Satoshi Nakamoto

The creator of Bitcoin, known by what is widely considered to be the pseudonymous moniker Satoshi Nakamoto, presented Bitcoin to the world as a white paper and then spent years shepherding and growing the project before slowly vanishing from the project without a word.

Based on Satoshi's original written missive on Bitcoin, published to the Metzdowd Cryptography Mailing List in October of 2008, it was seen that Satoshi carefully planned and coded the Bitcoin project and his own persona for a long period of time. Satoshi mentioned that the project had taken him years, and his work had begun around the year 2007.

From the start, Satoshi jealously guarded his anonymity. He was an unknown on the mailing list, and he used the free email services GMX and Vistomail for his correspondence and as registration for web services. IP logs of users who reportedly communicated with him indicated his constant use of the anonymizing Tor proxy service. When registering a profile, he indicated his birthdate as 1975 and his location as Japan, but no other evidence corroborates these statements.

Satoshi participated in various forums, indirectly revealing more about his habits and identity through common patterns. Analysis of his posting times helped suggest a resident of the Western Hemisphere. Despite his Japanese name, his postings were consistently in English and analysis of his word choices suggested someone possibly natively familiar with British parlance. Satoshi's style and presence on the cryptography mailing list and on other public forums bore no significant resemblance to other contributors. To register Bitcoin related domains, Satoshi used the anonymity providing registrar service AnonymousSpeech.

After releasing the Bitcoin white paper to the cryptography mailing list in 2008, in January of 2009 Satoshi followed up by releasing the initial Bitcoin software to mine and transact Bitcoin. Satoshi had been running the mining software privately for a short time, on a private network of several mining computers, but the initial Blockchain block was signed with the recent headline The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks, proving that the chain of blocks published were not mined far ahead of the public release. Although the Bitcoin project was not released in a direct reaction to the financial crisis the headline referred to, the selection of this headline suggested a possible tone to the project of providing an improved financial foundation to a global financial in turmoil.

Initially the project received little attention, beyond a core group of enthusiasts who took upon the project as a realization of a long running thread of creating a purely digital currency based on cryptography. In the first year or two of mining, Satoshi and the few early fans of the project conducted mostly mining and planning for an improved system, and promoted the project to build awareness. Mining was so uncompetitive that Satoshi was able to single-handedly mine around one million bitcoins, a figure which is known due to a misconfiguration in his mining setup which revealed a link between his block. Satoshi very rarely transacted using Bitcoin, only publishing a single public transaction to Hal Finney, one of the earliest and most vigorous supporters of the project, himself a creator of a similar earlier proposal.

Eventually Bitcoin started to achieve a small measure of critical mass, with development beyond Satoshi, sustaining communities of discussion, and the beginnings of commerce. By 2010, Satoshi's one million coins were beginning to become valuable, in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Satoshi began to divest himself of responsibility for the project, contributing less and less to the code and community, and distributing the early domains acquired for Bitcoin to well known community contributors. The key to the alert system for notifying of emergency upgrades was copied and sent to a range of trusted developers. Satoshi urged caution in growth of Bitcoin. He warned of remaining denial of service vulnerabilities. He pled for an avoidance of confrontation with legal authorities over donations to the WikiLeaks organization. Eventually, one day in 2010 people noticed he had ceased posting and emailing, and so Satoshi vanished from the scene, never to return.