I dream of Satoshi Nakamoto

bitcoin_license_plate“Satoshi Nakamoto” is the alias of the anonymous person who invented and published the protocol for Bitcoin. So far, no one knows for sure who it is, although attempts have been made to unmask the person (or people) by an analysis of their writing style and similar indicators. Now, in a blogpost, Sergio Demian Lerner has found a way to recognize coins mined by the same computer and has picked out the distinctive pattern of a certain individual who began mining almost from block one and continued mining at a consistent rate with regular restarts for a long time, without spending any of those coins.

This, he says, is Satoshi, and I applaud Sergio for this clever way to recognize an individual miner. Like Sergio, I am pleased that Satoshi’s fortune in Bitcoins is now apparently worth around $100 million USD. But Sergio also suggests that he expects this will lead to the unmasking of Satoshi once others track this to a Bitcoin somewhere which HAS been spent. (Bitcoin has many advantages, but it is NOT fully anonymous: in fact,  anyone can track a payment back to see which (anonymous) account it came from previously.)

I hope he is wrong about the unmasking. I prefer to imagine that Satoshi Nakamoto is living and working a normal job, still haunting cryptography boards in the evenings and on weekends, and occasionally checking the news to see how that Bitcoin thing is progressing. I imagine that someday, many years from now, when she dies her husband will open that envelope she left in the safe-deposit-box and it will contain a hard drive and stack of papers labeled “Now that I am gone, please publish this for the world to read.”

Okay, it’s just a romantic dream, but I’m hanging onto it as long as I can.


2 Responses to “I dream of Satoshi Nakamoto”

  1. Sergio Demian Lerner on 2013-04-18 10:00 am

    I also would prefer he could live a peaceful life. And I hope he manages to slip through the eyes of millions of Bitcoin users.

    But he left this trace, that sooner or later someone would find.

    I’m optimistic: if he is half the genius I think he is, he will find the way out of this labyrinth.

  2. Vance on 2013-05-24 8:11 am

    I loved this post. I think it really hits on the hope that comes withy mystery- none of us know who is the woman behind the mask and so we can dream of the person not as a regular flawed human but any kind of person we wish for them to be. This was a great way to start my day thank you for sharing your hope.

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