Every now and then, random people from the cryptocurrency space emerge and make claims about either being or knowing the Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto. It’s no secret that Satoshi has been elevated to a godlike status by many in the bitcoin community.
A following passage from the bible accurately describes some of these scammers who self-proclaim to be Satoshi:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.”
The scammer Craig S. Wright is one such example who profiteers from his forged status as Satoshi.
Recently news outlets related and unrelated to the blockchain world have covered the mysterious release of the Nakamoto Family Foundation website, where a mysterious book promises to have been written by the Bitcoin creator himself.
Yet we just can’t go on without asking some important questions about the reveal: Why would Satoshi create a separate website when he has access to a bitcointalk.org account? Why make the reveal now? And why is the information provided so stereotypical?
In 2016, Vitalik Buterin has used a similar approach to prove that the claims of Australian computer scientist Craig S. Wright are false. Pointing out that he hypothetically had the means to show the entire world that it was him who created Bitcoin but decided to make the reveal to just Gavin Andresen. Then rely on his authority as former Bitcoin Foundation president and Satoshi trustee to legitimize his position. Craig Wright had already stepped into the spotlight and pretended to be Satoshi, why would he not access his keys in public, make a small transaction from his wallet, or write a Bitcointalk.org post? And it all makes sense: if you want to look like an authority in any field, you need the endorsement of someone with a good reputation. That’s exactly what Craig Wright did.
In our case, we have somebody who created a website and compiled a series of stories and rumours about Satoshi Nakamoto: that the inventor is a Japanese teenager who picked the most typical name possible in order to create the equivalent of a John Smith, that Hal Finney was the only enthusiast who stuck with the project during its formative months and why the 21 million cap is actually the half of 42 (the answer to life, the universe, and everything).
If anyone spent a week researching the main people involved in the Bitcoin project and their relations, a similar story could have been written. And the fact that we are told that the book may or may not be published, while the public e-mail can possibly be read by Satoshi, only proves that everything is pure hype and a publicity stunt.
Proof of Fraud or Satoshi Fan Fiction?
If anything, the entire text can be described as fan fiction. It presents some technical details, creates connections between participants like Hal Finney, Mike Hearn, and Gavin Andresen, but ultimately falls short in terms of revealing the brilliance of the real Satoshi Nakamoto.
Furthermore, it’s hard to believe that a genius teenager from Japan could learn the economics and game theory dimensions that are embedded at the core of Bitcoin: everything from the incentives and rewards, and all the way to the concept of “it’s better to follow the rules than try to break them” it’s so brilliant that Nobel Prize laureates in economics would struggle to conceive. Satoshi’s invention is about much more than coding and cryptography: it’s a way of creating immutable, censorship-resistant money.
Computer scientists, cryptographers, economists, political scientists and philosophers all look at Bitcoin differently. It’s really hard to believe that a young mind, which might possess the means to amass huge amounts of theoretical information, can actually put into practice such a system. If anyone claimed that Nick Szabo and Hal Finney worked together on the project, it would have looked so much more credible because they both have a long history in the field and possess all the knowledge to create Bitcoin.
Even Vitalik Buterin who is considered by most a young genius got introduced to Bitcoin first and studied the writings of Nick Szabo on smart contracts before starting Ethereum. His work and innovations in the field are remarkable, yet he didn’t start from scratch and even his brilliant mind took much of its inspiration from Bitcoin.
Given these arguments and comparisons, I will go on and call the entire story “fan fiction”. It’s not a fraud per se because nobody came forward like Craig S. Wright did to reveal a true identity. Instead, the people behind this stunt have probably tested the reactions of the community and wish to raise some money for the Nakamoto Family Foundation website. But remember: unless a transfer gets made from Satoshi’s wallet or we see new posts on bitcointalk.org, we should take all claims as inconclusive.