The sudden death of John Nash, an icon of 20th century mathematics, has prompted speculation about his work on the concept of “money” and his possible role in the emergence of Bitcoin.
The Nobel prizewinner and his wife were killed in a taxi crash in New Jersey on Saturday.
Nash, who was 86, had had a distinguished career, perhaps more accurately defined as two career phases surrounding several decades battling mental illness. His breakthroughs in economics and mathematical theory are cited by many of his contemporaries as having changed the way of thinking in the field.
Following his seemingly accidental death, the nature of which poignantly jars with his life spent in pursuit of logic and reason, cryptocurrency commentators are considering the implications of Nash’s work for decentralized money. Parallels between Nash’s work and the creation of Bitcoin are being made frequently, while some even suggest Nash could be Satoshi Nakamoto himself.
Rumors which began on Bitcointalk last year focus on Nash’s theory of “ideal money” as a mechanism for supporting the generation of a decentralized cryptocurrency such as bitcoin. Bitcoin, users suggest, accurately fits the profile for a solution to central governments’ conflicting goals for their fiat currencies.
It has also been contemplated that the timeline of Nash’s own career is apt to present him as the creator of Bitcoin itself. One Bitcointalk user writes that “he got over his schizophrenia in the mid 1970’s by diving into computers, game theory and devising a perfect decentralized currency called ‘Ideal Money.’”
When asked directly about Bitcoin, however, Nash was less forthcoming. In a Q&A session following a speech at the Oxford Union debating society in Oxford, UK, Nash acknowledged the power behind Bitcoin, drawing in the roles of silver and gold over the ages, but did not consider its potential economic role in detail:
In what is perhaps a less savory reaction to Nash’s death, some Reddit members are accusing the National Security Agency, which tweeted about the event, of “foul play” and being otherwise implicated in the reportedly accidental crash.
“You're a fool if you don't believe there was foul play involved,” one user commented, while another wrote that the news “doesn't seem suspicious at all.”