It’s been a little more than a decade since Satoshi Nakamoto heralded the first peer-to-peer electronic cash system in the form of a humble whitepaper, where he presented a viable solution for a digital cash system. 

In the meantime, Laszlo Hanyecz bought two pizzas with 10,000 bitcoins without being too much picky about the toppings, and HODL became a thing. Bitcoin started getting recognized by institutions, and one pandemic morning in November 2021, its price hit a jaw-dropping all-time high of 68,000 US Dollars. In this sequence of events, Bitcoin opened a room for over 10,000 other cryptocurrencies creating together a $3 billion industry. 

Despite all this, the name of the Bitcoin creator is still the greatest mystery in the crypto community and beyond. Interestingly, the cult of Satoshi’s identity isn’t an act of fascination towards somebody who created an alternate financial world but a pure curiosity —who’s the lucky one who owns millions of bitcoins?

Indeed, we don’t know whether Satoshi is one person, a group of developers, or a whole corporation, but we can discuss the BTC he owns — and that’s the charm of the blockchain.

Did Satoshi Nakamoto Invent Bitcoin?

You may notice that we’ve already referred to Bitcoin as he. It’s not gender stereotyping — Satoshi Nakamoto is a common Japanese male name that translates to “satoshi” = clear thinking or quick-witted, and “nakamoto” = someone in the middle.

Physical bitcoin

Despite the unknown identity, the individual(s) behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto took the credit for building a decentralized realm. However, you should know that the idea for an independent digital currency had been present much earlier, since the inception of information technology. Some of the pre-Bitcoin attempts for digital cash included the eCash system of David Chaum in 1983 and DigCash in 1989. Unfortunately, none of them could maintain the system security and handle double-spending issues in virtual reality.

Satoshi found the solution in the blockchain — a database architecture to serve as a cryptographic proof for sustaining the network integrity. Instead of third-party financial regulators to facilitate transactions, the Bitcoin blockchain utilizes a Proof-of-Work (PoW) mechanism consensus that validates computational work and prevents cyberattacks. The grounds for developing such a complex model were also established long before the team Satoshi tied them up with the notion of digital currency. 

In 1991, W. Scott Stornetta and Stuart Haber presented a technology much similar to today’s blockchain as a solution for the authentication of digital documents. Later, computer scientists and governments tested this technology for a variety of use cases — most of which have nothing to do with a cash transaction. 

The power of the blockchain lies in its ability to ensure secure, immutable, and trustless transaction of data, which is organized in blocks in sequential order. Each block is labelled with a unique alphanumeric string called hash, and each block takes the hash from the previous one to generate its own, thus making a chain. The first block in the blockchain is known as the Genesis block. 

Who Is Satoshi Nakamoto?

A few months after the release of the whitepaper, Satoshi mined the Genesis Bitcoin block with an embedded message The New York Times 03/Jan/2009 Chancellor on brink of second bailout for banks — referring to the 2008 financial market crisis. A week after, he made the first test transaction by sending bitcoins to Hal Finney, who is one of the main suspects of being Satoshi Nakamoto himself.

In a forum post from 2013, Finney described the communication between Satoshi and himself in a forum post, claiming that nobody really knew who the creator of Bitcoin was during their mutual communication. His assumption was that Satoshi was an ingeniously smart guy of Japanese origin but this remark was understood as a pretentious attempt of Finney to distance himself from the name of Satoshi.

Man hidden face

Interestingly, the whitepaper does leave the impression of being a scientific masterpiece, as it’s written on a highly academic level. Satoshi acknowledged the previous work in the field of the blockchain by citing Stornetta and Haber a few times in the paper, which also signals that he had profound expertise in technology. 

As a creator, promotor, and miner, Satoshi was active on between 2009 and 2010, where he engaged in numberless discussions with other enthusiasts. He used two email addresses, and While Vistomail is no longer in use, GMX is still popular with users who value anonymity — using sophisticated OpenPGP encryption as the highest standard in email security. 

