Who invented Bitcoin?

Bitcoin on a smartphone in front of two red circles

Satoshi Nakamoto is the name used by the creator of Bitcoin. It is unknown if Satoshi is one individual or a group of people, but in 2008, he, she or they sent out an email to a cypherpunk mailing list outlining a proposal for what would become Bitcoin.

After Bitcoin’s launch in 2009, Satoshi remained active in nurturing the early Bitcoin community until 2011 when he, she or they vanished without a trace. Over the years this has led to speculation about their identity. Some have suggested prominent computer scientists and cryptographers, while others think it is a famous tech leader, such as Elon Musk.

One of the key figures and most likely creator from Bitcoin’s early days was Hal Finney, a computer scientist who received the very first Bitcoin transaction from Satoshi. However, Finney denied he was Bitcoin’s creator and died in 2014.

In early discussions with members of the cypherpunk community, Satoshi claimed that in the cases of centralised, disruptive tech companies, such as Napster, it was relatively easy for governments to close down the website and bring criminal charges against developers. However, projects such as the Tor browser are still going strong because it’s impossible to find the creator and shut down a particular website domain. This may explain why Bitcoin’s creator has chosen to remain anonymous to avoid scrutiny from governments and regulators. In a final message from Satoshi to an early Bitcoin developer in 2011, the creator said he had “moved on to other things” and that the future of Bitcoin was in “good hands”.

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