The identity of the inventor of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto, has become a topic of great interest and mystery in recent times. However, this was not the case when the Bitcoin white paper was first published in October 2008. The initial reception of the publication was lukewarm, with only four contributors commenting critically on it before interest faded away within a month. By December 2008, no one was talking about Bitcoin, and the idea that its author, Satoshi Nakamoto, would become the subject of intense scrutiny more than a decade later, seemed unlikely.
It’s been 15 years since Satoshi Nakamoto emerged and even the most esteemed journalists writing for publications like the New York Times, Wired, and Forbes have been unable to uncover their identity. Despite extensive efforts, the mystery remains unsolved.
In order to restart our search for Satoshi with a strong foundation, we must follow a systematic approach. The first step is to acknowledge that this is a historical problem and investigate it accordingly. By utilizing verified documents from Satoshi Nakamoto, we can construct a profile that any potential candidate must match. Let’s examine the key components of this profile. The first part is looking at the demographics that can be derived.
While gender is not clearly indicated, it appears that modern cryptography and virtual currencies were primarily dominated by men. After conducting research, I was unable to identify more than a few women in this field. The Cryptography mailing list, where Satoshi posted his Bitcoin Whitepaper, was also largely dominated by men. During the time when Satoshi was active, the only women I could find on the list were Lynn Wheeler and Sandy Harris, although these may not be their real names. It’s important to note that all identities I was able to verify were male.
Satoshi has mentioned on the P2P Foundation forum that his birth date is April 5, 1975. However, due to his strong inclination towards anonymity, there is no concrete evidence to support this claim. Nevertheless, there are other signs that suggest that this date may be quite accurate. It is possible that he is a little older but not considerably younger.
According to close associates of Satoshi, such as Gavin Andresen who took over Bitcoin development from him, it is likely that he was around the same age as those who would have been studying at the beginning of the 1990s. This could be inferred from the fact that he chose to use C++ as his programming language, which was first introduced in 1985 and was the most popular object-oriented language at the time. In an interview with Andy Greenberg in 2014, Hal Finney commented on Satoshi’s use of C++, stating that
“Satoshi was a master of the intricacies, and I’ve only seen this in young programmers. It seems hard to master C++ if you didn’t learn it while you’re young.”
If Satoshi had received their education in the late 1990s, Java would have been a likely programming language choice. However, if they had been educated in the 1970s or 1980s, C, Fortran, or Pascal may have been more fitting. Based on the selection of C++, it is probable that Satoshi’s education began around 1990, indicating a birth year between 1970 and 1975.
Fortunately, there is more reliable evidence available to locate Satoshi. Doncho Karaivanov has conducted a comprehensive investigation of the forensic evidence and presents compelling evidence that suggests Satoshi was likely based in the UK, specifically in London.
After examining the 742 known timestamps of when Satoshi was active on forums, sent emails, and committed code to SourceForge, a pattern of activity emerges. This pattern rules out Japan and Australia as potential locations for Satoshi. The reason being that if he lived in either country, he would have had to be active only at night, like a vampire, to match the observed activity pattern. The remaining time zones that have been suggested as possible locations for Satoshi are GMT (UK/Europe), Eastern Time (east coast of the US), and Pacific Time (west coast of the US).
Based on the information provided, it seems that Satoshi could have lived in any of the three locations mentioned. In London, his schedule suggests that he works late into the night and sleeps in until noon. On the east coast, he finishes work at the end of the day and sleeps until early morning. On the west coast, he goes to bed early in the night and wakes up very early. However, without further evidence, it is difficult to determine with certainty which time zone Satoshi resided in.
The proof that tilts the identification towards London is embedded in the Bitcoin blockchain. On January 3, the first block, known as the Genesis block, contained a message that read “Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks.” This message was originally printed on the front page of the Times of London newspaper on the same day. While the Times was read throughout Britain, in 2008, 43% of its readership hailed from London. Additionally, the US edition of the newspaper featured distinct content from the British version.
If Satoshi had lived in a different timezone, he could have browsed The Times’ website. However, the internet edition had a slightly different headline: “Chancellor Alistair Darling on brink of second bailout for banks.” It’s possible that Satoshi saw the print edition’s front page on January 3, as he may have subscribed to The Times.
To sum up, it is improbable that Satoshi was located in Japan or Australia. While it’s a potential but unlikely scenario that he was in US Eastern or Pacific time zones, it’s highly probable that he was situated in the GMT timezone, possibly in London or another part of the UK.
Satoshi was thus most likely a male born 1970-1975 completing his education in the start 1990s and living in London around the time when he created Bitcoin.
You can read more the read the full story in my book. If you enjoyed this, please follow me on Twitter under the handle @alisdorf, and share this post. My book “Still Searching for Satoshi – Unveiling the Blockchain Revolution” is available now in your local book store or Amazon