Who Invented Bitcoin?

The past two years have been a roller-coaster ride for Bitcoin investors as they went through cycles of bursts and crashes. The digital coin continues to attract more money as its value rises. The craze has not even neared its peak. What started as a little mysterious coin on the internet is now threatening even the oldest financial systems in the world. The odd part is we still don’t know who invented it! Possibly it was one of us humans, or aliens. Science fiction suggested time and again that aliens might destroy humans to protect other civilizations. Maybe, just maybe, they decided to first replace and crash our financial system. Doesn’t Bitcoin sound alien? It did before we got used to it, right? Well, evidence points the invention to humans, and we even have a name, “Satoshi Nakamoto!”

Elon Musk, one of the most confident and influential businessmen, the richest man alive, the Twitter majority shareholder, whimsical CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and much more thinks he has found something that may end the anonymity of Bitcoin’s founder. He says we should replace the pseudonym “Nakamoto” with a name of a well-known cryptographic expert, “Nick Szabo,” who is the actual inventor of Bitcoin, according to Elon.

Bitcoin Casino
Bitcoin Casino

Elon Musk, one of the most confident and influential businessmen, the richest man alive, the Twitter majority shareholder, whimsical CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and much more thinks he has found something that may end the anonymity of Bitcoin’s founder. He says we should replace the pseudonym “Nakamoto” with a name of a well-known cryptographic expert, “Nick Szabo,” who is the actual inventor of Bitcoin, according to Elon.

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,” This is Elon Musk speaking.

We don’t have a yes or no answer for Elon’s claims, but we know he has all the resources he needs to conduct any form of investigation, even on Mars. So let’s not argue with him until we get to his level. We will look into his claims later in this article. For now, we are going to share with you what we found out when we tried to search for the founder of Bitcoin. It’s gonna get really interesting. Get some popcorn!

Satoshi Nakamoto

Satoshi Nakamoto is our hypothesis. We’re not finding the inventor of Bitcoin if we lose Nakamoto. So we started by asking dAppGambl’s researchers to uncover all they could find about Satoshi, and we found a real person with that name. Yes, Satoshi Nakamoto is a man, aged 72 years, based in California but originally from Japan. He has a third name that you probably didn’t know about, “Dorian.” Oh, and he’s a retired engineer. Does that ring a bell? We could have stopped writing at this point because we found him! But this is where stuff gets complicated. Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto has made an official statement in the past denying that he invented our most beloved coin, Bitcoin. In fact, he said he didn’t have a clue about Bitcoin until his son mentioned it in 2014. So here is a new crypto coin that’s driving the world crazy, and then we have a poor old man being pressured to accept that he is the founder! This is crazy, right? A coincidence? We will find out.

How did we get convinced that Engineer Dorian might be in the dark regarding the founder of BTC, just like any of us? The internet estimated that the real Bitcoin Satoshi Nakamoto was born in 1975, which makes him 47 years old as of 2022. Of course, he never revealed personal information, but he once commented on his P2P platform that he was a 37 years old man living in Japan. That was in 2012. Engineer Dorian and the Satoshi we are looking for have a significant age gap of 25 years between them. That’s enough to let us know that this was pure coincidence. It’s okay to assume so because both of them have Japanese roots. So let’s allow Eng. Nakamoto to enjoy his retirement, as we proceed to look for the real Bitcoin founder.

So where did Bitcoin come from? (History)

Let’s take a different approach. The history of Bitcoin may get us close to our answers. Research shows that Bitcoin was an idea that sprung out of the 2008 great recession. This was a time when banks were shutting down with depositors’ money, creating distrust between the financial system and the people. Bitcoin’s white paper stated clearly that it would address the centralized control of money, mistrust between people and banks, and even privacy, by allowing transactions without sharing personal data. It further went ahead to explain how its blockchain would use cryptographic proof to ensure security and integrity within the networks, and there would be zero third-party intervention. A blockchain ledger would keep track of all transactions, just like financial institutions use ledgers. It would be a spread-out ledger across the entire Bitcoin network. Bitcoins would be mined by completing complex tasks, up to a maximum number of 21 million Bitcoins. The launching of this white paper named “Bitcoin”: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” to a cryptography mailing list on the 31st Oct 2008 gave Bitcoin life.

The Development of Bitcoin

Bitcoin was put to use as open-source software for the first time in 2009. It happened when Nakamoto, the founder, mined the first block, popularly known as the Genesis block. This block represented the first-ever 50 Bitcoins to be mined. Other early contributors to the blockchain joined in and started mining too. Bitcoin was being popularised on the net, but no one was using it as a currency because it had not yet acquired any economic value. It took up to 2010, for a programmer identified as Laszlo Hanyecz to initiate the first-ever recorded transaction of Bitcoin. Laszlo successfully, negotiated to buy Papa John’s pizza valued at $25 with 10,000 BTC, giving BTC its first value of 4BTC per penny. Two exchanges, Bitcoin Market and Mt. Gox were established in the same year, as well as the first major mining pool, Slush.

