Satoshi Nakamoto is inventor of the Bitcoin protocol, publishing a paper outlining it via the Cryptography Mailing List on November, 1 2008.
He then released the first version of the Bitcoin software client in 2009 and participated with others on the project via mailing lists until he finally began to fade from the community toward the end of 2010.
Nakamoto worked with people on the open source Bitcoin team but took care never to reveal anything personal about himself. The last anyone heard from him was in the spring of 2011, when he said that he had “moved on to other things”.
But he was Japanese, right?
“Satoshi” means “clear thinking, quick witted, wise”. “Naka” can mean “medium, inside or relationship”. “Moto” can mean “origin” or “foundation”.
Those things would all apply to the person who founded a movement by designing a clever algorithm. The problem, of course, is that each word has multiple possible meanings.
It is not known for sure whether Satoshi Nakamoto was Japanese or not. In fact, it’s rather presumptuous to assume that he was actually a ‘he’. Allowing for the fact that this could have been a pseudonym, ‘he’ could have been a ‘she’, or even a ‘they’.
Does anyone know who Nakamoto was?
No, but the detective techniques that people use when guessing are sometimes even more intriguing than the answer. The New Yorker’s Joshua Davis believed that Satoshi Nakamoto was Michael Clear, a graduate cryptography student at Dublin’s Trinity College.
He arrived at this conclusion by analyzing 80,000 words of Nakamoto’s online writings and searching for linguistic clues. He also suspected Finnish economic sociologist and former games developer Vili Lehdonvirta. Both have denied being Bitcoin’s inventor. Michael Clear publicly denied being Satoshi at the 2013 Web Summit.
Adam Penenberg at FastCompany argued instead that Nakamoto may actually have been three people: Neal King, Vladimir Oksman and Charles Bry. He figured this out by typing unique phrases from Nakamoto’s Bitcoin paper into Google to see if they were used anywhere else. One of them, “computationally impractical to reverse,” turned up in a patent application made by these three for updating and distributing encryption keys. The bitcoin.org domain name originally used by Satoshi to publish the paper had been registered three days after the patent application was filed. It was registered in Finland, and one of the patent authors had traveled there six months before the domain was registered. All of them deny it.
In any case, when bitcoin.org was registered on August 18th 2008, the registrant actually used a Japanese anonymous registration service and hosted it using a Japan-based ISP. The registration for the site was only transferred to Finland on May 18th 2011, which weakens the Finland theory somewhat. Others think that it was Martii Malmi, a developer living in Finland who has been involved…
Read more:Satoshi Nakamoto – CoinDesk