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I Know Who Satoshi Nakamoto Is

Searching for Satoshi

Who created Bitcoin? Image by Tarik Haiga on Unsplash

I know who Satoshi Nakamoto is. You are probably saying “sure, sure, we’ve never heard that one before.” However, before you throw me in the volcano, hear me out. I assure you, that after we make this deep dive into Satoshi’s mind, the evidence might not be sufficient for a court of law, but it certainly adds another candidate to the short list.

But if you ask me, I know who Satoshi is.

My Bitcoin journey started in 2016, and subsequently thereafter, I read the white paper. Over the next five years, I would read it several more times. It was on this occasion that I had started to notice a distinctive linguistic pattern. As someone who has lived on both coasts, I pride myself on having a sizable database of common words and colloquialisms from all over the U.S. and the globe.

It all started a few months ago, when my boss Mati Greenspan and I were in a Twitter Spaces. I had mentioned that I was finishing up reading the book “Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal and Redemption” by Ben Mezrich. The book mentions Satoshi dozens and dozens of times. I had stated to the group that a new book with Satoshi’s gleanings had come out some months back, and I asked whether “anyone knew the title?”

With that, Greenspan chimed in, stating “Gerald you can go to the Satoshi Nakamoto Institute.org.” I quickly grabbed a pen and scribbled it down so I could feast on more data.

I pointed out to the group that the message in the genesis block was clear, and that Satoshi had an excellent grasp of not only the English language, but also North American English.

Here’s the message:

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

There are two big clues right here; one, that he uses the term “chancellor,” and two, that it is a direct quote from the London Times!

Obviously, the term “chancellor” can mean several things: the president or chief administrator of a college or university, head of the government, or in this case the chancellor of the Exchequer, who is in charge of “Her Majesty’s Treasury.” This is how I decoded the identity of Satoshi using etymology, it was as simple as one word!

So let’s begin! I started with the premise that Satoshi was either a British/American citizen or was raised in a British territory, with possibly American or North American collegiate credentials. My second premise was that Satoshi was a “super genius,” a Leonardo Da Vinci or Nikola Tesla who once every couple hundred years blesses us with godly knowledge of the universe to share and then is cast aside as a pariah for years to come until their vision is known.

He would need to have degrees or a deep understanding of computer science, law, mathematics, economics, cryptography and game theory, to name a few. To my earlier thought, I want to point out that I never saw the Wikipedia posts suggesting that Satoshi might have British roots until I started conducting my latest research on this particular subject.

So I had to dig a little deeper so I could find data points to prove my theory, and low and behold, after about an hour of reading through almost all the Satoshi quotes, there it was. I had found it, in a response that said:

He ought to find it more profitable to play by the rules, such rules that favour him with more new coins than everyone else combined…”

There it was, Satoshi was using a distinctly British spelling of the word “favour.” Just like that, the game was afoot. I had a positive data point from a response written by Satoshi himself. After about three hours, I had read through roughly 90% of the material on the site, and I was starting to branch out to other documents that were readily available to me.

One place I looked for potential candidates was the so-called “PayPal Mafia,” a group of former PayPal employees and founders who have since gone on to create additional technology companies. Many struck me as candidates because of their skillset and desire to create digital money. I went through their backgrounds and started to cross them off one by one. I was eventually left with two names from this group, Elon Musk and Ed Ho.

I also considered Adam Back and Hal Finney, two prominent cryptographers who at the very least had some of the qualifications needed to be the creator of Bitcoin. These individuals, who have repeatedly appeared on short lists as potentially being Satoshi, were immediately eliminated as possibilities because Finney was American and Back was directly referenced in the Bitcoin white paper.

Further, Back’s digital currency project Hashcash is directly referenced by Satoshi as a model. Satoshi liked privacy, and both of these gentlemen, who contributed to the creation of Bitcoin, were both very public individuals.

At this point, I added two individuals for consideration, a developer named Ronan Assia, one of the founders of eToro, who stood out because of his programming and education, and a cryptographer from Canada named James A Donald, whose communications contained language that made me think of Satoshi.