Fun Fact: Fast forward to today 22nd May is called Pizza day in honor of the 10,000 BTC sent by Laszlo Papa Hones. Papa Jones owns $400 M worth of BTC if they were never disposed of.

Bitcoin then started catching the attention of merchants and different traders across the globe and has since grown in value to tens of thousands of dollars. The first adopters of BTC were members of the black markets. They viewed BTC as the best way to move huge money without government interventions. Silk Road, one of the largest black market online marketplaces that existed at that time recorded over $10M transactions before it was shut down by the FBI in October 2013. Silk Road facilitated the trading of all kinds of legal and illegal items like weapons, hard drugs, murderers for hire, stolen credit card details, and even had a gambling section, with Bitcoin being the only currency allowed. The FBI, Europol, and central banks started raising concern that this digital coin was likely to facilitate illicit trade and even terrorism. Crypto regulations started emerging after the Silk Road saga, with China taking the lead. Bank of China banned financial institutions from using Bitcoin in 2013 and effected a total ban in 2017. Other countries like the US and the UK have been heard talking tough about crypto and have gone further to implement some policies on the same.

The growth of Bitcoin stalled after these events. Many people thought that governments would totally crash BTC leading to panic selling that halved the price of the digital asset. BTC has gone through several circles of highs and lows while maintaining a strong uptrend. As of writing this, the price was $36,241 with a record of peaking at highs of $67,000+.

How did Nakamoto create Bitcoin all by Himself?

Bitcoin’s main repository is made up of about 150,000 lines of C++ code. If we were to include every single function and documentation, we would count more than 1M lines of code. So how did one person manage to write such a heavy program? Bitcoin is open-source software. Nakamoto published it and invited interested parties to help in building it. This means that he did not write the entire program, but simply developed a shell that guided other contributors in creating it. Hal Finney, a game developer, is among the earliest enthusiasts who offered to mine the earliest blocks of the coin as Nakamoto was conducting tests. Finney who has attended many interviews has denied any allegations that he was the founder of Bitcoin but says that several programmers joined the project to help Nakamoto accomplish his goals. So this was collaborative work. Mike Hearn was the core developer working hand in hand with the rest of the team to keep BTC alive. Gavin Andresen who had reached out to Nakamoto in 2010 acted as his right-hand man and eventually took over as the core Bitcoin lead maintenance person. Finney wasn’t fortunate to live long enough to witness the growth of Bitcoin, He died in 2014 from a neurodegenerative disease.

Satoshi Nakamoto remained anonymous through all his interactions with the programmers that chose to join him. Nakamoto posted on the BitcoinTalk forum on December 13th, 2010, for the last time, and sent the last email to his lead developer Mike on April 23rd, 2011 before disappearing into obscurity. Bitcoin has however continued to grow and has already gone mainstream with hundreds of thousands of businesses across the world accepting it. El Salvador was the first country to recognize Bitcoin as a legal tender in June 2021. Other countries such as the US, UK, and Paraguay, allow their citizens to use BTC under certain regulatory frameworks. Hundreds of other cryptos have also mushroomed under the inspiration of Bitcoin.

5 People who Might have Invented Bitcoin

Craig Wright Craig Wright

Most of the people pinned down as the founders of Bitcoin have vehemently come out to deny it. But there is one bold man, Craig Wright, that claims he is the Satoshi Nakamoto we have been searching for. He’s even filed property rights claims over the original white paper and source code. Various journalists pointed reports to him back in 2015 with links indicating that he had talked about releasing a cryptocurrency in 2008. An email bearing Nakamoto’s name was also discovered to have Wright’s phone number.

A legal battle surrounding him would have confirmed if he really is Nakamoto. The computer scientist was recently battling a lawsuit filed by his former associate’s family David Kleiman. They claimed that Wright co-created BTC with David and therefore the court should compel him to surrender half of his $50billion plus worth of coins to the family. Wright escaped narrowly after the court ruled in his favor. He was fined $100 million for intellectual property theft from the entity he founded Kleiman but wasn’t compelled to transfer his BTC. The crypto community followed the proceedings of this suit closely because if lost the case, he would have had no option but to transfer half of the 1 million Bitcoins to Kleiman’s estate. Our search for the real Nakamoto would have come to an end. All hope is not lost though, this man might be glaring at another legal battle on forgery over his Satoshi Nakamoto claims.

Nick Szabo Nick Szabo

Let’s now look into Elon Musk’s claims. Why does he think Szabo is the creator of Bitcoin? Our research revealed that Nick Szabo isn’t just an ordinary man. He’s a computer engineer and legal scholar who has pioneered several blockchain concepts like the “smart contracts paper” back in 1996. He was a vivid supporter of the blockchain concepts and digital assets from as early as 20 years before the birth of the first crypto. One of his notable inventions in 1998 was Bit Gold, which shares a large number of similarities with Bitcoin. First, we have both names starting with “Bit,” and second, both Bit Gold and Bitcoin were created to execute transactions on the decentralized network. Bit Gold users would employ computer power to solve cryptic puzzles, similar to the Bitcoin mining process.

