03/22/2024, Till Musshoff

Who Is Satoshi Nakamoto? These Are The 4 Main Suspects

Who created Bitcoin? Who is Satoshi Nakamoto? We look at four candidates for the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin.

Satoshi Nakamoto is a Japanese sounding pseudonym of the creator of Bitcoin. We don't know if Satoshi is a man, woman or a group of people. Satoshi found a solution to the Double Spending Problem also known as Byzantine General Problem. Roughly speaking the problem is about different parties needing to find consensus or a strategy to move forward to avoid complete failure. However some of the parties can be either corrupt or create false information. Bitcoin uses Proof of Work and the Blockchain to agree on a single truth.

But who is the genius Satoshi Nakamoto? Let's dive deep.

This article is based on the following video.

Pseudonimity was a streak of genius

It's fascinating that Satoshi chose to be pseudonymous from the very moment he started sharing information about Bitcoin. His predecessors that worked on digital cash all appeared with their real name. And this is one of the most genius strikes of Satoshi. It primarily guarantees two things

1) The neutrality of the protocol

2) Reducing attack vectors, no government, cooperation or individual can attack Satoshi or put him into jail

You can see how much the neutrality of Bitcoin mattered to Satoshi when you read his writings.

Bitcoin was designed to be protected from the influence of charismatic leaders, even if their name is Gavin Andresen, Barack Obama or Satoshi Nakamoto. - Satoshi Nakamoto

This is also why it's one of the boldest moves that Satoshi left the project early on and let it develop by the Open Source community. He was not the leader of it. He also never claimed the rewards of his 1M Bitcoin that he mined early on. To be honest I believe this is how he always planned it. There will only ever be 21M coins, however 1M are involved in the very early mining of Satoshi himself. So you end up with 20M coins instead.

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Hal Finney

The first person that helped Satoshi to work on the implementation was Hal Finney. As all the following candidates, he was a Cypherpunk and deeply interested in electronic, censorship-resistant cash. The first bitcoin transaction was between Satoshi and Hal Finney. Well maybe it actually was between Hal Finney and Hal Finney.


Hal left the project shortly after Satoshi did. He died as a result of complications of ALS and was cryopreserved. His foresight about Bitcoin was unbelievable though, wether it's second layer applications or his ultimate price prediction of 10M per Bitcoin only days after Bitcoin was created and had a value of 0.

One thing that is a bit strange is that Hal registered on the bitcointalk forum a year after he started working on Bitcoin. If you are that enthusiastic about something, how are you not part of the forum from the start? Maybe he read and answered everything through his other account. Called Satoshi.

Adam Back

Another often named contestant is Adam Back. He is the inventor of Hash Cash, which is the basis for Bitcoin Mining. Adam also confirmed that he was probably the first person Satoshi talked to about Bitcoin in 2008, but he didn't really enter the scene for the first years.


Unlike Hal Finney and others, although Satoshi sent me the software before the official release, I didn't start running it at the very beginning. Shortly after its release, Hal tried using Bitcoin and wrote a summary of how it worked on the mailing list, and after that I went back to analyzing Bitcoin. - Adam Back

I think that's a bit odd. I'll just give you Charles Hoskinsons explanation of why he thinks Adam Back is Satoshi. Charles Hoskinson is the creator of Cardano and was invited to the Lex Fridman podcast.

Nick Szabo

And this directly brings us to the next candidate. Nick Szabo whose writing style is closest to that of Satoshi. Nick Szabo is a polymath genius to say the least who can combine many parts into a whole, which was a prerequisite to invent Bitcoin.


He is the inventor of Bit Gold, which is a predecessor to Bitcoin, but was never developed and characterized the term "Smart Contract" in... and yes this is the right year... 1993. His Paper building blocks for digital markets in 1996 explains many things Bitcoin later on does.

Something that is interesting is that Satoshi explained how Bitcoin's base are the ideas of Wei Dais B-Money and Nick Szabos Bit Gold. However in the Bitcoin whitepaper you won't find Nick Szabo's name among the references. And it goes even further than the whitepaper. All Bitcoin-relevant cypherpunks had email exchanges with Satoshi. Guess who didn't. Nick Szabo. Just like Adam Back he also was not active in the bitcointalk forum for years even though it's his Bit Gold idea with some adjustments turned into reality. That again is very odd to me.

Satoshi bitcointalk

By the way, Nick Szabo has Hungarian roots. In Hungary, just like in Japan it's common to say the second name first. Nick Szabo becomes Szabo Nick. In the Genesis Block the initials read NS which would be more typically referring to Nick Szabo.

Len Sassaman

The fourth nominee is the Belgian Len Sassaman. This is a name many people did not know about in the context of who Satoshi is. Evan Hatch published a Medium post called "Len Sassaman and Satoshi: a Cypherpunk History" that gives many indications that Len Sassaman was Satoshi.


Len was a brilliant Cypherpunk, researched P2P networks and blockchain technology and close to many of the Cypherpunks that were involved in the early days of Bitcoin.

By all accounts, Len was on track to be one of the most important cryptographers of his time. But on July 3rd, 2011, he tragically took his own life at 31, following a long battle with depression and functional neurological disorders. - Evan Hatch

Two months before Len's death Satoshi sent his last message.

I’ve moved on to other things and probably won’t be around in the future. - Satoshi

Len's interests were exactly the ones that would lead someone to create Bitcoin. He was freedom seeking, distrusting authorities, part of the cypherpunk mailinglist and working on the technologies that enabled Bitcoin.

Early in his career, Len distinguished himself as an authority in public-key cryptography — the foundation of Bitcoin. By 22, he was presenting at conferences and had founded a public key crypto startup with famous open-source activist Bruce Perens.

And guess what he worked on PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) alongside Hal Finney, the first contributer to Bitcoin after Satoshi.

Len Sassaman was at the right place at the right time to be Satoshi.

Len’s Ph.D. advisor at COSIC was none other than “father of digital currency” David Chaum. While Chaum laid the groundwork for the entire Cypherpunk movement and all cryptocurrencies, few could claim to have worked with him directly. - Evan Hatch

But what I find most interesting is what Len worked on afterwards. Remember which problem Satoshi solved in order to make Bitcoin a reality?

As work on the Pynchon Gate progressed, Len became increasingly focused on finding solutions for the Byzantine Fault (aka Byzantine Generals Problem) that had been a major obstacle for earlier P2P networks. [...] Satoshi’s most important innovation was a ‘triple-entry’ accounting system that solved this using the blockchain introduced by Chaum. - Evan Hatch

There are also many hints that suggest Satoshi was in fact European and not American. He used the day-month-year date format, referred to euros, his time zone didn't seem American and he added the "Chancellor on brink of second bailout" headline to the genesis block, which was specific to the European version of The Times. His English was also more British than American. Len used the same terms on his private Twitter.

But speaking of Twitter, one thing that speaks against him being Satoshi is that he started tweeting about Bitcoin a few times in 2010 and 2011. He seemed extremely sceptical to the degree of being against it. But maybe that's just OpSec, who knows.

Hal Finney, Adam Back, Nick Szabo, Len Sassaman. All of them are brilliant minds and it is tragic that two of them already died. I don't know if any of them are Satoshi. There are many other names floating around, but I found none of them as compelling as the list I made.

What do you think who Satoshi is? The good thing is that we don't need to know and that it is actually better for the project, that none of us knows.

The Link In Bio For Bitcoiners

Link to all your pages. Receive bitcoin donations and followers. Connect your social media accounts, podcast and so much more!

The 'Link In Bio' For BitcoinersCheck It Out!