As a result, the list narrowed to four individuals, including Elon Musk, Ed Ho, Assia and Donald. I quickly did some research on Ho, he went to the University Of Illinois and was technically gifted. However, he was crossed off the list, since he served as the CTO of a company called mSpot between 2004 and 2013, a period that includes the time when Bitcoin came into existence.

In this next section I eliminate Musk and Assia in one fell swoop.

Donald was also the first to comment on the Bitcoin white paper in 2008. The timing was very suspicious, it was almost instantaneous, and led me to look further into his life. Below, I have outlined an email response Donald wrote involving digicash patents on Aug. 03, 2003.

. . .arbitration is still universally loathed. If your business model sticks you performing arbitration, you find yourself up against the credit card companies, the eight hundred pound gorilla of arbitration, who do it well, and cheaper than you can. This provides a strong argument for making your payment service truly irreversible, that is to say Chaumian.

Donald brings up the term “Chaumian,” emphasizing the importance of immutability. Then at the end of this comment, he uses his very own digital signature to sign this statement. To say I found this very, very, unique is an understatement.

So what? The tech has been around for years. No biggie, right? This is where the evidence starts to pile up and become so overwhelming that the data starts to collate into a “mountain of documentation”!

One place in particular that held some great information was the echeque website, which contains the details of 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.

However, before we delve into what lies at the “echeque” website and how it connects the two individuals, I would like to explore an email from Satoshi that sounds eerily similar to that last one from Donald.

It’s an email response from Satoshi, which also uses the term “chaumian”:

Could be. They’re talking about the old Chaumian central mint stuff, but maybe only because that was the only thing available. Maybe they would be interested in going in a new direction.

After a few more clicks down the rabbit hole, we discover two pieces of vital information, one email from Satoshi and another from Donald, which came from the email james@echeque.com, and it is here that I found all the evidence that I needed!

The echeque website, which happens to be the domain of Donald’s email, contains a “Smaug”-sized treasure trove of data that connects the two individuals. It also helps show the similarities between their very unique linguistic patterns.

Let me point out that echeck is short for “electronic check,” which this website spells as “cheque,” not “check,” therefore spelling it in a distinctly European/British way.

After you arrive at the site, it looks like any other website pre-javascript, a static page with some bullet points that are hyperlinked. When you dig a little further, you find some interesting things. As someone who loves to research, the quote from Lord of the Rings “So it begins” rings through my mind.

As stated previously, the echeque website contains a lot of information on the software program Crypto Kong, which was released in November 2001. Interestingly enough, this is a time frame similar to when the Bitcoin white paper was released seven years later.

Under the section, “What Kong Does,” the website states the following:

It digitally signs a document” “using a secret (a secret file, or a secret passphrase, or both). It will decipher a document encrypted to your signature. The people you communicate with do not have, or need to have, your secret. What one man knows, nobody knows, what two men know, everyone knows.

At this point, I want to quickly note this was written several years ago, and it sounds very familiar to section 12 of the Bitcoin White Paper, which is titled “Conclusion.”

Anyways, let’s venture further into “Smaug’s Lair”!

Kong keeps track of your secrets and signatures, and stores signed documents for signature comparisons,” the “What Kong Does” section of the echeque website adds. “Kong can tell if two documents supposedly signed by the same person were both signed using the same secret, and thus by the same person, even though it does not know that person’s secret.

After reading this, you may well ask: “How can Kong tell that two documents were signed using the same secret if it does not know that secret? And how can Kong encrypt a document so that only the possessor of a certain secret can decrypt it, if it does not know that secret?”

“The short answer is that the line in the signature that follows your name contains information about the secret, but is not itself the secret. It is generated from the secret using a one way function. That line is called the public key,” the “How Kong works” section indicates.

“The two lines that look different in each signature must agree both with the document and with the public key,” the aforementioned part of the website added. “That is to say they should have certain mathematical properties that relate the public key to the particular document. Only a person who knows the secret key can create a signature that agrees both with the public key and with the document.”

“Thus if the signature agrees with the document, then the document has not been changed since the possessor of the secret corresponding to the public key signed it, and if two documents have the same public key and valid signatures, then they were signed using the same secret, and thus presumably signed by the same person,” the section continues. “We encrypt a document using the public key, and only the secret key can decrypt it.”

