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Peeling Away Satoshi Nakamoto’s Mask — Is it Adam Back?

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The age-old question surrounding Bitcoin still remains. Who is the creator of Bitcoin, and the man, woman, or group that launched the blockchain and cryptocurrency ecosystem that is priming to make a real impact on the world? 

Many have claimed to be the creator of the coin, and some still maintain to be Satoshi Nakamoto, but the general feeling is that this person is still wholly unknown. There was even a little excitement earlier this month when some Bitcoin linked back to 2009 was moved and many thought it could be Nakamoto coming back into the spotlight. 

However, as it stands, there is just guesses and speculation as to who it could be, and when it is not Craig Wright self-proclaiming, other commentators have their theories. For example, Ethereum co-founder and Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson believes that it is Adam Back who could be the creator.

Who is Adam Back?

Back is a British businessman and cryptographer, and cypherpunk. He is known to have corresponded with Nakamoto and was cited in the Bitcoin whitepaper, so there is no doubt that Back was close to the creation of Bitcoin — but could he be the actual man?

In 1997, Back invented Hashcash, a similar system is used in Bitcoin, and certainly has the roots for the creation of blockchain and Bitcoin — it is some of these reasons that Hoskinson has pinned Back as Nakamoto. 

Hoskinson’s reasoning

Hoskinson believes that Nakamoto was somebody, who lived either in Western Europe of the coastal United States, was comfortable with British English, and had a background in a distributed systems and cryptography:

“And then given some of the quirks in the Bitcoin code, like the use of Fourth, for example, as the basis for the Bitcoin scripting language, it indicates an English education or Western European education, because that’s just what the textbooks were using in the 1980s and 1990s and these things. So when you start adding all these things up, as well as an intimate familiarity of the cypherpunk movement. So they had to be a contemporary of Hal Finney, a contemporary of guys like David Chaum and so forth and aware of their work,” he said.

Additionally, according to Hoskinson, Back is one of the few people who satisfies these conditions. Back created a proof of work with Hashcash while he was at Microsoft, and furthermore had the knowledge to create a secure alias like “Satoshi Nakamoto”:

“These are just great examples of what you would expect from the inventor of a proto-system that’s almost Bitcoin, to kind of keep doing that research. The other thing is that Back is an expert in cryptography and he has a lot of experience in privacy. So you say, OK, who would have enough operational security knowledge to create an alias that’s very secure and capable of defending against? That would be Back. Back was friends with Hal Finney, they knew each other for a long time. The very second person to enter the Bitcoin space.”

Darryn Pollock
Darryn has been interested in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space since he heard about Bitcoin in 2015. He then decided to use his journalism degree to report on this fascinating fintech space in 2016, and has not looked back since.

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