Max Hodl
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Max Hodl

The Great Satoshi Mystery

Is this why Satoshi has been silent for so long? And what could it mean for Bitcoin?

Many names have been put forward as the real identity of the creator of Bitcoin. None more infamous than Craig Wright. Other candidates for the creator of Bitcoin were, Wei Dai, Hal Finney, Nick Szabo or Dave Kleiman.
One name is commonly missed off this list, Julian Assange.

In this article I will present the case that Julian is Satoshi.

Satoshi, the white-paper & his hidden messages:
Use of British spelling & idioms in Bitcoin source code comments and Satoshis forum posts lead many to believe Satoshi is from the UK, Australia or somewhere else in the Commonwealth. A message referencing the UK Times newspaper was stored in the genesis block, it read

‘The Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks’

The white-paper, its references to other attempts at digital cash and the design and function of the Bitcoin network could be called, inherently libertarian, or even anarchistic. Assange described himself as an advocate of information transparency and market libertarianism in an interview in 2010 [0], these values are very close to those of the Bitcoin whitepaper & network.

Julian wrote the following about Bitcoin in an AMA on Reddit.

Bitcoin is an extremely important innovation, but not in the way most people think. Bitcoin’s real innovation is a globally verifiable proof of publishing at a certain time… The blockchain nails down history, breaking Orwell’s dictum of ‘He who controls the present controls the past and he who controls the past controls the future.’”

Assange & Craigs background:
In 1995, Assange got involved with Tim May, a respected member of the Cypherpunk movement and who in 1992 released the “Crypto Anarchist Manifesto.” The Cypherpunk movement brought out Assange’s distaste for centralised authorities. The WikiLeaks co-founder had ignited a discussion around digital cash in a series of comments in the movement.

Assange was a member of the Metzdowd Cryptography mailing list [1] , the place where the original Bitcoin white-paper was posted. However he did not participate in the initial or subsequent discussions of the paper. At least, he never participated using his real name.

Assange, like Craig grew up in Australia. They also both studied computer science & cryptography. They both subscribed to the Metzdowd mailing list. And the two have made public comments about each other. Craig said about Assange in a Medium post [2]

“I do not like Wikileaks, and I have never been a fan of Assange’s methods. More importantly, I am strongly opposed to criminal markets and bucket shops. Ross Ulbricht and others like him are criminals. They are not freedom fighters, they are not libertarians. They simply are predators, and they are all that Bitcoin was designed to make far more difficult.”

Wikileaks, rather unusually, responded to this article by Craig with a tweet stating

“Serial fabricator who claims to be inventor of Bitcoin, Craig S. Wright, now claims that Bitcoin was always pro-state and that he always worked for the prosecution, as he tries to raise money for business project and escape court action.”

This charged tweet was an odd move on Wikileaks part. Wikileaks followed up this tweet with another containing documentation from a GitHub repository called CultOfCraig [3] dedicated to documenting the time-line of his alleged forgeries, which WikiLeaks has independently verified. The fact it was hosted on GitHub suggests that the movement was started by programmers.

Wikileaks usage of Bitcoin & Satoshis disappearance:
Satoshi was a very timid character, not wanting the spotlight to be on the project ‘too soon’ he was wary of Wikileaks high-profile usage of Bitcoin for donations. and made this known in multiple messages about the publishing platform

“I make this appeal to WikiLeaks not to try to use Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a small beta community in its infancy. You would not stand to get more than pocket change, and the heat you would bring would likely destroy us at this stage.”

Satoshis penultimate message[5] before his disappearance said

“It would have been nice to get this attention in any other context. WikiLeaks has kicked the hornet’s nest, and the swarm is headed towards us.”.

Satoshi disappeared in 2010 and handed the network alert key and control of the code repositories to Gavin Andresen.

2010 was also a pivotal year for WikiLeaks and Assange. This was the year they published the information given to them by Chelsea Manning, the Iraq & Afgan war logs. The year they published the ‘collateral murder’ video. In November of that 2010 Sweden issued an international arrest warrant[6] for Assange & also in that month US Attorney-General Eric Holder said there was “an active, ongoing criminal investigation”[7] into WikiLeaks.

Could it be that this explains Satoshis ghostly exit from the project?

The implications & my conclusion:
As one of the United States most-wanted men, what would the implications for cryptocurrencies and the blockchain space be if Julian were Satoshi?

To be frank, at this stage there wouldn't be many, although Satoshi presented the original white-paper, many people worked on its inception, and then its design and promotion in the years following and as such they are all Satoshi.

Blockchain has been adopted by every large organisation, to name a few, all the big accounting companies like KPMG and Deloitte, tech companies like Facebook and Google, even countries, like China. The virus has spread. Regardless of who built Bitcoin, it is here to stay.

Sources and further reading:
[0] 2010 interview with Julian https://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2010/11/29/an-interview-with-wikileaks-julian-assange/

[1] Metzdowd Post by Satoshi http://www.metzdowd.com/pipermail/cryptography/2008-October/014810.html

[2] Craig Wright: Careful what you wish for — Medium post https://medium.com/@craig_10243/careful-what-you-wish-for-c7c2f19e6c4f

[3] CultOfCraig repository https://github.com/vbuterin/cult-of-craig

[4] Satoshis comments on Wikileaks https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1735.msg26999#msg26999

[5] Satoshis messages https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?action=profile;u=3;sa=showPosts;start=0

[6] NYT -Sweden Issues Warrant for WikiLeaks Founder https://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/19/world/europe/19assange.html

[7] BBC -Wikileaks: Barriers to possible US Assange prosecution https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11952817

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Max Hodl

Max Hodl

Don’t trust, verify. The cost of liberty is eternal vigilance to injustice upon it. When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty. maxhodl.com