Ever since Bitcoin gained worldwide attention, several camps have made a significant effort to seek out Satoshi Nakamoto - the asset's creator. Beyond what we know about Bitcoin and a few other clues, no one actually knows a thing about the leading cryptocurrency's eponymous creator.
For all we know, Satoshi Nakamoto could very well not be the name of Bitcoin's creator. It could be a man, a woman, or even a group of people, choosing to be called "Satoshi Nakamoto" for their safety and privacy.
Still, the search has been on for the past few years, with everyone looking to find Satoshi and understand who he (or she, or they) could have been. These searches have yielded some fruit, but the latest one could be the most significant.
A Nonce in Satoshi's Block Holdings
Recently, bitcointalk.org, one of the most famous online forums dedicated to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency matters, came alive with a theory on who Satoshi Nakamoto might be. The theory played on the well-known fact that Nakamoto had mined Bitcoin, acquiring between 750,000 to 1.1 million BTC in personal funds.
Several news sources have reported about Satoshi's stash of Bitcoin. However, a particular one from Bitcoin News reported in April 2019 that Sergio Demian Lerner, the Chief Scientist at top blockchain and smart contract development company RSK Labs, had made some findings concerning Satoshi's Bitcoin stash.
As far back as 2013, Lerner claimed in a blog post that he had found a "nonce" field in the blocks known as the "Patoshi" pattern. Essentially, a nonce (short for "number only used once) is a 32-bit field or a unique value that is part of a mined block.
The Treasure Hunt
After much research and analysis, Lerner had come to some conclusions. First, he believed that there were irregularities in Satoshi's block holdings, which suggested that the Bitcoin creator had been mining using something "very different from a PC." If that is true, then it could have been that Satoshi had long understood the significance of ASICs in mining, and he had gotten on the trend before anyone else.
Lerner also hypothesized that Satoshi could have discovered a fundamental flaw in SHA-2, the mining algorithm that Bitcoin uses.
The third hypothesis was that Satoshi could have left a message in these nonces. This hypothesis particularly caught fire among the forum members, as they believed that Satoshi could have indeed been leaving a message in his nonce.
Some have even left clues as to what could really have been Satoshi's meaning. Others have tried to reach out to Satoshi for clarity in the interim. In June 2019, a formula account known as "Threadsupport" wrote an open letter to Satoshi, asking if he had truly organized a "Bitcoin prize competition" for enthusiasts.
"We think that you have created a bitcoin prize competition and that the private keys are somehow within the blockchain. We are trying to solve it and will move the rewarding coins. If you want to add something to that statement, please don't hesitate," the account's user wrote at the time.
The Race to Find Satoshi Kanamoto
That said, there have been several efforts to discover Satoshi Nakamoto. Over the past few years, some people have either come out to identify as Nakamoto. Or, they have been inked by others.
Most notable among the Nakamoto inks has been Craig Wright - an Australian computer scientist and the head of blockchain firm nChain. In 2015, Wired Magazine shared an article on Wright, claiming that it had extensive evidence that the scientist was truly Satoshi Nakamoto.
The news medium's evidence revolved primarily around a "cryptocurrency paper" on Wright's blog published a few months before the first sighting of the Bitcoin whitepaper. There were also some leaked emails and correspondence between Wright and his attorney that referenced a "peer-to-peer distributed ledger," as well as leaked transcripts that showed Wright claiming to have done his best to hide the fact that he ran Bitcoin since 2009.
Soon after, however, the stories were cast in doubt. Wired eventually published an updated story claiming that the evidence in Wright's story was inconclusive. The new article pointed to several inconsistencies in Wright's report, adding that there was no definitive proof that the computer scientist was indeed Satoshi.
Despite the story, Wright has been committed in his claims that he is indeed Satoshi. The computer scientist has sued detractors, and he has essentially become somewhat infamous in the crypto industry due to his consistent claims of being Satoshi.
Wright eventually led a hard fork of Bitcoin, launching Bitcoin SV (short for "Bitcoin Satoshi Version"). The asset has been controversial, to say the least, primarily due to Wright's litigious nature and penchant for suing people who don't seem to agree with him.
Szabo is a legal scholar and a computer engineer. He is primarily credited with developing smart contracts - something he built in 1996.
In 2008, Szabo built a decentralized digital currency known as Bit Gold. In his description, Szabo claimed that Bit Gold was a "protocol whereby unforgeable costly bits could be created online with minimal dependence on trusted third parties." The concept is significantly similar to Bitcoin, where several bits created by a network of computers can make value and process transactions without a designated leader.
The links between Szabo and Nakamoto aren't quite extensive. Still, he is one of the few men thought to be Satoshi - or, at the very least, he could have been instrumental in Bitcoin's creation.