In 2008, Satoshi Nakamoto published the whitepaper for Bitcoin. It unknowingly marked the birth of cryptocurrency. He envisioned a transaction system that didn’t have middlemen and large financial institutions. It led to the gathering of a small passionate community of developers who began developing the programming for Bitcoin. He worked on the project for three years before finally stating that he was moving on to other things.
Who Is Satoshi Nakamoto?
Many theories are surrounding Satoshi’s identity, and none have matched. Some believe Nakamoto was not an individual but a group of developers. Certain mannerisms in his forum posts indicated that he was an individual who worked with a select group of developers. Here are the most popular candidates:
Dorian is the least likely candidate among all. The media accused him of being Nakamoto due to having the same last name. He denied being Satoshi, though it did not stop the press from harassing him and his family. The Bitcoin community eventually supported him by donating over 100 bitcoins.
Harold worked with Satoshi and was the first person to receive a Bitcoin transaction. Many believed it was him, as he developed ALS when Nakamoto became less active on forums. Before his death, he publicly denied that he was Nakamoto and never met him in person.
Nick has decades of experience in computer programming and has been active in the crypto space since the 1990s. The reason many believe that he is Nakamoto is due to his initials being Satoshi Nakamoto reversed. He has, however, denied being Satoshi. He also didn’t code in C++, which was Satoshi’s main coding style.
Craig is the most controversial among all candidates. When the media first published rumors about him being Nakamoto, he denied it. After some time, he claimed that he was the figure. He published information like addresses and old blog posts coinciding with the development of Bitcoin. The public later found that he backdated many of these posts, and his claims as Nakamoto were a scam.
The closest candidate to Satoshi, Adam possesses the same forum writing style. He also knew a lot about the early development of Bitcoin, which was not accessible to the public. One of the reasons many dispute this claim is because of his involvement with Blockstream.
Blockstream enables fast transactions of Bitcoin through a side chain. It has investors from large banks and financial institutions. That made Adam a part of a company that goes against everything Nakamoto stood for when he created Bitcoin.
The Bitcoin Split
During the creation of Bitcoin, it had a design where you could mine blocks of information at the size of 1MB. The limit was intentional because Nakamoto didn’t want someone to congest the network. The challenge was that the small size and the blocks themselves limited the number of transactions you could do. He planned to scale up their capacity over time until it was enough to do fast-speed transactions. However, throughout development, two schools of thought surfaced.
- Those who believed Bitcoin was a store of value akin to gold and other precious commodities.
- Those who believed Bitcoin is a decentralized currency that didn’t need middlemen.
Those who saw Bitcoin as a store of value couldn’t care less about the transaction speed and wanted to keep things as they were. For others, they wanted scalability improvements, so Bitcoin would become a transactional currency. After Nakamoto left development, he left it in the hands of Gavin Andersen.
Gavin and developer Mike Hearn created BitcoinXT. It was a solution to Bitcoin’s scaling issues and would determine the majority consensus. The project failed when Hearn’s computers received DOS (Denial of Service) attacks. Hearn would later state that Bitcoin has evolved to something controlled by a handful of people, undermining Satoshi’s vision.
SegWit, Bitcoin Cash, and BitcoinSV
The next major update to Bitcoin was Segregation Witness or SegWit. It allowed more data to fit on a block by storing transaction data off-chain. A group of Bitcoin developers didn’t like the SegWit implementation and separated. They then created their Bitcoin clone called Bitcoin Cash, and it also had a higher 8MB block limit.
Developers of Bitcoin Cash also wanted to include other changes, which led to another division. Craig Wright formed another group that separated, birthing Bitcoin Satoshi Vision or BitcoinSV. The problem with BitcoinSV was that the majority of the holdings were under the control of one group. Even Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin called BitcoinSV a scam.
Bitcoin’s divisions in development are one of the reasons why it is what it is today. While Bitcoin is currently the biggest store of value in the cryptocurrency space, it never did realize Satoshi Nakamoto’s vision.
Some groups believe that other cryptos, like Ethereum, can overtake it. These developing cryptocurrencies have better technology and adoption. Time will tell how the crypto space will further evolve as it becomes widely adopted.