The value of
online. It was released at a time of financial turmoil when trust in banks was at an all-time low and governments in the US and UK had begun quantitative easing – essentially printing money to stimulate the economy.
The price of gold was rising as investors looked for more stable places to store their wealth. As an alternative currency, Bitcoin required no faith in the politicians or financiers who had wrecked the economy.
Its predetermined release of units kept supply growing at a predictable rate. In the conclusion to Satoshi’s paper, he refers to the software developers as “we”, giving rise to suspicions that Bitcoin was created by a group of people, who were hiding their identities behind the Satoshi pseudonym.
The birth of a currency
The first version of the Bitcoin software was released in 2009 and only a few early adopters showed interest initially. Version 0.1 was forWindows only. It was compiled using Microsoft Visual Studio.
When analysed, the code behind the program was complex and well designed in some places and messy in others, leading to speculation that Satoshi was an academic with a lot of theoretical knowledge but not much experience.
He continued to make modifications to the Bitcoin software and post technical information on the Bitcoin Forum until his contact with the growing online community gradually began to fade. Almost all modifications to the source code of the software were done by Satoshi – he accepted contributions relatively rarely.
As his invention gained interest and traction, devotees began to speculate on his identity. Calling him simply Satoshi, they built a cult around him and discussed his true identity on internet message boards.
Someone noted that in Japanese Satoshi means “wise.” Another speculated that the name was made by taking letters from four global tech companies: SAmsung, TOSHIba, NAKAmichi, and MOTOrola. But it was doubtful that Satoshi was even Japanese. The English used in his first paper was precise and the spelling and grammar suggested he was British.
Other theories claimed that perhaps Satoshi was a subversive group of workers at a company or agency, such as Google or the National Security Agency.
Even Satoshi’s motives remained speculative, although many believe them to be political. In his first paper he criticised the banking system and left a reference to an article in The Times about a UK government banking bailout. Only once did his cold, businesslike facade drop, following calls for controversial website Wikileaks to accept Bitcoin donations.
A few days after his uncharacteristic outburst, Satoshi disappeared as unexpectedly as he’d appeared, posting a message to say that he was “moving on to other things”. Just before he left, he set up software developer Gavin Andresen, 46, as his successor by giving him access to the Bitcoin source code.
Several people have since analysed every speck of digital data Satoshi left behind to try to unlock the secret of his identity. By looking at the timeframes during which he posted messages, some believe he lived in Northern Europe. Others have exhaustively run the phrases and words he used through Google to find similar matches that might yield clues.
Several people have been named as likely contenders, but none have admitted to being the person behind the myth.
The mystery of Satoshi only fuels interest in the currency. Despite its recent fall, experts believe it will regain value and become a feasible alternative to real-world money. Some even predict that it may cause a global financial revolution. Whoever or whatever Satoshi Nakamoto is, it’s safe to assume he’ll be watching his creation with interest.
the Bitcoin has varied wildly in its short lifespan – from as little as 20 cents to a whopping $265