One of Bitcoin’s most intriguing characteristics is that its creator has for the past 8 years been ‘in hiding’. In 2008, the Bitcoin whitepaper was published under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto, leaving the public to wonder about his or her (or their) true identity. The question as to why you would birth such an incredibly innovative invention and not reveal yourself lingered for many. It seems to go against everything we expect about ego and claim.
It’s interesting then, that the recent declaration of Australian entrepreneur Dr. Craig Wright of being the elusive creator, has been met with a smidgen of support from key members of the Bitcoin community, but mostly a flood of suspicion. Doubters have called on Wright to provide undeniable evidence to support his assertion. These are people looking for external verification to appease an inherent distrust. An oxymoron when it comes to Bitcoin.
Bitcoin was created specifically to eliminate third parties and to provide a trust-based platform for financial transactions to occur in the absence of central control. It’s counterintuitive to seek an ‘authority’ to endorse and authenticate his claim when the system itself provides irrefutable mathematical proof by the way of cryptography.
If he wished to do so, Wright, or anyone else asserting themselves as Nakamoto, could quite easily complete a transaction with the genesis coins* (known to be owned and therefore assumed to be controlled by Nakamoto) to demonstrate his identity. He doesn’t need any third party to endorse such an action. The maths is absolute and infallible.
The fact remains is that all that would do is confirm the claim and put a face to the name behind Bitcoin. Whether Wright, Bill Gates or Donald Duck is revealed as the true creator, it’s completely irrelevant. Irrelevant to the mechanics of the network. And irrelevant to its future. There’s no governance or ownership of the Bitcoin network to claim. It will continue to operate as it has – as the cryptographic ‘gift’ to the world it is. Given freely and with the express intent of circumventing central control in financial transactions, and providing a neutral platform of trust. A platform that allows for economic, political and financial emancipation from corporate masters who profit from our monetary matters.
Andreas Antonopolous, a prominent figure in the Bitcoin space, summed up my feelings on this matter perfectly, when he recently posted on Reddit his reaction to being asked to verify Satoshi Nakamoto’s identity:
“As I have expressed many times in the past, I think the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto does not matter. More importantly, I think it serves to distract from the fact that bitcoin is not controlled by anyone and is not a system of Appeal-to-Authority. Identifying the creator only serves to feed the appeal-to-authority crowd, as if SN is some kind of infallible prophet, or has any say over bitcoin's future.
Identity and authority are distractions from a system of mathematical proof that does not require trust. This is not a telenovela. Bitcoin is a neutral framework of trust that can bring financial empowerment to billions of people. It works because it doesn't depend on any authority. Not even Satoshi's”
And so, as we wait to see whether Wright is confirmed or refuted as Satoshi Nakamoto, we’ll continue to operate as we did prior to his claim. Using bitcoin to create our wealth and for which we are the absolute authority.
*3 May 2016 - Wright expressed on his blog that he’d be doing this within ‘the coming days’.