“Bossy, Eccentric, and Kind of Weird”: Laszlo Hanyecz Describes Bitcoin Founder Satoshi Nakamoto
Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymized founder of Bitcoin, has been described by Laszlo Hanyecz, an early Bitcoin developer, as “paranoid,” “bossy,” and “a little bit weird” according to a May 30 interview.
The legendary creator of Bitcoin (BTC) has never revealed their identity publicly, and very little is known of about the pioneer, save for a number of web posts and hundreds of email exchanges with other developers in the course of developing the revolutionary distributed ledger system.
Following the release of the Bitcoin white paper in 2009, Satoshi mysteriously vanished without a trace in 2011, and despite several investigative attempts and speculation about his identity, he has remained anonymous. It has been suggested that the Bitcoin founder was not one person, but a pseudonymized designation for a group of developers, but this has never been proven.
The only clues that exist about Satoshi’s identity are his numerous online forum posts and emails, several of which he exchanged with developer Laszlo Hanyecz in 2010. Laszlo, who was then a contributor to the Bitcoin project with interest in mining the cryptocurrency later achieved fame as the first person in the world to carry out an everyday transaction with bitcoin in 2011, purchasing two pizzas for 10,000 BTC.
Describing his email interactions with Satoshi in an interview with Business Insider, Laszlo spoke of an experience that was “mostly weird,” with Satoshi given continuously to idiosyncratic behavior like not responding to emails all week, and then answering everything at once on Fridays. Satoshi he says was in the habit of sending tasks for him to carry out and acting as if he worked for him full-time, as against the volunteer that he was.
In his words:
“Nakamoto would send me emails like, ‘Hey, can you fix this bug? Hey, can you do this?’ He’d say: ‘Hey, the west side’s down.’ Or, ‘We have these bugs, we need to fix this.’ I’d be like, ‘We? We’re not a team. I’d say, ‘Hey, you’re not my boss.’ I didn’t take it too seriously, though.”
Laszlo says he never thought much of it and just assumed that the eccentric Bitcoin founder was working on other projects at the same time.
In Laszlo’s account, Nakamoto was an immensely secretive individual, always dodging any questions of a personal nature and giving absolutely nothing away about his identity.
Apart from not approving of Laszlo’s focus on mining over the general adoption of bitcoin, Laszlo says he could never pin Satoshi down to any particular belief, opinion or identity and he just assumed that he was dealing with a highly eccentric, slightly neurotic Asian man.
In addition to this he says, there was often a distinctly paranoid vibe from Satoshi, which Hanyecz dismissed because he has no real financial investment in the project and it was more or less a fun pastime for him.
Describing these exchanges, he said:
“There were a few times when I got messages that seemed off-base. I brushed them off because I was like, ‘Who cares if this guy tells me to go pound sand and go away?’ This wasn’t my job or anything; it was a hobby. I was trying to be friends with him. He seemed very paranoid about people breaking the software. He kept calling it ‘pre-release,’ and I was helping him get it to release.”
Retrospectively, Hanyecz concedes that Satoshi was probably right to be paranoid, as the Bitcoin project would not exist in its current form if those precautions had not been taken. Regardless of the eccentricity of the person or people behind the ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’ name, Hanyecz says that the ultimate measure of a developer is always the strength of the idea and the quality of the code.