The “How Kong works” part of the website then sheds further light on the subject by harnessing mathematics. The passage below provides an explanation.

Kong uses elliptic curves to sign and encrypt documents. Elliptic points can similarly be used to provide anonymous internet money.

One can construct a third point on an elliptic curve from any two other points. This operation is commutative and associative, so we will call it addition, even though it is not addition, and we will use the plus sign for it. (In fact this operation is not mere addition, it involves several multiplications and additions modulo various quantities that thoroughly scramble the bits of the points together.)

If P, Q, and R, are points on an elliptic curve, then P+Q = Q+P, and (P+Q) + R = P + (Q+R)

What mathematicians call an elliptic curve is not part of an ellipse, and it is usually not a curve. We are using discrete elliptic curves, which are like modular integer arithmetic.

“Because of associativity, we can efficiently add a point to itself a very large number of times. This means we can efficiently multiply elliptic curve points by ordinary numbers. For example 40*P can be efficiently calculated as follows

2P = P + P

4P = 2P + 2P

8P = 4P + 4P

16P = 8P + 8P

32P = 16P + 16P

40P = 32P + 8P

This requires only six additions, not 40 additions. This gets more interesting if we multiply by enormous numbers.

For example, if we multiply by a trillion, we only need about sixty additions, not a trillion additions. So if we use very large numbers, much much larger than a trillion, multiplication is a one way operation.

If P is an elliptic curve point, and n is a large integer, and Q = n*P, then the attacker who is given P and Q cannot discover n. The order of the curve used by Crypto Kong is slightly more than 2240, thus to discover n the attacker would need to perform about 2120 additions of elliptic curve points, which is around one billion billion billion billion additions.

So for our crypto system, we choose a certain elliptic curve, and a certain point on that elliptic curve, which we will call the generator. All the points that we will use will be created by adding the generator to itself many times.

To generate your secret key, your computer hashes your passphrase, your secret file, and the name, to generate a big number, a two hundred and forty bit number. That is a number somewhere around 1000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000. It does this every time that you need the secret key.

So the secret generated from your secret key is really a very big number.

The public key, which appears in your signature, is an elliptic point, the generator multiplied by that number. This point is represented by the x coordinate of the elliptic point, a 255 bit number, plus a sign bit, represented in base 64 format. Because division is hard, the adversary cannot discover the secret key from the public key.

For compactness, these very large numbers are represented in base 64, instead of being represented in base 10. The digits zero to 63 are represented as:


High order digits are first, thus 10(base 64) = 64(base 10) 100 (base 64) = 4096 (base 10) This means that order in the text is the reverse of the order in RAM.

The security of the system derives from the fact that to calculate the public key from the secret number merely takes a few hundred elliptic curve additions, but to do the reverse operation, to discover the number from the public key, would require billions and billions of elliptic curve additions, and elliptic curve additions are a rather slow operation. It would require roughly 1000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 operations, which is well beyond the power of even a major government on a matter vital to national security.

The problem of solving the reverse problem is called the discrete logarithm problem by mathematicians, even though it does not involve what ordinary people think of as logarithms. Many mathematicians have studied this problem, and not found any efficient solution. Certicom has offered a hundred thousand dollar prize for a mathematician who finds a more efficient solution to the discrete logarithm problem for elliptic curves.

This is the one way operation, which makes it possible for Crypto Kong to tell that two documents were signed using the same secret when it does not know that secret and to encrypt a document so that only the possessor of a certain secret can decrypt it, when it does not know that secret.

Let me remind you once again that this information is all from Donald’s website circa 2001! Many believe Satoshi was a Microsoft user because the codebase implementation was written in C++. Kong is written in C++ and only works with…get this:

”Kong will only run under Windows95, Windows98, WindowsME, WindowsNT, Windows2000, and WinXP”! This website elaborates on how to do exactly what Satoshi came up with seven years later!

On the main Crypto Kong page of the echeque website, we can see an example of Kong on the right side of the screen, minimized but still legible, with a digital signature which matches the one sent to Satoshi Nakamoto up to the thirty-fourth character.

