The internet is abuzz once again with the rumour that we’re (once again) about to discover the true identity of Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto.
As of yesterday there are two new names you can add to the list of people that might be Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto: an Australian polymath by the name of Craig Steven Wright and and American cybersecurity analyst and veteran Dave Kleiman. Following similar leads, both Wired‘s Andy Greenberg and Gwern Branwen and Gizmodo‘s Sam Biddle and Andy Cush have presented a similar case. As Greenberg and Branwen put it, “either Wright invented Bitcoin, or he’s a brilliant hoaxer who very badly wants us to believe he did.” A third option, that Wright is nuts and simply believes he’s Nakamoto is also theoretically possible, but that aside, they make a convincing case.
I’m not holding my breath, of course: there have been a number of failed attempts to find the “real” Satoshi Nakamoto, all of which have ended when someone has pointed out some flaw or other in the logic.
If the “real” Satoshi Nakamoto (be it one person or a group of them) ever wants to “come out,” as it were, it won’t be too hard. According to Chris Wilmer, co-author of the book Bitcoin for the Befuddled and co-managing editor of the journal Ledger,* there are at least two convincing ways he could prove his identity. Since he should control the bitcoins rewarded for the first blocks ever mined, he could either sign a message with the private key associated with the first (or “genesis”) block, or he could simply move a coin from the second block [note that the coins from the genesis block, last I checked, couldn’t be spent]. Until such time as someone asking to be called Satoshi Nakamoto comes forward with one or the other as proof, I’ll be over here smiling and nodding and generally finding the whole thing very interesting indeed.
*Full disclosure: I’m an editor at Ledger as well.
Richard Ford Burley is a writer and doctoral candidate at Boston College, as well as an editor at Ledger, the first academic journal devoted to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In his spare time he writes about science, skepticism, feminism, and futurism here at This Week In Tomorrow.