Claimed to be a 46-year-old man residing in Japan, Nakamoto’s supposed pseudonym had other competitors – Australian businessman Craig Wright, Finnish economic sociologist Willy Ledonverta, Irish student Michael Clear, Japanese mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki and British cryptographer The inventor of the bitcoin currency. Hashcash ancestor Adam Buck. Even Musk has been brought up as a potential creator of Bitcoin. Some think that Nakamoto’s code was too well designed for a single person.
The 2021 British black comedy film directed by Tom Sands, titled Decrypted, centers around a team from the US National Security Agency that kidnaps and tortures Nakamoto in an attempt to get rid of information that will destroy the entire cryptocurrency industry. Nakamoto managed to remain under a pseudonym during the release of his research paper in October 2008, “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” (bit.ly/3EQgPVF), starting the network, and following it up with a final email in April 2011 no less exciting.
Some believe that Nakamoto is dead (it may have been American computer scientist Hal Finney who passed away in 2014) and therefore remains unknown. Or maybe he’s in prison, like Zimbabwean and South African programmer and international criminal mind Paul Le Roux, keeping him incommunicado before the audience.
Anonymity might be like Banksy for Nakamoto’s safety. Bernard von Knotthaus was convicted in 2011 for creating his own US currency, the Liberty Dollar. Ross Ulbricht, founder and operator of the popular dark internet marketplace Silk Road, was sentenced to life in prison in 2015.
The Bitcoin story can be illustrated by a hypothetical story. Let’s say you visit a samosa stand on the street side every evening. Thanks to the patronage of your friends and a few of your friends, its popularity is rising, and the price of samosas there becomes $10 from the previous price of $5 a piece. Soon, thousands of people begin to gather every day. Since the samosa seller is only able to make 500 pieces per day, he started selling samosa coupons instead, opening them up to get samosas any day.
People start buying them from other places at a higher price and “holding them”. A person initiates other economic activities by purchasing, for example, a pizza using a voucher. Initiation of the parallel currency system. Suddenly the samosa seller disappeared. No samosas, but plenty of coupons floating around – some bought for 10 rupees, others as much as 10,000 rupees.
Coupons continue to circulate, and by creating new coupons using high capacity computers, the total number is limited to 21 million. Perhaps the hidden samosa seller kept some coupons for himself – he could sell them at a convenient time. What if the “samosa seller” – Satoshi Nakamoto – was revealed now?
About a year ago, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase stated that if Nakamoto were to be exposed, it could cause the price of Bitcoin to drop. If at any point Nakamoto chooses to move his bitcoin cache — believed to account for roughly 5% of the entire bitcoin market — it could destabilize the entire crypto market.
Also, any comment by Nakamoto can be interpreted as investment advice that leads to price movements. Charlie Lee, creator of Litecoin (LTC), has sold all his LTC holdings due to this possibility. And Vitalik Buterin, the creator of Ethereum, is not too excited that the community attaches great importance to it. As Adam Buck suggested, “For bitcoin to maintain a commodity-like perception, I think it would be very good if Satoshi kept out of the public eye.”
For now, Nakamoto’s identity remains “mysterious”. Bitcoin has certainly outgrown its creator(s). However, deciphering the Nakamoto mystery has the impetus for future thrillers.