Becoming Nakamoto: How Satoshi Created His Alter-Ego

Captain America began life as Steve Rogers. Tony Stark did not create Iron Man until after his kidnapping. Bruce Wayne trained as a ninja for seven years before returning to Gotham as a Batman. We do not know the birth name of Satoshi Nakamoto, but we know something about the steps he took to create Bitcoin and indelibly forge his alter-ego.

Read also: The last messages of Satoshi leave interesting clues about his disappearance

Unmask the legend of Satoshi

We do not know who Satoshi was or was, but like the superheroes of the Marvel and DC movies of today, under the mask was an imperfect human being, capable of extraordinary things. Deify – or rather superheroes – assuming – every man is the antithesis of all that Bitcoin represents. In fact, it is perhaps the growing cult of Satoshi that pushed the creator of Bitcoin to exile. However, for purposes of evocation, the metaphor of superheroes works. Think about it:

A man, taking a corrupt system (central bank). The support of a pseudonym to protect his identity. The need to separate one's personal life from one's professional life (Tony Stark can not reveal his alter-ego Iron Man). The need to function as a lone wolf for years without help or compensation. Constant threats to his mission and his release from enemies determined to see him fail. Satoshi did not wear a cape, but when his film is made, he belongs to the superhero genre.

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Steve Rogers prepares to be transformed into Captain America

2007: modest beginnings

"I actually did this kind of background," Satoshi said in a statement. E-mail Hal Finney. "I had to write all the code before I could convince myself that I could solve all the problems, then I wrote the paper." It is likely that Nakamoto started working on Bitcoin even before he designed his pseudonym character. "The design and coding started in 2007," he said. has explained, likely to the beginning of the year. It was not known as Bitcoin at this point, assuming that the working title of "Electronic cash without a trusted third party."

At the end of 2007, we can deduce that Satoshi had laid the groundwork for what would become Bitcoin: a way to send electronic payments "from one party to another without the burden of going through a financial institution" . To achieve this, Satoshi had: made a major breakthrough in solving the problem of double spending by postulating a chain of hash-based evidence of work. This would form a timestamped record that could not be edited without redoing the proof of work. That was, he would do it explain later, "A solution to the problem of Byzantine generals".

Satoshi's European initiative may have arrived in 2007, but Bitcoin was still a concept. It consisted of a few thousand lines of incomplete code and lacked the necessary ingredients to create a decentralized currency: work software, coin release schedule, block hours and most other components that would be part of Bitcoin as we know it. . If Satoshi had thought the end of the night and the endless repeated editorial sessions of 2007 were exhausting, they were nothing compared to what the next year was going to throw.

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2008: First contact

In 2008, Satoshi found that his list of things to do was growing day by day. Until now, he focused on the mechanics of his electronic payment system and would spend the first half of 2008 codifying his ideas in what would become the Bitcoin white paper. But he also had other pressing concerns: soon, Satoshi knew that he would be forced to go to the shelter and go public. At the same time, he should hide his tracks. The year before, the founders of Liberty Reserve had been condemned to five years in prison for exploiting his predecessor, the Gold Age digital currency exchange, without a financial license.

Satoshi knew that he should create a robust pseudonym that could not be linked to his true identity. But he was also clever enough to recognize the need for a nickname with some mysticism. Even in the unsellable sub-world of cryptographic mailing lists, a memorable name will remain. From where he picked it, we will never know it. What we do know is that Satoshi Nakamoto sounds good. Once Satoshi is installed on his alter-ego of superheroes, there can be no more backtracking.

By the time Satoshi chose his name, he had also set a name for his electronic payment system: Bitcoin. On August 18, 2008, he registered the domain via Four days later, Satoshi establishes his first known contact with the world, emailing Wei Dai from, including a link to an early publication of the Bitcoin white paper. It is believed that Satoshi may have already sent an email to Adam Back; if this is the case, the event probably occurred earlier in August.

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Bruce Wayne begins his training at Batman

Fall 2008: bitcoin begins

The very first interactions of Satoshi with the cryptography community have all the characteristics of a nascent superhero who is still accustomed to their new powers. He was modest and humbly disarming, especially in those early exchanges, when no one knew who Satoshi was and had no reason to worry about it. By the end of 2008 and January 2009, his communications were foolproof. polished: "Sorry if I did not specify that" and "I would appreciate, thank you, Satoshi."

Even at this point, when there was every chance that Bitcoin would not succeed, it was obvious that Satoshi had thought everything – from his entry to his exit strategy. In addition to making great efforts to anonymously record and conduct all of his business behind an attorney or seven, Satoshi seems to have begun to change his spelling to put more distance between his character and his pseudonym. The writing style of Satoshi will be the subject of future analysis by For the moment, it should be noted that his well-documented British spelling is an idiosyncrasy that Satoshi seems to have acquired in 2008, with mixed results at first, as he entered the character.

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October 31, 2008, Satoshi published His white paper on the cryptography mailing list explains, "I'm working on a new, fully peer-to-peer electronic payment system, without a trusted third party." Even at this point, Bitcoin was still undecided. or not revealed, including the offer of 21 million, which seems to have been finalized shortly before Satoshi sharing v0.1 of the Bitcoin Code on January 9, 2009.

It is easy to assign the inevitability to the rise of Bitcoin, using the gift of hindsight. However, the reality is that at the beginning, Bitcoin's chances of survival were probably not higher than 50-50, and even the optimists would have suggested it at best to adopt it for a few thousand followers. As Mike Hearn had to do it later recall"At the time, bitcoins did not have any value and nobody else was using the system … It was just an interesting science project on SourceForge, the # 39, one of the many projects that seemed destined to sink into the dark. "

The genius of Satoshi lies not only in his ability to solve the problem of double spending, or to eliminate trusted third parties. He has painfully created an invincible character who has, to our knowledge, resisted attempts to unmask armchair detectives and three-letter agencies. Satoshi is more than an epithet of the moment that was invented by a man who wanted to preserve his private life: in the manner of a superhero prior to the glory, his character was born in darkness, wrought in steel and developed for years.

Do you think that Satoshi will one day be found? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Marvel and Warner Brothers.

Thanks to Jamie Redman and Katie Webster for their contribution to this article.

Did you know that you can check any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply fill in Bitcoin address search to see him on the blockchain. In addition, visit our Bitcoin Graphics to see what's happening in the industry.

Kai Sedgwick

Kai has been manipulating the words since 2009 and bought his first bitcoin at $ 12. It's been gone for a long time. He has already written white papers for blockchain startups and is particularly interested in P2P exchanges and DNMs.

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