The 10th anniversary of the whitepaper that sparked Bitcoin’s creation is fast approaching. The white paper, titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” was released in 2008. It would soon change everything.
Satoshi Nakamoto is the enigmatic figure that brought the idea of cryptocurrency to life through his work. His publication laid out a proposed solution to the problem of double-spending. Double-spending was, at the time, one of the most serious challenges to digital currencies. This is because digital information can be replicated relatively easily. Tackling this problem brought the crypto movement into reality.
The Story That Led To Bitcoin
There was always a risk that the holder of a digital token could make a copy of it. If so, they could then send the token as a means of payment, while holding onto the original. The traditional means of handling this problem required a third-party intermediary to verify transactions. This could be a bank or a payment processor. The need for this intermediary could only be removed by bringing cryptography into the picture. This is a problem that Bitcoin tackled as laid out in Nakamoto’s white paper.
Bitcoin contains a mechanism that avoids double-spending. The system is based on transaction logs that verify every transaction. This mechanism stops double-counting from happening without the need for a centralized structure or intermediary. This was the product of Satoshi’s genius.
Who Is Satoshi Nakamoto?
There has been a lot of speculation on the answer to this question over the years. While there has not yet been a definitive answer, there are a few big names in the crypto world that come to mind. There is also speculation that Satoshi is not just one person, but rather an entire group. Regardless, here are the crypto enthusiasts and entrepreneurs most often associated with Nakamoto.
Nick Szabo is one of the most popular names in crypto. The computer scientist came up with the idea of digital currency well before Bitcoin was launched. He invented “Bit Gold”, the predecessor to Bitcoin. However, his creation never became popular like Bitcoin because of the shortcomings listed above.
To his credit, Nick has never agreed to this idea, despite many people believing it to be true.
Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto
Later, a new name popped up in the search for the author of the white paper. Dorian Nakamoto, who goes by Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto, is a physicist and systems engineer. At the time of the speculation that this is the Nakamoto the world’s been looking for, Mr. Nakamoto had been laid off. Shortly after, Mr. Nakamoto denied all claims that he was the Nakamoto that brought Bitcoin into the world.
Hal Finney was already a long-time cryptographer before Bitcoin came around. He was also on the mailing list for the original Bitcoin white paper. At one point, Hal even claimed to be in contact with Satoshi in order to help him with testing. He even shared an alleged email that he had sent to Satoshi. This led many to believe that Hal actually is Satoshi Nakamoto.
Another “giveaway” is the similarity between Hal’s writing and the writing on the Bitcoin white paper. This may be a coincidence, but it may also support the theory that Satoshi is actually a few people. Hal was also one of the first people to be on the receiving end of a Bitcoin transaction.
How The Bitcoin White Paper Changed The World
In 2008, the white paper was sent to a cryptographic mailing list. That list contained all the right people who believed in decentralization. From then on, Bitcoin was set to change the world. The contents solved the most pressing challenges to cryptocurrency’s ascent.
After the white paper was released, Satoshi was heavily involved in the early days of Bitcoin. He created the proof-of-work protocol and immutable ledger that came to define Bitcoin. He worked on many aspects of the first version of the software. However, all this was done via electronic communication. No one ever met Satoshi in person, and there was never a face put to the name Satoshi Nakamoto.
All these accomplishments laid the groundwork for everything that has followed. The altcoins that followed made use of the same technology. They stood on the same groundwork and made changes to other less critical details.
In January 2018 the cryptocurrency market peaked at over $800 Billion. As we approach the 10th anniversary of the white paper that changed everything, the market is in an interesting place. The prices of most coins have fallen greatly, and the total market cap has stabilized around $200 Billion. Regardless, it is interesting to look back to the early days of crypto.
An Enigmatic Figure
The last known communication with Satoshi was in 2011. Satoshi was said to have reported that he was moving onto other things.
The lack of a face to Bitcoin is quite an interesting part of crypto’s history. Right now, Satoshi still holds over 1 million Bitcoins. This is out of the total 21 million that will ever be made available, meaning he holds 5% in the end. He holds a massive fortune, as well as the power to move the market if he so chooses.
The search for Satoshi Nakamoto continues, and it will be interesting to see what plans, if any, he has for his creation.