On the 12th of December, 2010, we last heard from Satoshi Nakamoto. His last message was posted on BitcoinTalk, and begins:
“There’s more work to do on DoS, but I’m doing a quick build of what I have so far in case it’s needed, before venturing into more complex ideas.”
Who is Satoshi Nakamoto?
Satoshi Nakamoto is the pseudonym adopted by the anonymous creator of the Bitcoin blockchain. He first made himself known in the cryptography community when he released the pre-leased version of his Bitcoin whitepaper to select members of the Cryptography Mailing List on November 16, 2008.
However, despite the relationships that he formed with other enthusiasts while completing his work, he never revealed his identity to any of them, as far as we know.
What is BitcoinTalk?
BitcoinTalk is a cryptocurrency-focused forum where like-minded individuals can discuss everything pertaining to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.
Nakamoto himself created an original Bitcoin forum in November 2009 before the discussion was moved to BitcoinTalk in 2011.
BitcoinTalk dedicated exclusively to Bitcoin blockchain and Bitcoin (BTC) discussions, although it later extended to include other cryptocurrencies and blockchain project discussions as well.
It was on BitcoinTalk where Nakamoto and his partners and the community worked together towards developing the source code for the Bitcoin blockchain.
However, after two years of sharing his coding and discussing his blockchain code updates and ideologies with others, Nakamoto he suddenly stopped communicating with the community, leaving no way for anyone to contact him.
His final instructions were given to Gavin, whom he asked to take over the project and coordinate with the rest of the volunteer developers to finalize code.
What did Satoshi’s last words mean?
At the time, Satoshi and his band of volunteers were still working on fixing bugs in the code. This was part of an ongoing discussion between himself and the other coders.
Satoshi, one can assume, most likely felt that the project was in good hands and that he was no longer needed, and so chose to quietly leave the platform and allow it to become the truly leaderless platform that he had envisioned.
This assumption is based on the stated purpose of Bitcoin as being a means of transparent, traceable, borderless and completely infallible, as well as the fact that he had gone to pains to ensure his anonymity long before the concept really took off.
Who is Gavin Andersen?
Gavin Andresen is an American software developer who was one of the contributors who helped Nakamotot to finalize the Bitcoin blockchain code.
They were in private communication with one another during the time, and Andresen claims that Nakamoto continued communicating with him even after he stopped posting on BitcoinTalk.
As such, Andresen claims that the last message that he ever received from Nakamoto was on April 26, 2011, which stated:
“I wish you would stop talking about me as a mysterious shadowy figure. The press just turns that into a pirate currency angle. Maybe instead make it about the open source project and give more credit to contributors.”
When Nakamoto disappeared, it was in Andersen’s hands that he left the finalization of the Bitcoin blockchain code.
Nakamoto sought anonymity
In his penultimate BitcoinTalk post, WikiLeaks had announced that they would be accepted for donations. Nakamoto was very vocally against this move, as he felt that it would be drawing the wrong kind of attention towards the blockchain project.
Surprisingly, the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, decided to respect Satoshi’s request and waited until June 2011, before moving forward with accepting anonymous BTC donations.
Nonetheless, Satoshi’s comment speaks volumes, especially since when combined with his strong desire for anonymity, it seems that he was concerned about becoming the target of unwanted governmental attention and accusations.
People claimed or suspected to be Satoshi Nakamoto
Craig Wright is an Australian entrepreneur and Bitcoin maximalist who first claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto back in May 2016, when he approached the BBC, GQ Magazine and the Economist with proof.
Additionally, Jon Matanis, the founding director of the Bitcoin Foundation also gave his support, as he felt the validity of Wright’s claim after meeting with him in June 2015 in Sydney, Australia.
He provided further proof in December 2018 when he submitted his codecademy profile, but most did not feel that it was significant enough to be irrefutable.
Dorian Nakamoto is a retired engineer who never claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto. Rather, Dorian was accused of being Satoshi by Newsweek’s Leah McGrath Goodman’s 2014 exposé and has always vehemently denied it.
In fact, he even allowed himself to be interviewed by the New York Times in 2014 an attempt to clear his name, pointing out that the reason he cannot reveal what he was working on during the time he was supposedly working on Bitcoin was due to his contracts stipulating that he was not allowed to reveal his projects both during and after the completion of his work.
Additionally, he was working until 2010, which means that he had not had the time to work on it prior to that.
The poor guy was really unhappy about all the media backlash and hubbub he had to deal with until the public finally lost interest.
Harold Thomas Finney II
Hal Finney was an American software engineer and game developer and early member of the cypherpunk movement. He was also one of the first people to reach out to Satoshi when he first sent out his pre-lease Bitcoin whitepaper. His claim to fame came as the first person to receive a BTC transaction, and he received it from Satoshi himself, no less! Since he is known to have been heavily involved in assisting Satoshi as well, in addition to the fact that he lived in Temple City, California for ten years, which is where Dorian Nakamoto lived for a long time, led people to suspect that he was Satoshi. However, he will never be able to confirm this, since he passed away in August 2014.
Why Hasn’t He Revealed Himself?
There are a few theories as to why he has chosen to remain anonymous. The main ones are that:
- He fears retaliation or charges from government bodies and dangerous actors
- He values his privacy and does not want to be swamped by unwanted attention from the media or fans
- He could possibly have passed away unexpectedly and hence the untouched pre-mined million BTC that have remained in the address since the beginning.
How could Satoshi Nakamoto prove his identity?
Arguably, there are three ways in which he (or she) could prove their identity, namely:
- Post a statement on his BitcoinTalk account
- Email everyone on the Cryptography Mailing List from the old email account that he used to use
- Move some of the Bitcoin that he has been HODLing ever since he mined it back in 2009
Of these three, the best would be transferring the funds, since only Satoshi would have the password.