No one really knows who Satoshi Nakamoto is, but last March, Newsweek published an article by Leah McGrath Goodman claiming to have finally identified the creator of Bitcoin. Goodman identified him as one Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, yet this man quickly denied that he was the ‘brains’ behind Bitcoin, saying that he had no idea what Bitcoin even was was until February 2014 when Goodman got in touch with him.
To say that the Bitcoin community at large was mostly unimpressed with Newsweek’s claims, is underselling the magnitude of the backlash to the article. As I pointed out after the story ran to print, there was literally no conclusive evidence presented to link Dorian with Satoshi Nakamoto. Despite further evidence to the contrary, Newsweek to this day insists that what it published was real and accurate.
Why is a case of mistaken identity worth so much recompense and outpouring of concern from the Bitcoin community? There are several reasons; perhaps the most important is the prevailing opinion of the Newsweek piece as well as many ill-informed members of the general public that Bitcoin is somehow illegal, and Satoshi Nakamoto isn’t an innovator, but a culprit to be caught.
Beyond that, Satoshi himself talked a lot about the value of privacy, and values his own privacy so much that at the peak of the China bitcoin bubble valuation sat on top of over a billion in liquid assets. Assuming that Satoshi still has access to his fortune (and hasn’t destroyed the private keys), his privacy is so valuable to him, he’d forgo a billion dollars in liquid assets. The world can see Satoshi’s wallet. Assuming the private keys still exist, all his assets are liquid.
Due to Newsweek’s claims, Dorian has been hounded by the media to get his side of the story. Journalists have been desperate to pound him with more questions regarding the cryptocurrency he allegedly pioneered. The attention he received was so overwhelming, that he had to hire a lawyer to defend himself and prove that he is not the man behind Bitcoin.
Though Dorian has explicitly stated he has no involvement in Bitcoin, that’s not entirely accurate any more.
On Tuesday, Dorian, along with Blockchain chief security officer Andreas Antonopoulos, appeared in a YouTube video to once again clear his name and thank the Bitcoin community for its support. Antonopoulos started a fundraiser for Dorain to assist him financially throughout his ordeal. With the support of the Bitcoin community, they were able to raise 47.92501973 BTC, which amounts to about $23,000 for Dorian.
In the video, Dorian reiterated that he is not Satoshi Nakamoto and pointed out that if he were behind the cryptocurrency, he would not have used his real name.
“I’m very thankful for all you people in US, Europe, in Asia, in Africa, in South America who supported me throughout. Thank you very much. I want to hug you, these 2,000 of you who donated and I’m very happy each one gives me a tick in my heart,” Dorian stated.
He went on to say that because of the donation, he will now be part of the Bitcoin community and will contribute to the community, even a little part, to make the world better.
Watch full video here:
“Doxxing” Satoshi is a bit of a bloodsport for those in the Bitcoin community, and almost every time a serious attempt at finding Satoshi, it’s uniformly met with the same derision. As a whole, the community, while intensely fascinated with his philosophy and motivations, wants his wish for privacy to be respected.
Satoshi Nakamoto’s disappearance from the Bitcoin community may have actually contributed to the cryptocurrency’s to success. The Bitcoin protocol cannot be changed unless everyone in the core developer group as well as the mining community agrees to it. If Satoshi Nakamoto stuck around, his cult of personality could swing others to agree to changes, effectively creating a single, central point of failure of Bitcoin (it’s number one strength). By abdicating his throne, changes in Bitcoin won’t be enacted unilaterally.