The mystery surrounding Satoshi Nakamoto is remarkable. With electronic footprints and 24/7 tracking, remaining anonymous in the 21st century seems impossible. But the person or entity behind Bitcoin has successfully hid behind a Japanese pseudonym for over a decade.
Is that about to change?
A Nakamoto-themed website (gotsatoshi.com) launched this past weekend, and it hints at getting ready to disclose Satoshi’s true identity. The corresponding Twitter handle began tweeting last week, teasing audiences with the statement “The countdown begins.” With little information on the site besides a timer, will Satoshi really be unmasked when the countdown reaches zero?
Whom To Believe
Claims about Satoshi’s identity are heating up as cryptocurrencies recover from last year’s “crypto winter” when Bitcoin lost nearly 80% of its value.
Among the most vocal claimants of the Satoshi name is Craig Wright, proprietor of Bitcoin SV, . In an April 5 blog, Wright says the alias is an amalgamation of Tominaga Nakamoto and Ash Ketchum (named Satoshi in the original Japanese Pokemon anime). “The name wasn’t something that I spent months … on deciding, and it doesn’t mean anything related to what you see on the wikis. Rather, it was an attempt at privacy.”
Many think Wright’s claims are preposterous, or perhaps a prank. Anti-virus software entrepreneur John McAfee is one of them.
McAfee, who has 910,000 Twitter followers, has recently taken to social media to embarrass Craig Wright. “There [are] at least a dozen crypto adherents who know the true identity of Satoshi. I can assure you, 100%, it is NOT Craig Wright.”
“I protected the identity of Satoshi. It’s time, though, that this be put to bed. Imposters claim to be him, we are spending time and energy in search of him — It’s a waste. Every day I will narrow down the identity of Satoshi until he reveals himself, or I reveal him.”
Yet on April 25, his lawyer advised that McAfee not reveal the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto to prevent negative consequences, leaving an eager audience disappointed.
The Meaning of Satoshi
Plenty of other theories abound, including discussions of a secret CIA project or a joint venture of some of the top consumer tech companies in the world, with little facts backing these assertions.
Whoever he is (or they are), Satoshi seems to taunt observers and regulators who live in a connected world where privacy is impossible. The world’s most sought-after technologist remains anonymous by wearing a pseudonym-mask — a decade after launching a Bitcoin revolution and declaring independence from the fiat-monopoly of central banks and governments.
The Bitcoin whitepaper wasn’t just about designing a peer-to-peer electronic cash system. Satoshi architected a decentralized network that eliminates reliance on financial institutions and bureaucracies. At a time when these establishments nearly caused the total collapse of the global financial system.
As discontent of the status quo increases, it’s little wonder that so many pretenders are eager to claim the Satoshi mantle.
Prove It, Craig
On April 17, Craig Wright sued a British podcaster for rejecting his claims to be Satoshi. Most crypto users don’t take the Australian’s assertion seriously — because he seems unable to prove it.
“To create Bitcoin, I used the very system of thought it is designed to collapse,” says Wright on his blog. “Those with socialist tendencies, and yes, anarchy is in all forms aligned to socialism, tend to think in terms of religious mysticism …. All of what I have said and done is hidden in plain sight.”
Consensus arrives in two weeks, and industry eyes-and-ears will be in New York to glean from the best minds in blockchain. The site gotsatoshi.com hints that we could learn more about the greatest of them all.