By 2010, Bitcoin had gained some monetary value, but at that point, Satoshi didn’t work as an individual improving and promoting the digital currency. He and his fellow developers managed to re-design the Bitcoin software when suddenly, Satoshi disappeared from the Bitcoin world for good at the end of 2010. 

The Disappearance of Satoshi Nakamoto

Satoshi checked out from Bitcoin through a private message to Bitcoin Core developer Mike Hearn saying I’ve moved on to other things. It’s in good hands with Gavin (Gavin Andresen) and everyone. His last engagement on the forum was on 10 December 2010, even though Satoshi made a short appearance in 2014 with a quick message to deny being Dorian Nakamoto

Same as with his identity, nobody knows the real reason for Satoshi’s leaving. Some speculations claim that all that “hide-and-seek” game was a well-played show for the public, but there is a more reasonable explanation. It’s very likely that Satoshi stepped out because its presence (even though faceless) is against the principles of a decentralized currency.

In other words, every market movement or post by the inventor of Bitcoin could greatly affect the fragile Bitcoin price and its further development. Or, perhaps it was the fear of a possible dispute with law enforcement, which might be why Satoshi has left all Bitcoin capital untouched. At this point, you may be wondering how we know about Satoshi’s bitcoins. 

How Much Bitcoin Does Satoshi Have?

Satoshi Nakamoto is claimed to have mined around 1 million bitcoins. Now, you can do the math and calculate his wealth based on today’s Bitcoin exchange rate and rank him on the Forbes list appropriately. Just note that during the time he was an active miner, regular CPUs and goodwill were quite sufficient for generating a bulk of bitcoins. 

Man wearing suit holding bitcoin

Now, let’s move back to the blockchain for a moment. One of its major features is that the blockchain doesn’t record the credentials of its participants. Instead, you’re represented by a wallet address generated as a random string by your Bitcoin wallets. As a public ledger, the blockchain allows everyone to see these records and find out where the wallet address owner of 1A1zP1eP5QGefi2DMPTfTL5SLmv7DNa has spent their Bitcoin holdings. 

Bitcoin wallets can generate a new wallet address for every transaction, and that’s the reason why we can’t tell the exact number of BTC that Satoshi owns. Yet, we can be sure about the Genesis block and the fact that Satoshi was the only miner in the first 2 weeks of the blockchain “life”. Since we know the number of blocks mined in that time span and the amount of the block reward back in 2009, we can assume how much Satoshi earned.

Fascinating enough, this fortune has never been touched. This has opened a room for another series of speculations that Satoshi has died in the meantime or maybe deliberately left the coins intact because he’s waiting for Bitcoin to reach the most optimistic estimated projection of its price. Or simply, he had altruistic motives.

The Patoshi Pattern

The Patoshi Pattern is an analysis study by the world-renowned cryptographer Sergio Demian Lerner, who is an RSK Labs chief scientist and a creator of RSK, a second layer Bitcoin protocol. Lerner’s study is the most accurate source for discussing Satoshi’s capital as it’s based on scientific proof and 3-year research work. The Patoshi Pattern explains a pattern of blocks that seem to be mined by the same entity. This pattern takes its roots from the Genesis Bitcoin Block, thus giving us some knowledge of the number of bitcoins Satoshi could have mined.

In his study, Lerner suggests that it was a single Bitcoin miner who managed to dig up over 22,000 blocks in the first year of Bitcoin’s existence. Converted into bitcoins, Satoshi collected at least 1.8 million BTC units, 1.1 million of which have never been used. Lerner based this claim on three privacy gaps he found analyzing the blockchain, allowing him to correlate these blocks through the original Bitcoin client source code v0.1.

The author expanded his study in 2019 under the title ”The Return of the Deniers and the Revenge of Patoshi” where he supported his thesis with a new series of evidence. Namely, Lerner discovered that a single PC clock was used for timestamping nearly 43% of the first 50,000 blocks.

