#Findsatoshi Group Launches Crowdfunded Search for Satoshi Nakamoto
A campaign to fund an international search for Satoshi Nakamoto called #Findsatoshi has been launched on Russian crowdfunding site Boomstarter. The project plans to hire detectives on three continents to find the elusive character behind Bitcoin.
UPDATE: Additional information about those claiming to be Satoshi was added to this piece.
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Group to Hire Detective Agencies on Three Continents
The campaign was started by German Neff, an Estonian crypto enthusiast who claims to be part of a group calling itself #Findsatoshi. Noting that the crypto markets are “on a fragile balance,” their stated goal is to determine with certainty whether or not the bitcoin project is, in their words, a “global fraud.”
The group believes that the secrecy surrounding the origins of bitcoin presents an existential risk to the price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and raises the question of what happens if someone were to gain access to Satoshi’s wallet, which contains more than one million bitcoins.
The project has a goal of raising 15 million rubles ($221,000 USD) and has already gathered around 3 million. The group intends to reveal the identity of the creator of bitcoin, whether or not Satoshi wants to be unmasked. They have raised the possibility that Satoshi could have been a front for a corporation or government, and that bitcoin may have been created with the goal of controlling financial transactions.
On the project page, the group says that:
“We, the crypto-enthusiasts, are obliged to find out the truth in order to exist peacefully in this environment. Without the fear that tomorrow a man will come out from behind the curtains announcing that the circus is over and then will disappear again.”
Preliminary Talks With Detective Agencies Underway
#Findsatoshi has begun preliminary talks with detective agencies in the United States, Japan, and Europe. The group is speaking with the Goro Kayama agency in Japan, the New York Intelligence Agency in the U.S., Private Detective London in the U.K., and the Osobka agency in France and Russia.
The agencies will be required to release public reports on their activities every three days, and non-confidential information will be published in the media channels of #Findsatoshi.
Not the First Hunt for Satoshi Nakamoto
Many people over the years have tried to track down the true identity of Satoshi Nakamoto, but none of the people named were ever proven to be the elusive bitcoin creator. Freelance journalist Leah McGrath Goodman wrote a piece in Newsweek in 2014 called The Face Behind Bitcoin, where she alleged that Dorian Nakamoto, a 64-year-old American living in California, was Satoshi.
Nakamoto denied the connection in an interview with the AP, and an old account on the P2P Foundation forum linked to the original Satoshi posted a message stating unequivocally, “I am not Dorian Nakamoto.”
In December 2015, it was Australian businessman Craig S. Wright’s turn, after Wired and Gizmodo both published articles on the same day concluding that Wright was likely Satoshi. A day after the publication, Wright’s Sydney home and office were raided by Australian authorities due to a tax investigation. However, the articles failed to conclusively establish that Wright was Satoshi.
The next chapter occurred five months later in May 2016, when the BBC and The Economist simultaneously published articles again claiming Wright was Satoshi, based on the fact that he possessed a cryptographic signature that was linked to Satoshi from early bitcoin transactions.
The same day the articles were published, Gavin Andresen, an early bitcoin developer and founder of the Bitcoin Foundation, published a blog post where he stated, “I believe Craig Steven Wright is the person who invented Bitcoin.”
Wright Not Necessarily the Right Man
However, not everyone agreed that Wright was Satoshi. Security researcher Dan Kaminsky wrote a blog post stating that the digital signature that Wright possessed was publicly available on the blockchain, and the fact that Wright had it proved nothing.
Bitcoin developers Peter Todd and Jeff Garzik quickly joined Kaminsky in saying that Craig Wright’s “proof” was no proof at all. A group of bitcoin developers decided to revoke Andresen’s ability to make changes to bitcoin’s code, as they feared he had been hacked.
Motherboard wrote a detailed article laying out the case that Wright was probably not Satoshi. The fact that Wright had not signed a new transaction with Satoshi’s private keys was a deciding factor for many critics. Eventually, even Andresen admitted in a blog post in November of 2016 that it was possible that Wright was “a master scammer/fraudster who managed to trick some pretty smart people over a period of several years.”
Another Claim to the Throne This Year,
but Still No Proof
In June of this year, someone claiming to be Satoshi published the excerpt of a forthcoming book on a website called the “Nakamoto Family Foundation.” The piece, entitled “Duality: An Excerpt” lays out the early history of Bitcoin from the supposed perspective of Satoshi. While displaying a thorough knowledge of the early years of Bitcoin, the writer gives no hard evidence that he or she is in fact the creator of the cryptocurrency.
In the end, despite those making claims to be the enigmatic figure, the mystery surrounding Satoshi Nakamoto persists. And the #Findsatoshi crowdfunding campaign demonstrates that there are still some who remain interested in identifying who is behind the famous name, whether that turns out to be a person, group of people, government, corporation, alien, group of aliens, or artificial intelligence.
Have your say. Will we ever find out the truth behind the elusive bitcoin creator/s?
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