Far from believing the first email arriving into our offices, the email got us thinking deeper about the matter anyway, and the result is this article.
Chowdry’s Satoshi Nobel Nomination Proposal Didn’t Receive An Answer For Six Months
Chowdhry’s proposal of Satoshi for the Nobel Prize came several months ago, in June 2015, and he offered himself as a representative of Satoshi for the ceremony and prize delivery:
“He will most likely not appear in person and reveal his true identity given that he has chosen to remain anonymous all his life, to accept the award in Stockholm, Sweden in the formal ceremony in December. I would be happy to go and accept the Prize on his behalf. What about the acceptance speech? That won't be any problem either. He can write his speech, digitally sign it and send it to me securely. I would, of course, rehearse and deliver it on his behalf at the Prize ceremony.
Finally, there is the issue of the Prize money. No, I am not hoping to get the money just because I accept the award on his behalf and deliver his acceptance speech.”
But since his offer, Chowdry didn’t receive any answer in any form, as far as we know.
Email from Satoshi Nakamoto
The first thought we had after receiving the email was that it was a joke. But it could also be a form of retaliation, due to recent significant changes in the staff of Cointelegraph. We had a good laugh at first, but the email got us thinking deeper on the matter, and in the end we came up with the idea for this article: as we can’t be sure if the email is a hoax or authentic, we’ll make an examination of it, and see what comes out.
So, first things first, here is the email:
The Email Under The Microscope
The first thing that got me thinking is that this is not the first email stating that Satoshi is working on Ethereum now. This is the second time, I’ve read it at least once in another alleged Satoshi email published elsewhere.
Let’s start: the first line is already suspect.
If Bitcoin was created by a person, if most of its concept and realization goes to a single person, this person is a genius. But the author of the email says, in the opening line, that he is not hiding; he is in fact hiding, without any doubt. A bad error, for a genius.
Or maybe he is hiding under the spotlight? After all he’s a cryptographer. Clever.
Nobel Prize “Not A Priority” For Satoshi
The email proceeds to explain that the Nobel Prize is not his priority.
What is the big problem in “prioritizing” something else over the Nobel Prize? He doesn’t need to work on the Nobel Prize, he doesn’t need to do anything to get it, just allow his introduction to the Nobel Prize Commission and be there when it will be awarded. Or even better, just answer to Mr. Chowdhry and let him accept the award on his behalf.
We also notice some errors in the text, and these are not typos or the sort of errors a native english speaker would make: the author of this email is not an native english speaker.
So there’s another problem here, because texts from Satoshi Nakamoto during the development of Bitcoin were in perfect english.
Satoshi Working On The Ethereum Project?
The author then proceeds to state that his priority is to accelerate the Ethereum project. This is a very straight clue, and a dangerous one, for somebody that doesn’t want to expose himself. Not exactly a genius move if Satoshi Nakamoto is working at the Ethereum project. Could Satoshi be the founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin? We’ll get back to this point after the end of the email examination.
Bitcoin Objectives Misrepresented
Moving on, we read that another of his priorities is “liberating Bitcoin system from the greedy new elites to create opportunity for ordinary miners to get a chance to mine some Bitcoins.”
This got me thinking. If this email is a hoax, we must admit the hoaxer had an inspiration: going as far as saying that Bitcoin is not being mined by the common people, as it was originally conceived, is not something that could have come to the mind of many. On the other side, though, I don’t see elites mining Bitcoin; sure, large organizations are making a ton of money with mining, but they are just the ones that believed in Bitcoin years ago, just common people that believed in it and managed to gather the necessary funds to create mining facilities or create pool platforms for small miners. Satoshi would have anticipated that large investments would come, it’s inevitable when you deal with a technology that brings big money; big investors come in, sooner or later.
Bitcoin Not Invented For Criminal Use
The alleged Satoshi then talks about “Orphans Care International” for which he developed the technology in first place, and states that Bitcoin is being used the wrong way. He also blames “Dread Pirate Roberts” for hijacking “his” Bitcoin project. This is where the vision of the author really narrows down to a point that the email falls into the hoax pit.
Ross Ulbricht didn’t “steal” anything from Satoshi, he’s only one of the many that happened to be on the “criminal side” of the user base.
How could a genius like Satoshi, developing a cryptocurrency that requires considerable effort to trace down the origins of a transaction, not expect it to become a medium of exchange on the part of criminals and underground populations, on par with all other people?
That’s a very, VERY narrow vision, and it brings us back in the hoax direction.
What follows looks like the delirium of somebody exhausted by the situation. Or the hoaxer was out of inspiration.