Recently, there have been speculations that somebody transferred 50 BTC mined in 2009, but it turned out that these bitcoins belonged to another veteran bitcoiner.

The True Identity of Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto

Stories about the identity of Satoshi go beyond any level of imagination. Recently, Elon Musk actualized one of the most interesting ones claiming that behind the name of Satoshi Nakamoto lie four corporate giants: Sa — Samsung, Toshi — Toshiba, Naka —Nakamichi, and Moto — Motorola. 

Who are you written on paper

Demystifying Satoshi’s true identity always makes a thrilling read, so let’s take a look at the main characters that usually appear in all Satoshi stories. Most of the “potential Satoshis” were part of the Cypherpunk movement that appeared in the early nineties. This group of IT experts and other tech enthusiasts advocated for the use of strong cryptography in everyday digital interaction.

Hal Finney 

Finney was a recognized cryptographer in IT circles and the first Bitcoin recipient. As implied above in this article, he frequently interacted with Satoshi on the bitcointalk forum, but many believe these conversations were part of the show to camouflage Nakamoto’s identity. Hal Finney passed away in 2014, and if he really was Satoshi, this explains why the first bitcoins have remained untouched. 

Gavin Andresen 

Andersen is another software engineer who became a suspect of being the real Satoshi Nakamoto — he was the one Satoshi addressed when checking out. Namely, after Satoshi left, he entrusted Andersen with the Bitcoin source code. Among many other contributions to blockchain development, Andersen is the creator of the first Bitcoin faucet. 

Nick Szabo 

When discussing the pre-Bitcoin era, Nick Szabo is always the first reference. He is a US developer who created Bit Gold — the earliest blockchain attempt and the term smart contracts, which today serves as a basis for the second-largest blockchain Ethereum. 

Some researchers find the writing expression of Szabo and Nakamoto very similar, while others have noticed the correlation between their inverse initials. 

Craig Steven Wright 

The Wright saga makes one of the most popular stories about the founder of Bitcoin. In 2015, two independent investors indicated that the Australian Craig Wright could be Satoshi. Not only did he confirm these speculations, but he also made a few public appearances where he tried to convince the world that he personally invented Bitcoin. As proof, Wright offered digital signatures that used cryptographic keys originating from the earliest Bitcoin era. 

Very soon, the community rejected this “revelation” as a scam since it turned out that Wright re-used an old digitally signed message dating back from a Bitcoin transaction executed in 2009. Even without that, Wright’s story was missing the basic premise — access to the “antique coins” lying on the blockchain since the Bitcoin launch. 

Pile of bitcoins

Another interesting story associated with Wright’s legacy is the Florida court case, where the family of his deceased business partner addressed fierce allegations against Wright. The family claimed that their late husband and father, David Kleiman, co-invented Bitcoin with Wright and never received his share. 

Ultimately, the Kleimans didn’t win the battle since the court lacked proof of Wright owning the alleged amount of Bitcoin. 

Dorian Nakamoto 

The fact that Dorian’s birth name is Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto, combined with his job title, raised public attention and brought unwanted publicity to this Californian-based system engineer. Dorian himself denied any connection with the Bitcoin creator, and even more intriguing, it was almost five years after Satoshi’s disappearance when he resurrected on the Bitcoin P2P Foundation page with a comment: I am not Dorian Nakamoto.

Finally, there are plenty of other names that appear as potential Satoshis, including Len Sassman, Adam Back, and most recently, the greatest crypto influencer, Tesla owner, and billionaire, Elon Musk. 

A Few Words Before You Go…

While some investors can’t understand the hype of anonymity behind Satoshi’s identity, those who get to learn the core blockchain principles have realized that decentralization can’t bear a leader. We couldn’t know whether Satoshi would ever step out of the cave and reveal his identity or at least buy himself a treat with his “blood-and sweat” earned bitcoins.

Finally, the new technology may find a way to track the mysterious Satoshi but the question is whether we’ll be ready to accept it.