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Who is Satoshi Nakamoto – Part I & II EverydayBitcoin.org

The article was originally published at EverydayBitcoin.org. Author Ben Saylor has joined our growing list of contributors and we will be running some of his older posts here. This two part blog is very timely with the recent news of Satoshi’s old email account being hacked.

Who is Satoshi Nakamoto – Part I

In 2008, someone using the pseudonym “Satoshi Nakamoto” published a paper proposing a new kind of digital currency that uses cryptography for security and a public ledger to eliminate the need for a central authority to prevent fraud.  He, she, or they (we’ll say “he” to respect Satoshi’s choice of a male name) were proposing a revolutionary concept that had never been tried before.  In January of 2009, Satoshi launched the Bitcoin network and we are now 5 years in.  Needless to say, his identity has become the subject of wild speculation.  I can think of 3 reasons why Satoshi’s identity might be of interest.

Genuine Curiosity

I will admit, it is super fascinating that a system that has the potential to transform finance in at least some areas of the world was created by a mystery man/woman/group.  There is bound to be some benevolent speculation about who Satoshi is.  It would be interesting to learn about his background, motivation, and life since the launch of Bitcoin.

Exploitation

Whether he is the target of more articles like Newsweek’s or of hackers who believe he has a lot of bitcoins ripe for the stealing, Satoshi would be a big target if his identity were public.  We already know from the Dorian Nakamoto blunder that even a relatively small amount of speculation and media hounding can profoundly damage the victim’s life.  If we were somehow able to confirm Satoshi’s real identity, I would do everything I could to draw attention away from him and give him privacy. But that probably won’t happen, because it seems like he’s smart.

Conspiracy

It’s no secret that the invention of Bitcoin threatens the powers that be.  Even if Bitcoin only achieved limited adoption around the world, its impact on society would be profound.  Some of the people who have the most to lose are the people with the money (bankers) and the people with the guns (politicians, who tend to be bought by the people with the money).  The Bitcoin network paves the way for the decentralization of currency, financial innovation, global economic activity, contracts, smart property, and a thousand other things that creative people will think of in the coming years. Needless to say, bankers/politicians have a vested interest in making sure Bitcoin’s impact is contained.  Imagine the fire that would rain down from these powerful people if Satoshi were identified.  Even Russia couldn’t save him! (Bitcoin threatens not only the American banking/political system, but that of the whole world).

Who is Satoshi Nakamoto – Part II

Several people have been “outed” as the true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto. Most of these people are computer scientists that I’ve never heard of. And of course there was the Newsweek fiasco about Dorian Nakamoto. Despite all of the uncertainty, Satoshi did leave some clues in his writing for us to sift through.  All of these clues come from his original white paper, emails, and his posts on cryptography and Bitcoin message boards.
Clues
  • Satoshi said in 2009 that he was a 37 year-old Japanese male
  • His paper is in English
  • He used British formatting
  • He uses two spaces after a period
  • There are occasional American spellings (either attempts to mask identity, or evidence of group of multinational individuals)
  • The code writing was elegant in some ways and inelegant in others (so I’m told)
  • His statements in blog posts imply political motivation

I gave these clues to a friend, who produced the sketch at the top of this post. We may be getting closer…

The most important thing to remember when considering the identity of Satoshi is that it doesn’t matter. Bitcoin is open source, transparent, and not a pyramid scheme with Satoshi at the top waiting to press a button to steal everyone’s bitcoins… The invention of a blockchain-based cryptocurrency is what really matters.  The sooner we treat the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto as an amusing side note instead of a witch (or wizard) hunt, and start focusing on implementing a financial system that can 1) take away power from people who would presume they have the right to rule over others and 2) improve the lives of billions of people, the better.

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Cleaning Up Satoshi Forest

As mentioned in previous posts, Jason King is the founder of Sean’s Outpost, a homeless outreach center in Pensacola, FL. So far, Sean’s Outpost has fed 20,000 people through donations. Hold up, let me say that again, 20,000 people have been fed with Bitcoin donations. Simply amazing. With the help of the generous Bitcoin community, he also acquired nine acres of property that will be used as a homeless sanctuary. The landlord is even allowing him to pay for the property in Bitcoin.

Jason named the property Satoshi Forest in honor of the mysterious creator of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto. His vision for the land incorporates permaculture techniques of gardening, food forestry, aquaponics, a kitchen area to prepare meals, and paying the homeless in Bitcoin to build their own portable small homes situated on trailer hitches. There has never been anything like Satoshi Forest in Pensacola, so this is groundbreaking for the homeless community here; who was left to struggle even more after a panhandling ordinance passed outlawing homelessness. Satoshi Forest will also be a self-sustaining crypto-community. The Forest backs up to water, which will be useful for self-sufficiency, and plans for a stage will provide a unique venue for events and speakers on a variety of educational topics.

This past weekend, I got a sneak peek at the property and helped with cleaning up. We probably covered maybe a quarter of an acre between six people, and much work still needs to be done, but the experience was an exciting one and the difference afterwards was noticeable. From old carpets trapped by roots to the ground to snakes to a beautiful but pesky kudzu invasion, we encountered some interesting items during the clean-up. Ever the klutz, I discovered a bucket containing a wasp nest covered with dozens of wasps, but escaped right before they were able to swarm (luckily it was chilly and they were slowed from their usual velocity). Later, Jason contained and triple bagged the wasp nest which we joked no doubt could have been a useful tool for some uncivil disobedience, but alas, we lacked the time and had to press on.

The weather was agreeable for the work being done, and my husband Joseph scaled a large tree covered with the invasive kudzu. Although the vine covered most of the tree and surrounding area, Joseph, Jason, Adam, and Jesse were able to successfully take much of it down. I spent much of my time in shadier sections collecting various pieces of trash and rotted wood, using loppers to clear my way through some of the thicker parts and brushing off spiders and stickers. Aside from a couple scratches, we made it to lunch unscathed. While we had to leave early for a wedding, Jason and the others stayed behind to work more. There are still nine acres to cover and any additional help is appreciated. You can donate to Sean’s Outpost here: http://seansoutpost.com/donate/

Coming up this weekend, Jason will be holding a Satoshi Forest camp out to celebrate the five year anniversary of Satoshi’s paper Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System, which laid out the concept of Bitcoin. There will be food and ample room for camping and you can RSVP by sending an email to SeansOutpost@gmail.com. Please come join us for what will be the beginning of an autonomous community in Pensacola fueled by Bitcoin! I’ll be publishing a write up of my experience there next week.

Here’s some pictures Jason took of the clean up:

Original content by Meghan, copyleft, tips welcome