How Did Satoshi Nakamoto Remain Anonymous? A Detailed Look at the Bitcoin Creator’s Opsec
The creator of the world’s first successful blockchain network has been an enigma ever since the mysterious inventor released the white paper over 12 years ago. Interestingly, Satoshi Nakamoto worked on the Bitcoin project publicly for 25 months and 13 days, all while being able to remain completely anonymous.
What the Public Knows About Satoshi Nakamoto Is Different Than What Is Assumed
Satoshi Nakamoto is a very interesting mystery and the inventor of the technological revolution that was invoked by the birth of the Bitcoin network. We don’t know much about Satoshi, except for what the creator told the public while he/she or they were around. Satoshi Nakamoto managed to stay anonymous, while releasing the protocol’s white paper, kickstarting the network, and even dealing with development contributors. Satoshi continues to remain anonymous to this day.
There are hard facts that we do know about Satoshi, and many things we simply assume. For instance, it is assumed that this past April 5th, Bitcoin’s inventor turned 46-years old. But that date, of course, is only if that’s Satoshi Nakamoto’s legitimate age.
The thing is, Satoshi managed to stay unknown the whole time, and to this day people believe the inventor either disappeared for good or is possibly dead. If Satoshi is alive, Bitcoin’s creator is one of the wealthiest individuals alive today because it is estimated that the inventor holds 1 million BTC.
Of course, the approximate number of how many coins Satoshi holds is also unknown, and we really don’t know if the creator still has access to the keys. What we do know for sure, is that Satoshi was exceptional at staying anonymous. Just recently, Bitcoin Magazine’s editor, Pete Rizzo, published a comprehensive report on the alleged final message Satoshi sent on April 26, 2011, and the creator’s last days in the public eye.
According to former Bitcoin Core developer Gavin Andresen and Pete Rizzo’s report, after Satoshi released his final message in December 2010 and published Bitcoin version 0.3.19, Nakamoto asked if Andresen could refer to him more as a “tech lead” than a “mysterious shadowy figure.”
Rizzo’s report says in April 2011 Satoshi wrote:
The press just turns [the mysterious shadowy figure description] into a pirate currency angle. Maybe instead make it about the open-source project and give more credit to your contributors; it helps motivate them.
How Did Satoshi Nakamoto Remain Anonymous? Bitcoin’s Creator Used a VPN, Tor, Anonymous Domain Registration, Anonymous Email
One of the biggest questions people often ask is: How did Satoshi Nakamoto remain anonymous? Well, Satoshi did a great number of things to stay private like not revealing his real name and identity, and choosing to leverage a pseudonymous Japanese surname called “Satoshi Nakamoto.”
Bitcoin’s inventor further chose to associate with people who respected privacy a great deal, and the creator appealed to the libertarian mindset right away. The introduction of Bitcoin was perfectly timed following the 2008 financial crisis that shook the world.
In a number of social media posts on Reddit and bitcointalk.org, it is assumed that Satoshi utilized a virtual private network (VPN) and even Tor. Nakamoto had spoken about Tor before and told the public it was a good way to obfuscate where a bitcoin transaction came from.
In one archived Reddit post published seven years ago, a Redditor explains how Satoshi also registered domains anonymously. The person said that there may be a weakness in the way Satoshi Nakamoto registered with anonymousspeech.com.
“At this time however bitcoin did not exist so he had to either make a wire transfer with Western Union, use Paypal, a bank transfer, or send a check. So they may know who he is,” the now-deleted account said.
Besides Tor and a VPN, it is also assumed that Satoshi Nakamoto leveraged a number of other ideas to conceal his identity. Nakamoto leveraged things like a free hosting company, free webmail, and anonymous webmail too.
“Some [people], including myself, have looked at the timestamps on his Sourceforge commits and mail and forum posts to make guesses of location. Nothing is really definitive,” the deleted account’s comment from seven years ago insists.
The Redditor added:
Even though his efforts to remain anonymous are not bulletproof, they are extreme. He clearly had reason to want to avoid being found. Reasons beyond making an idea more widely attractable through non-attribution.
Why Did Satoshi Remain Anonymous? Was it Because Bitcoin Endangered the Inventor? Or Maybe the Possibility of Death or Imprisonment?
The reasons as to why Satoshi Nakamoto chose to stay anonymous are also assumed and unknown. Predominantly, people believe it was for the inventor’s own safety. Being the inventor of a technology that can bypass corporate control, government manipulation, and work above and beneath the current monetary system has made Nakamoto extremely famous.
People have been hunting for Nakamoto for a very long time and some individuals have even claimed to be Bitcoin’s inventor on many occasions.
Although, none of them have succeeded in proving they are Satoshi Nakamoto, even though a few have tried incredibly hard to do so. Satoshi’s initial years of anonymity have made it so people highly doubt rambunctious individuals doing everything they can to prove they created the protocol.
So how did Satoshi Nakamoto remain anonymous all these years? Well, the inventor was not only clever at designing the protocol, but was also smart enough to leverage great operations security (opsec) while remaining in the public eye.
Satoshi Nakamoto applied and deployed many tools that kept his/her or their identity a complete secret that has lasted the test of time. One thing people assume is that after Satoshi said farewell between December 2010 and the ostensible April email in 2011, is that it is very possible Nakamoto had passed away and remains anonymous because of death.
For instance, some assume Satoshi could have been the now-deceased Hal Finney. Others have pointed at the criminal mastermind Paul Le Roux, who is in jail and cannot communicate to the public even if he was Satoshi in any anonymous manner.
Whatever the case may be, Satoshi deserves a great deal of credit for creating Bitcoin, but also for being able to stay anonymous for more than 12 years if the inventor is still alive.