoshi Nakamoto
- Elon Musk – Tesla CEO
- Hal Finney – American game developer and cryptographic pioneer
- Dr. Vili Lehdonvirta – Finnish sociologist
- Michael Clear – Irish student
- Nick Szabo – American blogger
- Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto – Japanese-American trained physicist
- Craig Steven Wright – Australian computer scientist and entrepreneur
Nakamoto is Potentially Worth as Much as $50 Billion
With little known about Nakamoto, one is forced to conclude that his primary source of livelihood is the bitcoins that he created. According to cryptography enthusiasts, the fellow mined for himself 1 million out of the 20 million bitcoins available. It, therefore, means that he was worth around $1 million when the price of one bitcoin was $1.
By 2013, Nakamoto’s fortune would have grown to a billion dollars for the very first time as the price of one bitcoin reached $1,000. That same bitcoin now goes for $50,000 meaning that Satoshi Nakamoto is potentially worth $50 billion. This makes him one of the 25 richest individuals in the world. For him to nab the top spot, he will have to wait for one bitcoin to exchange for about $200,000 which will see him beat out the current richest man, Jeff Bezos, who is worth $190 billion.