The webpage and the digital signature match, so we know they are one and the same, but could I connect them using linguistics? The short answer is yes, but you can clearly see I am trying to be extremely thorough!

Donald also points out the symbolism behind his logo and the name under the section “Symbols of Kong.”

“Kong was so named because Hong Kong was taken over by China…As Hong Kong had been an island of liberty in the midst of oppression, I hoped that Crypto Kong would similarly protect people from oppression by the state,” the website stated.

“The icon for Kong represents a rose, from the phrase, ‘sub rosa’, or ‘under the rose’. A rose over a table is a symbol that discussions at that table were to be held in confidence, that actions planned at the table were to be undertaken in secret. Some say this symbol arose from a roman legend, where Cupid bribed a child to remain silent about his mother’s illicit sexual liaison by giving the child a rose, though if such a legend ever existed, I suspect it was made up after the rose became a symbol, not before. This symbol may predate Rome by millennia, for there was a statue of the Egyptian god Horus carrying a rose and holding his fingers to his lips. Perhaps this symbol relates to some now long forgotten conspiracy.”

It is here I would like to make several points. First of all, Donald references that he hopes his program Crypto Kong could “protect people” from the state, which is very idealistic but sounds very similar to Bitcoin. Second, Hong Kong was a British territory.

Thirdly he used symbolism when harnessing the term “sub rosa” to create the name Crypto Kong. “Sub rosa” sounds similar to the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. “Sub rosa” and Satoshi both have three syllables and sound eerily similar to one another. The rose pictured on the site is draped over a grid of zeros and ones.

I also came across a definition of Satoshi on Reddit that might help:

If you translate from Japanese to English the word ‘Satoshi’ means ‘clear thinking or quick-witted’, the word ‘Naka” means ‘medium, inside, or relationship’, and the word ‘Moto’ means ‘origin or foundation.’

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.

Here are a few more sections that are quite pertinent in making this huge connection! The first sentence in the section “The future market for encryption” states that ”The future of encryption is the future of money”!

Next, one part of a section called “The Need” states the following:

First we need is an easy to use system for signing and encrypting messages, which will make the many existing systems for transferring value on the internet, such as Mark Twain ecash, much more usable, and once we have that in widespread use, making existing systems for transferring value worth while, then what we will then need is an internet centric system for making and exchanging and tracking promises to pay, so that we can exchange promises to move funds on and off the internet, instead of actually moving funds on and off the internet.

This will resemble the original rediscovery of banking, when the Dutch merchants realized that rather than marching mule trains of gold to and fro, it was easier and safer to leave the gold where it was and move ownership of the gold. Until the twentieth century, the things that now only banks do, everyone did, though banks specialized. When we have enough people using the internet to transfer promises to pay, it becomes more convenient to use the internet to transfer promises to pay, forcing the banks to provide faster and cheaper movement, or forcing them to move full and cheap access to their funds transfer system onto the internet in order to compete.

So the first step to solving the problem is easy to use software for signing and encrypting messages, and the second step is easy to use software for making, tracking, and transferring promises. Crypto Kong is that first step, and in due course I intend to add the second step. The second step will also require server tools, and such tools can be sold, whereas, due to the need to create a standard, basic encryption tools need to be given away.

For an internet funds transfer system to be successful, it must be part of a system capable of making and signing arbitrary messages, and it must be easy to make and sign arbitrary messages. Thus the first step towards internet funds transfer is ordinary communications encryption and digital signatures. This is the necessary foundation step. Previous attempts to provide this necessary foundation step, in particular PGP and Verisign, have not been widely adopted.

Another important part is included in “The future market for encryption”:

The future of encryption is the future of money. To do business through the Internet, people must be able to do the equivalent of signing a check and a letter, and enclosing the check with the letter in an envelope, and must be able to sign contracts. This requires a full general purpose encryption tool.

People will be willing to pay for encryption when the net is routinely used to transfer checks, promises to pay, and promises to deliver.

At present there are a substantial and steadily increasing number of business to business transactions on the Internet, but anything that involves a signature or transfer of funds is mostly done off the net.

When there is a sufficiently large volume of contracting and outsourcing mediated across the net, when we reach critical mass it then becomes profitable to employ the internet for clearing and settlement, leading to a vast increase in the need for encryption tools and digital certificates of many diverse kinds.

