Satoshi’s Smoking Gun
I’ve been doing quite a bit of research recently seeking to uncover the true identity of Bitcoin creator ‘Satoshi Nakamoto.’ Well it turns out someone has beat me to it. Author Nathaniel Popper has discovered Satoshi’s smoking gun: a 2008 blog post from Nick Szabo requesting help coding up an implementation of his idea for “Bit Gold.” If you take a look at the post on Szabo’s blog you’ll see that the post is dated after the release of the Bitcoin whitepaper, suggesting that this piece of evidence means little. But as Popper notes in a New York Times article, Decoding the Enigma of Satoshi Nakamoto and the Birth of Bitcoin, regarding his latest book, Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money, the date of Szabo’s post has been changed to make it appear as if it were published after the release of the Bitcoin whitepaper. By using the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, we can see that the post was actually published before the initial release of the Bitcoin software and Bitcoin whitepaper. Boom! Mystery solved.
Over the past couple months I’ve really been digging deep into the mystery of Satoshi Nakamoto. Szabo’s name came up quite often during my research but I always dismissed him as he (and Wei Dai) are clearly cited by Satoshi as inspiration behind Bitcoin. Why would Satoshi cite himself? Well the facts don’t lie. Szabo published a blog post roughly 4 months before the Bitcoin whitepaper was published requesting help coding up an implementation for Bit Gold and then later changed the date of the post to make it appear as if it had been published after the release of the Bitcoin whitepaper.
Now what we don’t know is: who did Szabo recruit to help him develop Bitcoin? Or maybe no one offered to help him so he just did it himself? So many questions! Well at least one thing is clear: Nick Szabo was likely involved with the development of Bitcoin as evidenced by the timing of his request for help developing an implementation of Bit Gold.