Ever since Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous inventor of Bitcoin (BTC), disappeared in 2011, there has been no shortage of theories about their identity.
Hal Finney, Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto, Nick Szabo and Craig Wright have all been cited as possible contenders (even if Wright is the main person pushing that last theory.)
Now, after months of research, Quantum Economics’ director of GameFi research, Gerald Votta, thinks that he has found the answer to Satoshi’s true identity: Canadian cryptographer James A. Donald. In a new research article published on Wednesday, Votta outlines intriguing circumstantial evidence he believes proves the link.
Donald was the very first person to comment on the Bitcoin white paper in 2008, which piqued Votta’s interest. Votta wrote that the “almost instantaneous” timing was “very suspicious” and led him to “look further into his [Donald’s] life.”
Votta explained to Cointelegraph:
“If you look at the timing, Donald comments like minutes after the Bitcoin White Paper is put up and asks such a specific question to Satoshi — How could you read the White Paper, analyze it, and come up with this amazing scaling question in like three minutes? It’s almost impossible.”
Votta wrote that Donald also fit the bill down to a T: “Not only did Donald have an advanced understanding of computers, programming, and cryptography, he was well versed in economics, history, and law. It would be his own words, however, which helped me connect him to Satoshi Nakamoto.”
This is not the first time the theory has come up. Back in 2014, a post by user Bruno Kucinskas on a online forum Bitcointalk also pointed to the same evidence about the speedy reply, sparking a debate. One user argued that the timestamp varies between different archives, and another suggested the time zones were different from those proposed, which would call into question the length of time between the post and the reply.
There is also the possibility that Satoshi and Donald spoke privately before posting the question and response publicly. Votta told Cointelegraph that he had read all these counterarguments but that his evidence “speaks for itself.” He noted that the website for Donald’s project Crypto Kong alone “is literally Bitcoin incarnate.”
Votta’s research delved into Crypto Kong, a software program that uses elliptic curve cryptography to sign documents electronically. “This particular program is eerily familiar to the foundational basis of Bitcoin,” he wrote, with Votta’s blog post delving into similarities between the information on the site and the white paper.
The Echeque website contains the details for Crypto Kong, and “echeque.com” was the domain of Donald’s email “email@example.com.” Donald emailed Satoshi from this address on at least one occasion, said Votta.
Adding to the evidence, on the main Crypto Kong page on the Echeque website, there is a minimized example of Kong on the right side of the screen, with a digital signature that matches the one sent to Satoshi Nakamoto, up to the thirty-fourth character.
So, why would Satoshi carry on a conversation with themself from two separate addresses if they were, in fact, Donald? In Votta’s opinion, this tactic was a ploy to “maintain anonymity and to spark contrarian view on Bitcoin.”
He also supports his claim with evidence gathered by analyzing the written language Satoshi employed. “[Donald’s] communications contained language that made me think of Satoshi,” he wrote.
He claims that Satoshi’s “excellent grasp of not only the English language, but also North American English,” means that he likely was born, grew up or studied either in the United States, United Kingdom or a former British colony.
For example, Satoshi uses the word “Chancellor” and the British spelling of the word “favour.”
Likewise, he was able to connect Satoshi to Donald through the peculiar use of the word “Chaumian.” Donald used the word in an email response about Digicash patents on Aug. 3, 2003, and Satoshi also used it in an email response on Feb. 11, 2009.
“With that, the mystery was solved. The odds of two individuals having these same credentials, a clear grasp of North American language and culture, and sharing almost the same White Paper is astronomically low,” said Votta.
Quantum Economics founder Mati Greenspan said that Gerard had been working on the research for months, along with Charles Bovaird, vice president of content, who “ensured proper research practices and information sourcing.”
The reaction since the post was published had been “outstanding,” he said.
“It’s by far one of our most popular research pieces to date and we’re still getting incredible feedback from industry vets.”