Satoshi Nakamoto: Facts about the creator of Bitcoin

People know the name Satoshi Nakamoto, the person or group who created Bitcoin. However, there is a lot that people don’t know. Here is a list of interesting Satoshi Nakamoto facts.

Satoshi Nakamoto is either a person or a group (but for the purposes of the article, I’ll refer to Satoshi using male pronouns). It is likely Satoshi is a person who worked with a group. The reason I say this is that the manner of speech used on all their 500+ posts on Bitcointalk.org, the Bitcoin white paper, and other documents attributed to him appear to come from a single person. He says things like “we have been working on X” and “I have been working on Y” implying that Satoshi is a person in a group and not the name of a group, at least initially.
Although he didn’t invent the concept of digital currency, Satoshi Nakamoto created both Bitcoin and blockchain (by innovating on the work of those who came before them). He also founded Bitcointalk.org (the popular cryptocurrency forum used after bitcoin.sourceforge.net stopped being used to discuss Bitcoin development back in November 2009). Thus, although he didn’t invent cryptocurrency, Satoshi started not only modern digital currency in its current decentralized form but started the modern crypto community as well.

Satoshi actively worked on Bitcoin in a pseudo-anonymous fashion. We know a great deal of what he had to say, but have no identifying information on him. This is like Bitcoin itself; everything is transparent, but everything is encrypted and who is doing what is not known by default.

Bitcoin wasn’t the first digital currency; it was simply the first decentralized digital currency. Other digital currencies had been tried, but he had all been theoretical or run by centralized companies. Satoshi thought this is why those companies ended up failing. He pointed to TOR as an example of a decentralized platform that did well and wasn’t taken down by governments, and pointed to the more centralized Napster as one that didn’t work and was taken down.

One inspiration for Bitcoin was b-money. This is easy to confirm as Satoshi cites it in the Bitcoin white paper. The citations from the white paper clue us into the idea that Satoshi was researching bits, hashes, and digital monies since the 1990s. This gives us a clue about his age as well.

The main inspiration for all digital currency is cryptography. Cryptography specifically was used for encryption in software and picked on by those interested in both encryption and computing. Those interested in open source, computing, and encryption in the 1980s and 1990s invented the modern concepts of cryptocurrency. The people of this type are today referred to as cypherpunks (a play on the term cyberpunk). Satoshi drew inspiration from this circle and was potentially even part of this circle at the time.

Although Bitcoin is the first notable modern cryptocurrency, the first decentralized digital cryptocurrency can be traced back to “bit gold” (not to be confused with Bitgold), which was worked on by Nick Szabo between 1998 and 2005 but never implemented. Although bit gold is considered the first precursor to bitcoin, cryptocurrency pioneer David Chaum’s company DigiCash (which attempted to innovate digital currency), Wei Dai’s b-money (a conceptual system Satoshi cites it in the Bitcoin white paper), and “e-gold” (a centralized digital currency that started in 1996) are all notable mentions.

No one knows who Satoshi is and let’s not guess. Doxing Satoshi would be pretty lame. There is something to be said for them remaining anonymous. You can enter the rabbit hole via Wikipedia if you want to discover likely contenders.

In many ways, Bitcoin was created as a response to the financial crisis. Satoshi uses this as justification for why Bitcoin is important a few times; also the timing matches up when you look at the start of Bitcoin and the timing of the crisis.

Satoshi’s native languish is English. He thanks people for translations from English to French and Spanish and speaks fluent English.

Satoshi was exceptionally innovative while working on Bitcoin. For example, he was the first to solve the double spending problems and came up with fixes for flood attacks and other hacks that posed longstanding issues for the digital currencies.

In one Bitcointalk post about “flood attacks” from August 5, 2010, Satoshi discusses micropayments. Micropayments were a sticking point and consideration since the early days. At the time he thought bandwidth costs and professional server farms might solve this issue.

Satoshi meant Bitcoin to be deflationary. Not only is there a limited supply printed, but lost coins can’t be recovered. Thus, the amount of existing coins dwindles over time as access to coins is lost.

Satoshi abruptly stopped working on Bitcoin at the end of 2010 when Wikileaks touted it. His second to last post on Bitcointalk reads, “It would have been nice to get this attention in any other context. WikiLeaks has kicked the hornet’s nest, and the swarm is headed towards us.” It was an interesting a sudden end to Satoshi the public persona, but hardly the end of Bitcoin.