No one really knows who is behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto that has been credited as developing the world’s first and largest, cryptocurrency – Bitcoin. Nakamoto was the one who mined the first blockchain of Bitcoin and was the one who published the whitepaper for the digital currency. Nakamoto had envisioned Bitcoin to be a token of transaction that would be widely adopted by the world to protect against inflation.
But while Bitcoin has had a rollercoaster ride over the past two years, in terms of soaring prices and popularity, the identity of Nakamoto is still widely speculated. Now, the world’s richest man thinks that he may have the answer.
Elon Musk, the CEO of companies like Tesla, SpaceX, Neuralink and more, has stated that he believes that the person behind the Nakamoto pseudonym is none other than cryptographic expert Nick Szabo.
“He seems to be the one more responsible for the ideas behind Bitcoin than anyone else. He claims not to be Nakamoto, but I’m not sure that’s neither here nor there,” Musk told podcaster and artificial intelligence researcher Lex Fridman.
"You can look at the evolution of ideas before the launch of Bitcoin and see who wrote, you know, about those ideas,” Musk said.
Szabo was one of the pioneers of ideas of cryptocurrencies and similar digital assets. Szabo was the principal creator of the defunct Bit Gold project in 1998, which was the first attempt to create a virtual, decentralised currency. Szabo’s techniques and ideas in the Bit Gold project would go on to directly influence Bitcoin development, with the inclusion of a proof-of-work (PoW) model, usage of mining blocks on the blockchain and more. Szabo also developed smart contracts, which went on to become a key part of the Ethereum blockchain which hosts the world’s second-biggest cryptocurrency. Szabo has claimed to not be behind the identity of Nakamoto, however.
"I’m afraid you got it wrong doxing me as Satoshi, but I’m used to it,” Szabo had said to financial author Dominic Frisby in 2014.
But a study from Aston University Centre for Forensic Linguistics in 2014, which analysed the Bitcoin whitepaper with Szabo’s other published material, along with writings of 10 others, had concluded that Szabo was undoubtedly behind the whitepaper’s creation.
According to the researchers, the number of linguistic similarities between Szabo’s writing and the Bitcoin whitepaper was uncanny and none of the other possible authors was anywhere near as good of a match.
But without Nakamoto revealing himself, it is entirely possible that the true identity of the person behind the development of cryptocurrencies is only going to be a matter of speculation. "It’s an interesting quirk of human history that there is a particular technology that has a completely anonymous inventor,” said Musk.