If you are reading this then you have heard of Satoshi Nakamoto. In fact, anyone who owns any Bitcoin has almost certainly heard of Satoshi Nakamoto. In fact, even if they haven’t heard of Satoshi Nakamoto then they have still heard his name.
He, or at least the person – or group of persons – using the name as a pseudonym, is the creator of Bitcoin, and his name adorns the smallest non-divisible measurement of the currency. Pounds have pennies; dollars have cents; bitcoins have satoshis.
Since his last message on 12 December 2010, the identity of Satoshi has been an ongoing mystery that almost a decade on is still the subject of massive debate.
So where are we at now?
On 24 April 2019 the Twitter user and Bitcoin engineer Jameson Lopp, who has the curious distinction of enjoying a successful IT career whilst living off-the-grid (i.e. without electricity), ran a timestamp analysis of Satoshi Nakamoto’s posts on the bitcointalk forums. Lopp discovered that the timing of Satoshi’s posts between 2009 and 2010 strongly correlated with the sleep patterns expected of a person living either on the East Coast of the US, or the West Coast of South America.
Timestamps tell a story. pic.twitter.com/O2ILmVTVs9
— Jameson Lopp (@lopp) April 24, 2019
For good measure, Lopp also conducted the same analysis of the posts of Craig Wright, a man notorious not only for creating a hard fork of Bitcoin in the shape of Bitcoin SV, but for repeatedly claiming that he is in fact Satoshi Nakamoto.
It will come as no surprise to anyone with even the slightest knowledge of Craig Wright’s history to discover that the pattern of Wright’s posts was entirely consistent… with those of a man living in Australia, where Wright was indeed living at the time.
Wright has a long and chequered past in relation to such lurid claims, resulting in Bitcoin SV being delisted from Binance in April 2019.
Wright has also sued British podcaster Peter McCormack for calling him a fraud:
In delisting Bitcoin SV, Binance’s CEO, Changpeng “CZ” Zhao stated the fact that it would be easy for Wright to prove his claims by posting on bitcointalk and digitally signing it as Satoshi Nakamoto.
Wright has not done so.
Another person who believes he can prove or disprove Wright’s claim is none other than John McAfee, eponymous creator of the McAfee antivirus and now a renegade Internet personality living in the Bahamas and fighting extradition to the US.
McAfee claims that he tracked Satoshi down and that it was a “piece of cake”. However, McAfee also claims that he has been advised by his extradition lawyer not to reveal the identity of Satoshi for fear of risking said extradition.
McAfee offered this letter up as proof:
This doesn’t actually prove anything. All McAfee would have to do to obtain such a letter is to instruct his lawyer to advise him on the potential ramifications of revealing Satoshi’s identity. We here at The Coin Radar could ask a lawyer for the same advice and would likely receive a similar response.
Suffice to say, The Coin Radar doesn’t know the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto.
All of this begs the question: is it desirable for the world to know Satoshi’s identity? He (or they) clearly doesn’t want to be found. He is also in possession of a wallet containing 1,000,000 BTC. Exposing his identity may make him reconsider his decision to keep those Bitcoin in storage and instead decide to sell them. Such an influx would almost certainly depress not only the price of Bitcoin, but destroy the wider market’s fragile recovery – perhaps irrevocably.
Let us hope Satoshi is allowed to live in anonymity for the rest of his days.