A connection between the late computer scientist, Hal Finney, and Dorian Nakamoto could hold the answer to the creator of Bitcoin’s identity.
The identity of Bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, has been the cause of much speculation since the cryptocurrency was created. This has especially been the case in recent weeks after Craig Wright claimed to be the man himself. An oft-overlooked connection between the late computer scientist, Hal Finney, and Dorian Nakamoto, born Satoshi, could hold the answer.
Hal Finney was a computer scientist and pre-Bitcoin cryptographic pioneer who was reportedly the first person, other than Satoshi Nakamoto, to use Bitcoin’s software, file bug reports, and make improvements. However, an acquaintance and co-blogger of Finney, Robin Hanson, supposed that was “at least” 15% sure that “Hal was more involved than he’s said”, though he later redacted these claims when new evidence arose.
Dorian Satoshi Nakamoto
While Forbes journalist, Andy Greenberg, was investigating the identity of Satoshi, it was discovered that a man by the name of Dorian Nakamoto, born Satoshi, was living only a few blocks from Finney. His family home was facing foreclosure by his bank and the retiree was swiftly becoming a victim of the harsh financial climate in the United States.
While Dorian himself was initially investigated as many had suggested that he himself could be Satoshi, these claims were swiftly dismissed when Satoshi vehemently denied his involvement:
“I have nothing to do with bitcoin. I never worked for the company, I don't know any people there, I never had a contract there or anything like that. I wasn't even aware of the product,” he said.
Reddit user, /u/TaleRecursion, sums up the theory very well:
“I think he [Dorian] is the real person after whom the Satoshi persona was named. The coincidence of having a Satoshi Nakamoto living 2 blocks away from Hal Finney's home is just too improbable to be ignored.
Hal and his cypherpunk counterparts intended for this old friendly retired man whose house had been foreclosed by banksters to be the symbolic figure behind the financial renaissance on behalf of all the victims of the modern financial system. Satoshi is Dorian and I think it's just fine that way.”
Of course, this is far from concrete proof, and by no means proves Finney is Satoshi, but at the very least, it is surely fair to conclude that if Finney isn’t Satoshi, he must have at least told the ‘real’ Satoshi about his neighbour, Dorian.
A man with such a unique name living so close? I don’t think so.
Furthermore, when Greenberg asked the writing analysis consultancy firm, Juola & Associates, to compare a sample of Finney’s writing to a known sample of Satoshi Nakamoto’s, they concluded that its resemblance was closer than any other beforeseen sample, including candidates suggested by Newsweek, Fast Company, The New Yorker, Ted Nelson, and Skye Grey.
Greenberg suggested that Finney may have been writing on behalf of the real Nakamoto, or was instead using Dorian’s identity as a “drop” or “patsy whose personal information is used to hide online exploits.”
Finney ≠ Satoshi
Surprisingly however, after Greenberg met Finney, and saw the supposed email conversation between Finney and Satoshi, along with his Bitcoin wallet’s history that contained the very first Bitcoin transaction from Satoshi to Finney, which he forgot to pay back, Greenberg resolved that Finney was telling the truth. In addition, Finney denied being Satoshi when questioned by Greenberg.
Moreover, when Juola & Associates analysed Satoshi’s emails to Finney, they found that they more closely resembled Satoshi’s other writings than Finney’s did.
As part of his extropian beliefs, Finney believed that in the future, technology will have advanced such that it will be possible for humans to live forever through a technological medium. When Finney passed away in Phoenix on 28th August 2014, he was cryopreserved by the Alcor Life Extension Foundation so that he could be ‘revived’ when the technology existed to allow him to continue living.
If this does eventually happen, and Finney is indeed ‘revived’, perhaps we will be able to put an end to the years-long debate over who Satoshi Nakamoto truly is, be that for the better or worse for Bitcoin.