Satoshi Nakamoto, the so-called “Father of Bitcoin,” emerged out of nowhere in 2008 and vanished just as quickly three years later, having created the world’s first cryptocurrency. On April 23, 2011, he said goodbye to a fellow Bitcoin developer in an email. “I’ve moved on to other things,” he added, guaranteeing Bitcoin’s future was “in excellent hands.” He hasn’t been seen or heard from since.

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According to coinmarketcap, the Bitcoin market cap is currently around $373,746,192,738, and while Nakamoto’s identity may be merely speculative for some, it means far more to others: he is said to own over 1 million Bitcoins with a current value of around $20 billion, and there will never be more than 21 million Bitcoin.

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Nakamoto invented his cryptocurrency with the intention of taking control of money away from banking elites and placing it in the hands of ordinary people. The first Bitcoin transaction took place when Nakamoto transferred 10 Bitcoins to Hal Finney, a well-known developer who had downloaded the Bitcoin software on the day it was released. The first commercial transaction occurred in 2010 when a programmer called Laszlo Hanyecz paid 10,000 Bitcoin for two Papa John’s pizzas. Considering Bitcoin’s current worth of over $20,000, they were some really expensive pizzas. 

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Numerous programmers and developers have developed Bitcoin code, but one of the most passionate was Gavin Andresen. In 2010, he approached Nakamoto and became his right-hand man. When Satoshi Nakamoto vanished, Andresen was left in charge of Bitcoin. Even Andresen has become more reclusive in recent years, he is no longer the “core maintainer” of Bitcoin’s code, in fact, that job may eventually become as decentralized as the cryptocurrency itself.

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In 2014,  a Newsweek reporter claimed 70-year-old Dorian Nakamoto, a soft-spoken Los Angeles citizen, as the founder of Bitcoin. Despite his lengthy and renowned technical career being used as proof, Nakamoto has categorically denied any participation with cryptocurrency. Satoshi appeared on an internet forum the day after Dorian Nakamoto made a public announcement. He added, “I am not Dorian Nakamoto,” before disappearing again.

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In 2016, Australian Craig Wright claimed to be Nakamoto, and Bitcoin engineer Andresen confirmed the assertion, claiming he was 98% certain that Wright was the enigmatic Satoshi. The bitcoin community was not having it and ignored Wright’s claim.

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Suspicion also fell on Nick Szabo, a mysterious crypto specialist who made substantial contributions to the development of Bitcoin. Linguistic scholars examined Szabo’s writing as well as those of other possible Satoshis. Linguists stated that there were clear parallels between Szabo’s works and Satoshi Nakamoto’s. The New York Times even went so far as to identify Szabo as the mysterious Nakamoto, but Szabo categorically rejected the claim.

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As a result, Satoshi Nakamoto remains unidentified, a legendary figure with a massive Bitcoin stash. Efforts to discover Satoshi Nakamoto’s identity will undoubtedly continue. His danger to the Bitcoin industry is too large, and the mystery surrounding his identity is too appealing. In a world where maintaining anonymity is becoming increasingly difficult, Satoshi Nakamoto has succeeded beyond expectations in safeguarding his secret.