Will the real Bitcoin creator please stand up?
May 16, 2015 12:33 PM   Subscribe

Is a reclusive American man named Nick Szabo the real Satoshi Nakamoto? Nathaniel Popper of the NYT tracks him down and asks him.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates (20 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
“Well, I will say this, in the hope of setting the record straight,” he said acidly. “I’m not Satoshi, and I’m not a college professor. In fact, I never was a college professor.”

So, maybe?
posted by Going To Maine at 12:37 PM on May 16, 2015 [3 favorites]






From my computer looking at a NYTimes link in a private incognito window does not now function. They currently appear paywalled as never before.
posted by bukvich at 1:17 PM on May 16, 2015


Bukvich, I have NoScript installed on Firefox and I have to keep nytimes.com blocked; not even to be a cheapskate but because I was trying to copy text in an article recently and that triggered some kind of window.location command which brought me to a new page (argh!!!). So maybe try that?
posted by MattMangels at 1:34 PM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Scoop-hungry reporter. So busybody!
posted by Rich Smorgasbord at 1:52 PM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Whether someone is a law professor at GWU should be easily verifiable by picking up the phone and calling the law school.

I totally don't get why that un/fact was randomly dropped in there.
posted by Jahaza at 2:23 PM on May 16, 2015


It's mostly a good article, at least the parts talking about Nick Szabo's career and the way Bitcoin came out of the culture of cypherpunks, early digital cash, etc. I'd never heard of Szabo's 2005 Bit Gold before, and while now it looks amazingly prescient and exactly like Bitcoin the truth is those ideas were floating around the community at that time and Szabo was one of the experts. (As an aside, the bit about the date changing on that blog post may be as simple as that he made a minor edit to the entry in 2008 and the software changed the date. The 2005 is still right there in the URL; that's not a mistake someone of his skill would make if he were trying to rewrite history.)

No smoking gun of course, but at least it's credible. Really any light thrown on the brilliant and prophetic work of the cypherpunks folks is welcome journalism to me. The work in the 90s and 00s where crypto stopped being weird math and became working machinery in algorithms is a really fertile period.

Bitcoin is a remarkably good bit of crypto protocol design. The fact that it's withstood this much scrutiny over several years with no significant technical failings astonishes me. There's also a lot of really interesting, aggressive design ideas in it. Not just the blockchain but also the active contracts, the work factor management, etc etc. Whoever did make Bitcoin was very good at what they do.
posted by Nelson at 2:38 PM on May 16, 2015 [8 favorites]


I think it might be a pretty clever act in the age of search engines to build a persona that ghosted a few real people, and that would attract suspicion.

It might be pretty nice to have people keep asking if you're Batman.
posted by nickggully at 3:42 PM on May 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Every Bitcoin tale
Begins with, "Fuck you, got mine!"
Ends, "Fuck, you got mine!"

posted by a lungful of dragon at 4:24 PM on May 16, 2015 [15 favorites]


Scoop-hungry reporter. So busybody!

What's funny is that this reporter was scooped a year ago by linguists at Aston University, who he just barely gives a nod to in his own work. I'm surprised this got past a NYTimes editor. Or maybe this was a Style piece.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 4:26 PM on May 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


OK. I admit it. It was me. I did it for the lulz.
posted by clvrmnky at 6:06 PM on May 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Not enough attention is given to the possibility of group agency here.

Three people invent some software and attribute it to a fourth, fictional person. What's so hard to believe about that? I mean, there are five of us commenting here under the name "anotherpanacea" and it seems to work just fine.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:38 PM on May 16, 2015 [15 favorites]


I mean, there are five of us commenting here under the name "anotherpanacea" and it seems to work just fine.

That is not true.
posted by NSA at 10:17 PM on May 16, 2015 [16 favorites]


Like we'd believe anything you have to say.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:23 AM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sooner or later Maury Povich is going to be featuring "are you the Bitcoin father?" segments.
posted by tommasz at 7:11 AM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Three people invent some software and attribute it to a fourth, fictional person. What's so hard to believe about that?

Mathematical types would never do something like that.
posted by kenko at 8:37 AM on May 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Begins with, "Fuck you, got mine!"
Ends, "Fuck, you got mine!"


Sort of.

Begins with "I have an idea, I'll create a cryptocurrency. The first coins are 'easy' to mine, and it gets progressively harder. Hey, I'll start first. Hey look, I'm rich. Now, everyone can start playing the 'fuck you got mine' game, but I have a big head start"

Ends with "Fuck me, I just bought 20k of crypto-mining equipment from someone who already mined everything they could until the electricity costs were higher than the mining costs before selling it to me, and now I've got a high electric bill and not enough bit-coins to pay it. Fuck me".
posted by el io at 10:57 PM on May 17, 2015


That comment violated at least five or six rules of Bitcoin haiku.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 12:38 PM on May 18, 2015 [1 favorite]


How about this one?

There once was a man from Peru
Whose bitcoins were seized by the Feds.

posted by Joe in Australia at 6:08 PM on May 18, 2015 [3 favorites]


« Older ‘I’ve bought a lot of pot, and now I’m selling...   |   Rainy 4th World Ambient and Blaring Iridescent Pop Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments