by Cindy Huynh
On June 29, a person claiming to be Satoshi Nakamoto published 21 pages from a book about Bitcoin’s Origins. While it’s uncertain whether the information was from the Bitcoin creator himself, Daniel Jeffries, a cryptocurrency enthusiast and stylometrist, believes it relates “closely to the man who gave us the gift of Bitcoin and started the revolution.”
The Origins of Bitcoin
According to Wired, the excerpt appeared on NakamotoFamilyFoundation.org at 11:45 pm. The website was purchased three days ago via Amazon’s registrar.
The excerpt titled, “Duality” revealed a lot of personal details about the self-proclaimed Bitcoin creator. He wrote that at age 14, he was involved with the cypherpunk community, “where anonymity was as fundamental as breathing.” Nakamoto mentioned that the principles of Bitcoin originated from his participation in the community.
He also mentioned on the first page of the excerpt that Satoshi Nakamoto was not his real name and “was the equivalent of John Smith” in Japanese. Nakamoto went into a lot of detail about masking his identity and his desire for privacy. He went on to state that “I knew then as I know now, that after my word was done, I would leave the community entirely.”
The majority of the excerpt centered around Bitcoin’s origins as it detailed critical events and people that shaped Bitcoin today. Nakamoto mentioned his correspondence with key members from the cryptocurrency community which include Adam Back, Wei Dai, Gavin Andresen, and Hal Finey.
The Bitcoin creator also wanted to clarify that the pioneer cryptocurrency “arose out of the many failed attempts by many groups, and the only reason it succeeded was because it was at the right place, at the right time.” He noted that in the early days, it was just him and Hal Finney who believed in his vision.
Nakamoto dedicated almost a whole page to Finney who was “the first believer in what I was trying to do.” He believed that Finney was “essential” in the prototyping of Bitcoin. He was the first to report a bug and the first person to ever receive a Bitcoin transaction. Unfortunately, he died from ALS in 2014.
Was Nakamoto Really Involved?
While the excerpt contained Nakamoto’s personal information and a lot of the early encounters with prominent members of the cryptocurrency community, Adam Black, one of the people mentioned in the excerpt, pointed out that all of the details in the story exist in the public domain. Nakamoto’s earlier conversations and private correspondence with Finney detailed in the excerpt are also not necessarily evidence of authenticity as well.
Cryptocurrency enthusiast Daniel Jeffries similarly went on Twitter to question the excerpt’s authenticity. Jeffries has been “studying and reading” every single word Nakamoto ever wrote,” and is conversant with stylometrics, the study of analyzing one’s linguistics.
Jeffries’ first conclusion was that Satoshi “is and always was, a single person because his writing is perfectly consistent across the paper and every post on Bitcoin talk.” He mentioned that it’s “highly probable” that the National Security Agency (NSA) knows who Nakamoto is because of their ability to access all of the data in the world.
While Jeffries’ openly confessed that either the writer of the excerpt is Nakamoto or an author who studied Nakamoto’s thoughts and style of writing to mimic him extremely well, “only time will tell.”
Like others in the cryptocurrency community, Jeffries believes that “the only proof we will ever need is for the real Satoshi to sign a message with the private key from the original Genesis block.” For now, a possible conclusion the author can draw is that the self-proclaimed Nakamoto “is an author promoting a book with a stunt.”