In our renewed investigation of the historical person behind Satoshi we have reviewed the demographic evidence, which points towards Satoshi being a male living in the UK probably in London. Now let us take a look at the personal profile of Satoshi. What can be gathered about him from the evidence we know derived from him?
It is widely agreed that Satoshi writes in nearly flawless British English, suggesting that he is likely from a country within the British Commonwealth, such as the United Kingdom. While it is possible that he could be from Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa, there are no specific phrases or terms in his writing that point to any of these countries.
It’s widely accepted that Satoshi consistently writes in British English. He uses British terms like “bloody,” the “-ou-” spelling variation instead of the American “-o-” in words like “labour,” and the British “-ise-” instead of the American “-ize-.” Although he may occasionally use American words, this is true for most languages around the world today. To convincingly mimic a foreign language like Satoshi would have to do if he weren’t a native British speaker, it would likely require years of training, similar to that of counterintelligence services.
Education and work
There is limited information available regarding Satoshi’s education, but it is likely that he received advanced training in mathematics or computer science, as suggested by his references in the Bitcoin whitepaper. It is uncertain if he pursued a master’s degree or Ph.D., but he exhibited a strong fascination for cryptography, as evidenced by his involvement in the cryptography mailing list and his extensive knowledge in certain areas. Additionally, he demonstrated interest in peer-to-peer computing, as seen through his active participation in the P2P Foundation forum.
It is evident that the Bitcoin whitepaper displays a strong command of academic writing conventions, structure, and citation protocols. It is plausible to infer that the author may have previously published academic articles. Gavin Andresen, who assumed responsibility for Bitcoin development after Satoshi’s departure, suggests that the author’s coding may not have originated from a professional coder. It is therefore possible that the author had a background in academia, research, or consulting in the security field.
There has been speculation about his profession, with some suggesting that he may have worked in banking or had a finance-related education. However, it is challenging to confirm this, given that the bulk of his work was centered on technicalities. While he does make references to the economy and banking occasionally, these remarks appear to be typical libertarian ideas that are prevalent on the cryptography mailing list. Examples include negative views on banks, fractional banking, and their lending practices that lead to credit bubbles. He also believes that central banks contribute to inflation. This is nothing out of the ordinary.
There are occasional references to Austrian economists, but when a user named xc posted a detailed monetary theory piece on July 27, 2010, citing Mises and Rothbard regarding money regression, the emergence of money, and how Bitcoin meets the requirements, Satoshi did not seem to comprehend it fully. In response, he presented an unusual thought experiment involving a scarce metal with no practical value that could be transported through a communication channel. He focused on the aspect of scarcity, which was not relevant to xc’s post, and did not provide any references while relying on personal opinion. This differs from his confident writings on cryptography or technology. Hence, it seems unlikely that Satoshi had any education beyond high school or introductory college courses or any work experience related to finance or the economy.
Satoshi has a tendency towards libertarian and anti-government values, but not to an extreme extent. This was demonstrated in December 2010 when some BitcoinTalk forum users proposed that Wikileaks should adopt Bitcoins. While some users supported this idea, Satoshi strongly disagreed, believing that it would attract unwanted attention.
It is important to note that Satoshi did not hold radical libertarian beliefs, such as the complete elimination of government authority or the removal of government regulation on trade involving illegal substances, which some Bitcoin supporters have assumed. There is no proof that Satoshi had intentions of enabling drug trade, money laundering, or any other illicit forms of exchange.
On January 17th, 2009, when Bitcoin was first introduced, Satoshi responded to Dustin Tramell’s message by proposing several possible uses for Bitcoin. These included using it as reward points, donation tokens, in-game currency, or for micropayments on adult sites. Additionally, Satoshi envisioned potential applications for subscription sites and email proof of work. It appears that these visions are more aligned with a middle-class idealist rather than a radical anti-government drug lord or a libertarian economist with revolutionary ideas.
Consequently, it seems fair to say that Satoshi is leaning libertarian but not a revolutionary in the political or activist sense.
To effectively work on the code produced by Satoshi, one should possess certain skills. These include proficiency in proof of work principles, expertise in peer-to-peer computing, knowledge of virtual currencies, and advanced understanding of private key encryption. These have to be included in his personal profile. It’s a bit of a funny combination. Peer-to-peer computing in particular rarely appears together with cryptographic skills. Virtual currencies are historically also a niche within the cryptography community and in the cypher punk movement, where the focus has mostly been on privacy and being able to hide from the government. However, it is not uncommon to be interested in this within this subculture. Proof-of-work is another niche in which not all cryptology experts were interested.
We can therefore say that the person behind Satoshi Nakamoto was probably a married middle-class man of British origin who had libertarian sympathies and a higher education in computer science. He mastered the following technical disciplines at a high level: Proof-of-work, virtual currencies, cryptography and peer-to-peer computing.
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