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Crazy theories and global manhunts for Bitcoin's creator Satoshi Nakamoto

Colin Neagle | March 7, 2014
Newsweek made waves this week with an article that claims to unmask Satoshi Nakamoto, the previously anonymous person whose name was the only one listed on the 2008 whitepaper that launched the modern cryptocurrency movement.

Newsweek made waves this week with an article that claims to unmask Satoshi Nakamoto, the previously anonymous person whose name was the only one listed on the 2008 whitepaper that launched the modern cryptocurrency movement.

The fallout from Newsweek's story is still landing, but if it is true, it will put a stop to the speculation and international investigation of a mysterious name to which many have tried to attach an identity.

Finger pointing at Nakamoto's developers
In Bitcoin's early stages, Nakamoto sought help from developers who were skilled and interested enough to help strengthen the system. Gavin Andresen, who is identified as Bitcoin's "chief scientist" and quoted prominently in Newsweek's article, appears to have had the most contact with Nakamoto early on. Even so, he never spoke on the phone with him and could not get Nakamoto to reveal a single personal detail.

Given his long relationship with Bitcoin, many accused Andresen of creating a fake mastermind to create the illusion that he was just contributing to Bitcoin, rather than serving as its founder. Many users in Bitcoin forums seemed assured of it, and a May 2013 Motherboard article him as a "prime suspect." Andresen has even been called the "Batman" of the Bitcoin world, according to the Motherboard article. Many believed he was also its Bruce Wayne.

A Bitcoin developer named Dustin Trammell responded to charges that he was actually Nakamoto in late October 2013, after discussions in forums implicated him in some of the earliest Bitcoin transactions. Trammell attempted to debunk the myth in the forums, admitting that he had communicated with the real Nakamoto via email while reporting bugs in Bitcoin's early days. He eventually published an article in The Daily Dot in November 2013, with the blunt headline, "I Am Not Satoshi".

Conspiracy theories and translation attempts
Many have looked at the name "Satoshi Nakamoto" as a puzzle itself, meant to hide the identity of the people or groups behind Bitcoin.The most popular of these is the idea of an invisible hand controlled by a corporate consortium. The name Satoshi Nakamoto, in this theory, derives from these four names: SAmsung, TOSHIba, NAKAmichi MOTOrola.

Others have translated the name to try to find clues. One such theory alleges that the name "Satoshi Nakamoto" shows ties to the CIA. From a Bitcoin forum post just weeks ago:

[BLOCKQUOTE]Japanese names are presented with the surname first, this would make it Nakamoto Satoshi [sic] In Japanese , Nakamoto means "central origin", while Satoshi means "clear thinking, quick witted,, wise", i.e intelligent. The name can therefore be translated to mean "Central Inteligent"[END BLOCKQUOTE]

Mathematical speculation
In August 2012, Japanese mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki released several papers on the Internet, in which he solved the "ABC Conjecture," which a May 2013 article at Project Wordsworth described as "a famed, beguilingly simple number theory problem that had stumped mathematicians for decades."

 

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