Satoshi is disturbed by governments and secret agents. If they won’t leave Satoshi alone, he will abandon his project and “leave this evil people kill themselves with Nuclear Fonal Holocast.” Satoshi wanted to help the poor, but the greedy aliens annoyed him. Satoshi wishes he didn’t invent the blockchain, because it has ruined his life.
“Enough is enough.”
Ugh, that sounds like a menace. What could Satoshi do to us? Shut down all Bitcoin nodes?
However, even apart from the grammatical errors permeating the whole email, the last third of it really sounds fake and like nonsense. Nothing that any genius would write. We’ll let the readers decide how the email looks.
One Interesting Option
As mentioned in the beginning of the article, whether a hoax or the truth, the email got us thinking. One thing that came to our mind was that the person that created Bitcoin, if the project can be ascribed mostly to a single element, couldn’t stop producing innovative softwares and systems. He would still be active, and most probably active in the sphere of Bitcoin: cryptocurrencies. Brilliant minds like these cannot be stopped, they find pleasure in building and thinking, and such must be the one that generated Bitcoin.
This consideration brings us back to Vitalik Buterin: he’s the founder of Ethereum and as such, he’s a good candidate for the real identity of Satoshi Nakamoto, if we are to believe this email.
He was 6 years old when he moved to an english speaking country, and he is now 21 years old. But Vitalik does actually speak perfect english, as we can see in this recent interview. But there’s another catch: if Vitalik is Satoshi, he was around 15 years old when he completed the Bitcoin software. It’s not impossible; some kids can make your blood freeze in your veins when you see how much more than you their brains can do.
In the email, Satoshi talks about an orphanage organization: could a 15 year-old kid be so sensitive to such a theme to use so much of his time developing a technology to help the organization? It’s possible, but unlikely. I can’t recall what I was doing exactly when I was 15, but the preferred themes were surely girls and videogames.
On Vitalik’s About.me page another interesting fact can be found: he states that he went to university in 2012, “but quickly left in order to go on a six-month journey around the world and simultaneously engage in cryptocurrency-related projects on a full-time basis. The result of the journey was the idea behind Ethereum”. Bitcoin was well launched in 2012, word was spreading, and it surely didn’t need any more attention from its creator.
One of his remarkable statements, as far as 2013, is that “Bitcoin is a transition technology.”
Denials, But Still a Candidate
Vitalik, a “son of art” from programmer Dmitry Buterin, began his programming career quite early, when he began coding small games.
“When I was 10 I started off coding games in C++ using Allegro, starting off with simple bouncy ball simulations and then expanding to progressively more complex stuff like tower defense and space invaders; I would basically program games that I would then play and try to beat myself, and once I could beat one game I would make a new one.”
Vitalik’s entrance into the world of Bitcoin happened seven years later:
“I was 17 when I heard about it for the first time from my dad, who brought it up to me over dinner at some point; at first I rejected it, as it seemed like it had no intrinsic value and so no one would be willing to accept it. However, I then heard about it again online a few weeks later, and so I thought there might actually be something to it.”
Developing A Business Model At 17
“So then I promptly entered the bitcoin forums, and tried to find some way to earn bitcoins (as I had no money and no mining hardware at the time); eventually I found a guy who was willing to pay me 5 BTC (then $4) per article to write articles for a blog he was trying to start up. I did that for a while; eventually, despite paying me 15% minimum wage, the guy eventually ran out of money, so to keep earning more BTC I came up with a cool business model where I would write 2 articles a week, just publish the first paragraph of each one, and hold the rest "for ransom", only releasing it when people have donated 2-4 BTC to a given address. That actually worked and kept my income up for two months.
After that, Mihai Alisie sent me an email asking if I wanted to join a magazine he was starting, and the rest followed from there.”
Satoshi Is A Single Person, Between 30 And 50
Informed that Cointelegraph received an email from alleged Satoshi Nakamoto, stating that he works in the Ethereum project, Vitalik answered that he can’t confirm nor deny it:
“Well, I can neither confirm nor deny that statement. Actually, given that I can't confirm it, you probably logically infer that either it's false or Satoshi lost his private key. If real, it could be anyone in the team.
But for all I know, it could be you and you could be trying to divert the attention on me!
However, my view about Satoshi is quite mundane: he is a single person, aged between 30 and 50, and possibly even actually Japanese. Would be cool if she was a woman though.”
About the statement that “Bitcoin is only a transition technology”, Vitalik answered that when he made that statement, he was thinking in the 50-100 year timescale.
To the final question “are you Satoshi Nakamoto?” he answered straightforwardly:
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