This is a first in our series exploring some of the revolutionaries in the blockchain space and those deserving consideration on the mythical Blockchain Mt. Rushmore. Today we profile Satoshi Nakamoto.
Okay, so we’re building up the Blockchain Mt. Rushmore, and we start with someone who:
- No one knows.
Satoshi Nakamoto is a mythical figure in blockchain and cryptocurrency circles. While there is rampant speculation on who he (or she or they) might be, nothing definitive has ever been nailed down. Theories range from him being a young hot-shot Japanese programmer to a curmudgeony old Brit to a secretive group of Americans/Europeans to a deity sent down to save us from ourselves (and banks, of course).
A piece in the Economist, dated November 2, 2015, sums the legion of theories up best:
Most books on bitcoin feature a lengthy chapter about who Mr. Nakamoto may be. Each has its own theory, often based on the same sources. Some locate him in Britain (because of his use of Britishisms, such as “bloody hard”). Others reckon he is somewhere in the eastern parts of the Americas (because of the timestamps on his e-mails). He has been variously identified as a Finnish sociologist, a Japanese mathematician, and an Irish student.
The names mentioned most often are Nick Szabo and Hal Finney, two American cryptographers, but the former denies it and the latter died in 2014. In March last year Newsweek, a magazine, identified a man living in California, named Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, as the real Nakamoto—which turned out to be an embarrassing (and predictable) canard. Then there is the argument that Mr. Nakamoto’s bitcoin code is so good that it must have been written by more than one person.
As we’ve never seen Satoshi’s face, we may just have to chisel the bitcoin logo as our first “face” up on the Blockchain Mt. Rushmore.
The Creator of Bitcoin
It was Satoshi’s white paper in October of 2008 that laid out the vision for what today is a bustling cryptocurrency market. The paper, titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” was released just before the first units of cryptocurrency, bitcoins, were released.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Bitcoin was not necessarily his (or her or their) key development. Satoshi is widely credited with developing the first blockchain, and as such, is the father (or mother or founding group? Whatever, you get it) of the technology.
The Builder of Blockchain
The first mined block includes a passage that reads, ‘The Times 3 January 2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks’ a reference to a headline in the The Times of January 3, 2009. This likely means that the technology was first released, and the first block mined, no earlier than this date.
Uniquely, that first block is the only block in the blockchain with no previous block to reference. In order to be mined, it required the use of custom code.
As the inventor of bitcoin, Satoshi sits on a pile of the cryptocurrency. Public logs show his known address carry a cache of about 1 million bitcoins, valued today in excess of $6 billion. The vast majority of this store of bitcoin has not been spent. This means if it does belong to a single individual, it would make the owner one of the richest people on the planet.
And more than deserving of a spot on our Blockchain Mt. Rushmore.
Check back weekly as we reveal a new members of our Blockchain Mt. Rushmore. If you have a beef with our choices, don’t hesitate to hit us up in the comments!