Over the last 11 or so years, Bitcoin (BTC) has risen dramatically in price, as well as publicity in the mainstream eye, as more people begin understanding the person-to-person digital asset. The public, however, still holds no firm confirmation on bitcoin’s creator — the person or group behind the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Veteran technology expert, sociologist and philosopher Ted Nelson believes he knows who Nakamoto is, but it is not any of the usual people theorized in the crypto industry.
Nelson believes Nakamoto is Princeton graduate and salutatorian Shinichi Mochizuki, he told me in an interview. “Does he speak good English? You bet your ass,” Nelson said, pulling from the Japanese mathematician’s salutatorian rank. Nelson publicized this theory in a 2013 YouTube video and confirmed that his view has not changed since then, according to my May 19, 2020 interview with him.
[Ed note: Investing in cryptocoins or tokens is highly speculative and the market is largely unregulated. Anyone considering it should be prepared to lose their entire investment.]
A person or entity operating under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto released the written framework for bitcoin in 2008, seeing the project go live in early 2009. A number of people worked on bitcoin in those early days, interacting with Nakamoto via messaging and email correspondence until roughly 2011, when the bitcoin creator ceased contact and disappeared.
Nakamoto sent an April 2011 email to one of the people working on bitcoin at the time, explaining, “I’ve moved on to other things,” adding that he felt bitcoin had enough support to continue without him, according to an article from Business Insider.
Various theories tout Nick Szabo, Craig Wright, the late Hal Finney, and several others as bitcoin creator candidates. One of the most recent theories gaining traction posits British cryptographer Adam Back as Nakamoto.
Famous programmer and businessman John Mcafee also said multiple times that he knows Nakamoto’s identity, pointing toward a group of people instead of a solo act, although he credits one person as the white paper’s author. At one point in 2019, McAfee planned to reveal the secret but has since changed his tune.
Mochizuki finished his PhD at Princeton in three years and now “teaches mathematics only in Japanese at the University of Kyoto,” Nelson said, according to the last time he checked Mochizuki’s current endeavors.
Nelson, however, would not give odds on the likelihood that his Nakamoto theory is correct. “I don’t give odds — there’s Bayesian inference, but, you know, no way in hell,” he said.
“As I said in the video, everybody else is looking under the street lights at famous cryptographers,” Nelson explained.
“He is a Newton-level genius as far as mathematics is concerned,” Nelson posited, comparing Mochizuki to the famed historical figure Isaac Newton. “Seminars are held on his work but he doesn’t attend them,” Nelson said of Mochizuki.
As one of the men known for inventing hypertext — a key framework often used in computers and on the web, Nelson holds years of expertise in technology. Approximately seven years ago, Nelson published a YouTube video with his conclusions on Nakamoto’s identity. “I have no further information, but the logic in that piece is still perfectly good,” Nelson told me.
“It had to be done by a single individual. That that single individual had to be a person of extraordinary thoroughness and work ethic because the pieces of Bitcoin are so well integrated.”
Nakamoto did not broadcast his works on traditional scholarly avenues — a clue that might help in unmasking the Bitcoin creator, Nelson explained in his 2013 video. In the same fashion, in 2012, Mochizuki publicized a work of great significance relating to a math theory called the abc conjecture, using his actual name for this work. “He just threw it on the net,” Nelson said.
“He was asked to lecture on it and he refused. Instead, he just tiptoed away saying he had nothing more to say about it, just as he did in 2011 after giving the world bitcoin.”
Nelson said he does not have proof for sure that Mochizuki is Nakamoto, although the available examined evidence suggests such. “My conclusion that Satoshi and Mochizuki-san are the same is consistent, plausible and, I believe, compelling,” Nelson said at the video’s conclusion, adding “san” to the Japanese name — a title similar to Mr. or Mrs., added for respect.
The topic of Nakamoto’s identity pops up in the crypto space every once in a while, gaining traction whenever any new bit of information surfaces possibly relating to the situation.
Most recently, an old bitcoin wallet, which sat untouched for more than ten years, showed transaction activity on the blockchain. Crypto space participants pondered if Nakamoto came back to use the wallet, although expert comments believe otherwise.
Disclaimer: I actively trade cryptocurrencies, as well as hold a small amount of BTC, ETH, LTC, XMR, NEO, ZEC, BEAM, BCH, DASH, LINK, XTZ and various insignificant other altcoin positions.