Elon Musk might be right after all. Looks like Bitcoin is just an upgrade of Bit Gold. Scholars from Aston University, in 2014, after analyzing the development journey of Szabo’s work in relation to certain distinct characteristics of Bitcoin also concluded that Szabo was behind the creation of the virtual asset. They also claimed that there are uncanny similarities in the linguistics of Bit Gold and Bitcoin white papers, along with other Szabo’s writings.

What does Szabo have to say about these claims? He has been quoted severally denying them. He points out that he laid a foundation that might have guided real Nakamoto in the creation of BTC, but he has no idea who created Bitcoin.

Elon musk Elon Musk

What if Elon’s Musk claims over Nick Szabo could just be a red herring to throw us off his trail? This man is a tech billionaire who never seems to run out of ideas. He is the CEO of many companies and has a history of raising successful products from grass to grace. He picked a shell of a company and created Tesla out of it. Did you also know that he was the brains behind PayPal? His inventions are unique and striking. He has been supporting cryptocurrencies and even hinted that some of his companies could soon start accepting Bitcoin. In fact, Tesla purchased a total of $1.5 worth of Bitcoins in 2021. Elon Musk once tweeted a photo that hinted at how the word Satoshi Nakamoto might have found life. This elicited heated debates on whether Elon could be the real Nakamoto. He later denied knowing the real origin of the crypto.

Gavin Andresen

Andresen was the international face behind Bitcoin. Though he has slowly become inactive, he was the main person behind the maintenance of the software from the early days. He could as well be the founder, but he has denied it. He says he emailed Nakamoto after learning about his project and was given a chance to be among the early contributors to Bitcoin’s code. He later became Nakamoto’s right-hand man, although they never interacted past the net. He describes Nakamoto as a kind and patient person according to the little relationship they had. Eventually, Satoshi handed over the project to Andresen as the lead maintenance programmer.

Hal Finney Hal Finney

Hal Finney was the first recipient of Bitcoin. So he either is the creator of it, or at least knows the real Nakamoto. Finney however denied knowing Nakamoto. Well, he knew him because they interacted online, but never got a chance to get his real identity. Finney was among the first people to learn about Bitcoin. Coincidentally, Finney once lived in the same town as Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto. This raises doubts about Dorian’s allegation that he had no idea about BTC until 2014. Finney passed away from ALS in 2014. Scholars say this explains why the 1 million coins held by Nakamoto have remained untouched for a long time. If Finney who was a Bitcoin advocate was the founder, we might really sadly never find Nakamoto as he might have taken this secret to the grave.

What if Craig Wright was the real inventor of BTC?

Wright is a successful business person, and he could be the real BTC creator as he claims. If it turns out that Wright is what we have been looking for, good for us. As of now, he has not convinced us yet. Owning $50 billion worth of BTC is a great deal. Only someone who was there at the beginning could be in control of such volumes. If this guy controls such a huge volume, he needs to prove that he has the actual control. There are possible ways out. First, Wright could prove that he is Nakamoto by attaching his PGP to a message showing his identity. PGP keys are unique to each user. Second, he could transfer BTC from its early creation to a new address since the 1.1 million BTC he owns are still visible on the blockchain. Only the real creator of Bitcoin can do that. Wright promised to provide “extraordinary proof” in 2016, but just days later he dishonoured that pledge on grounds that he wasn’t ready to break out of the Nakamoto mystery.

Conclusion

We still haven’t found the father of Bitcoin, so the search won’t stop. For now, we know that Nakamoto could be anyone. It could be our grandfather, uncle, brother, best friend, grandmother, who knows? We will come back with more info if we find any interesting hints, or better when we find the mystery BTC creator. On the other hand, we are waiting for self-proclaimed “Satoshi Nakamoto,” Craig Wright to prove that he is indeed the founder of this wonder-coin, otherwise everyone will think that he was crazy to make claims he can’t substantiate. Any other person who will ever come out claiming to be Nakamoto will have no option but to prove it. On the other hand, if Nakamoto has not disclosed himself over a decade after the launch of Bitcoin, then it’s possible that he may never do it.

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Eugene Abungana
Written by Eugene Abungana verified symbol Investment Analyst, Financial Analyst, and Institutional Trader
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Eugene is an investment analyst, MQL developer, financial trader and an expert in blockchain technology. He is a graduate in economics and holds additional studies in sustainable retirement investments. In addition, he has a background in literary journalism and experience in private fund management, institutional trading, and online broker setup. Eugene is a specialist at breaking down complex finance and investment topics into a simple read for everyone.

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Reviewed and Fact Checked by Kevin O'Brien , Web3 & DeFi Writer