Clearing and settlement ultimately means shuffling swapping promises to pay so that multilateral deficits are revealed as bilateral deficits. For example if Ann owes Bob $100, and Bob owes Carol $120, and Carol owes Anne $100, and they swap the IOU’s around so that everyone ends up owning their own IOUs, and Bob owes Carol $20, this is clearing and settlement.

In the twentieth century this sort of activity has become an exclusive privilege of the banks, partly because their network was vastly more efficient than any one else’s, and partly because of government enforcement of a banking cartel, in an effort to control and observe people’s transactions.

However in the nineteenth century in America, this sort of activity was routinely done by most people, though the banks did more of it. Often promissory notes signed jointly and severally by several notables of a little town were used for money more than bank notes. The kind of transactions that are now only done by banks were part of every school child’s education. Every eighth grader was expected to be able to issue a promissory note or a letter of credit, and to be able to write a bank check on a blank piece of paper.

Today, when everyone has access to a network as powerful as that of the banks, we should expect to return to that system, where everyone is his own banker, even though some large and powerful organizations specialize in banking.

The more people do business on the net, the more desirable it becomes to move those parts of the transaction that require the exchange of promises onto the net, thus the greater the need for a general purpose encryption tool, primarily for signatures and certificates, rather than for privacy.

PGP is such a general purpose tool, but its certificate structure is not powerful and flexible enough for some commercial purposes, and is too powerful to be convenient for the most common routine uses.

Any tool that provides general purpose encryption and digital signatures will be mostly used for financial transactions, as is the case today. The future will resemble the present, only with better tools more extensively used. The big difference will be that it will resemble the past more.

At present all internet settlement systems rely on the banking system to settle and clear internet transactions. This will eventually change. When it changes, when the internet becomes the central mechanism for exchanging promises to pay, then encryption will become a major market, comparable to other network tools. Until this happens, encryption will remain an insignificant niche market, or rather a collection of tiny niche markets.

More key information can be found in a section called “Making money”:

Of course, to make real money, we want the banks in the US to play ball, to cooperate in large scale transfers of ownership of value through the internet.

If the government and the banks see increasing numbers of people using financial institutions outside the country to store readily transferable promises to pay, pretty soon, in order to compete, they will offer more acceptable arrangements to make promises to pay readily transferable, and will be more willing to allow a wide diversity of people and organizations to perform bank like operations. Bank haven transactions are a lever to crack open the big market, a market that can more readily be persuaded to pay for software.

Finally we should revisit a section called “The solution”:

“When funds are sent by the internet, they immediately move off the internet into the banking network and the visa card network: The same visa card network that creams a few percent off every transaction, and the same banking system that takes so long to settle cheques that it would seem they are still sending them by pony express, and entering them in their system by clerks using goose quills dipped in ink. Thus there is no substantial advantage to transacting through the internet, and there never will be an advantage as long as we must rely on the owners of existing financial networks to provide internet financial transactions, for naturally they want to use their networks that they control, rather than the internet network that their customers control.”

There it was, plain as day: the word cheque. Further, that paragraph alludes to the pony express and also references U.S. banks in the previous section. I then had plenty of evidence, but I needed to find something from Satoshi to finally connect the two of them.

I once again returned to the Satoshi Nakamoto Institute and started to peruse through his writings again. There it was, a document from Nov. 11, 2008. “Paper cheques can bounce up to a week or two later.”

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.

No one has heard from Donald in many years. Past that, he may have been just as private as Satoshi, because it appears that James A Donald may be a pseudonym as well. If you search for “James A Donald,” you won’t find much.

You may find a short Wikipedia entry describing how he was the first to comment on the Bitcoin white paper. Donald had the skill set and the knowledge. The site eCheque/Crypto Kong lays the groundwork for bitcoin almost a decade prior! Satoshi disappeared in 2010 and shortly thereafter Donald disappeared from the web also!

This content is for educational purposes only. It does not constitute trading advice. Past performance does not indicate future results. Do not invest more than you can afford to lose. The author of this article may hold assets mentioned in the piece.

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