On Satoshi

"I've been working on a new electronic cash system that's fully peer-to-peer, with no trusted third party."
- Satoshi Nakamoto <satoshi@vistomail.com> Fri Oct 31 14:10:00 EDT 2008

I'm irresistibly amazed at the technological marvel of Bitcoin.

As if the programmer of our simulation descended in their virtual creation with the name of Satoshi Nakamoto. They lived 2 human years, created something that will change the course of humanity, and then reascended back out our universe and into "reality".

The timeline is eerily elegant:

  • Aug 2008: bitcoin.org domain registration.
  • Oct 2008: Satoshi posts on cryptography@metzdowd.com one of the most legendary papers of all time, then titled: Bitcoin P2P e-cash paper
  • Jan 2009: Satoshi releases Bitcoin v0.1 on Sourceforge and mines the genesis block at January 3, 2009, 18:15:05 UTC.
  • Nov 2009: Satoshi creates the bitcointalk forum.
  • Dec 2010: The last we hear of Satoshi. Last active on bitcointalk on December 13, 2010. Same day of his final post on the bitcoin mailing list (Bitcoin 0.3.19 is released)

"The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks."
Satoshi's proof that the genesis block was mined no earlier than January 3, 2009.

Satoshi was probably male, and living in Japan. It has been claimed that when bitcoin.org was registered on August 18, 2008, the registrant used a Japanese anonymous registration service, and hosted it using a Japanese ISP.

Regarding the bitcoin code, it has been deemed by the community that his work resembles someone's with strong theoretical knowledge of cryptography, probably from the academia, rather than a software engineer.

Satoshi listed his birthdate as April 5, 1975. Probably a random date, but there is wide speculation as to what this date means. Remember, bitcoin conpiracy theory 101: Satoshi does nothing in random.

Regardless, according to that birthdate Satoshi would be 34 years old in 2009. His masterful knowledge of C++, cryptography and distributed concepts reveal only part of his genius. What he managed via Bitcoin is the use of existing technologies in such a way that he created something so radical that changed the journey of current technology. Eveyrbody in tech now talks about blockchain. The reason is the work of one person. He devoted -only- 2 years of his life for this.

It is, indeed, amazing that every technology Satoshi used as part to form Bitcoin existed for years. However, no one had thought to combine them is such a unique way; at least until then. Historically, it is common for minds at the forefront of human intelligence to discover the same new things independently. Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz independently discovered calculus at the same time, in the mid-17th century, a famous instance of the theory.

But, this is not the case for Bitcoin. No one seems to have been close, even though the impact of this technology is Brobdingnagian.

I secretly hope the real identity of Satoshi Nakamoto will never be known, thus leaving the story of how Bitcoin came to be, an actual legend.

"I would be surprised if 10 years from now we're not using electronic currency in some way, now that we know a way to do it that won't inevitably get dumbed down when the trusted third party gets cold feet."
- Satoshi Nakamoto <satoshi@vistomail.com> Fri Jan 16 11:03:14 EST 2009


References:

  1. The Complete Satoshi. Everything he wrote, for us to obsess over. https://satoshi.nakamotoinstitute.org/
  2. An excellent analysis of Bitcoin in respect to its shortcomings by the one and only, Gwern Branwen. http://www.gwern.net/Bitcoin-is-Worse-is-Better
  3. Domain history of bicoin.org by Security Trails. https://securitytrails.com/domain/bitcoin.org/history/a